Etymology: Middle English matere, from Anglo-French, from Latin materia matter, physical substance, from mater
Date: 13th century
a. a subject under consideration
b. a subject of disagreement or litigation
c. plural the events or circumstances of a particular situation
d. the subject or substance of a discourse or writing
e. something of an indicated kind or having to do with an indicated field or situation <this is a serious matter> <as a matter of policy> <matters of faith> f. something to be proved in law g. obsolete sensible or serious material as distinguished from nonsense or drollery h. (1) obsolete reason, cause (2) a source especially of feeling or emotion i. problem, difficulty 2. a. the substance of which a physical object is composed b. material substance that occupies space, has mass, and is composed predominantly of atoms consisting of protons, neutrons, and electrons, that constitutes the observable universe, and that is interconvertible with energy c. a material substance of a particular kind or for a particular purpose <vegetable matter> d. (1) material (as feces or urine) discharged from the living body (2) material discharged by suppuration ; pus 3. a. the indeterminate subject of reality; especially the element in the universe that undergoes formation and alteration b. the formless substratum of all things which exists only potentially and upon which form acts to produce realities 4. a more or less definite amount or quantity <cooks in a matter of minutes> 5. something written or printed 6. mail 7. Christian Science the illusion that the objects perceived by the physical senses have the reality of substance II. intransitive verb Date: 1530 1. to form or discharge pus ; suppurate <mattering wound> 2. to be of importance ; signify
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.