Date: 1100-1200
Language: Old French
Origin: matere, from Latin materia 'matter, substance', from mater 'mother'


1 noun
mat‧ter1 S1 W1


[countable] a subject or situation that you have to think about or deal withCOLLOCATIONS COLLOCATIONS
a serious/important matter a personal/private matter a simple/easy matter (=something that is easy to do) financial/legal/political/religious matters a matter of importance a matter of/for concern a matter for discussion/negotiation/consideration etc be a matter for somebody (to decide) (=be something that a particular person should deal with) be no laughing matter (=something very serious) the heart/crux of the matter (=the most important part of something) raise a matter with somebody (=discuss something with someone) let the matter rest/drop (=decide to stop worrying about something) matters arising from/out of something (=things that come from or are connected with a particular event) the matter at hand/in hand (=the thing you are dealing with now)
There are more important matters we need to discuss.
It was a personal matter, and she had no intention of talking to any journalist about it.
It will be a simple matter to find her.
She held strong views on religious matters.
He consulted her on all matters of importance.
Safety standards in the industry have been a matter of concern.
The legal arrangements for the sale are matters for negotiation.
This is a matter for the German people to decide.
The whole situation seems funny now, but it was no laughing matter at the time.
He no longer loved her. That was the crux of the matter.
I decided to raise the matter with my boss.
He was too curious to let the matter drop.
There are a number of matters arising out of this.
We need to concentrate on the matter in hand.


[plural] a situation that you are in or have been describing:
Maybe some of these suggestions will help to improve matters.
Matters can be more easily sorted out once you get to the resort.
His long absences didn't help matters (=made the situation worse).
to make matters worse (=used to say that something makes a bad situation worse)
The team has lost the last two games and, to make matters worse, two of its best players are injured.
to complicate matters further (=used to say that something makes a complicated situation more complicated)
To complicate matters further, the law on this issue has been changed.


a) HP the material that everything in the universe is made of, including solids, liquids, and gases:
particles of matter

waste/solid/organic/vegetable etc matter

a substance that consists of waste material, solid material etc
c) a yellow or white substance in wounds or next to your eye

as a matter of fact

spoken used when adding more details about what you have just said:
'Have you had many visitors yet?' 'No, as a matter of fact you're the first.'
I knew him when we were in college - as a matter of fact we were on the same course.

what's the matter?/something's the matter/nothing's the matter etc

spoken used to ask or talk about why someone seems worried, unhappy, or ill, why something about a situation seems wrong, or why a machine seems not to be working properly:
What's the matter? You look as though you've been crying.
'Is something the matter?' 'Just a headache - I'll be fine in a minute.'
You look worried. Is there anything the matter?
What's the matter with Bill?
What's the matter with your eye? It looks red.
I know something's the matter. You're frightened of something.
Nothing's the matter, honestly, I'm fine.
There was nothing the matter with it (=it was all right) when I lent it to him.
She had something the matter with her back.

the truth/fact of the matter is (that)

spoken used when saying what you think is really true concerning a situation:
The truth of the matter is that we don't know exactly how the disease is spread.

for that matter

used to say that what you are saying about one thing is also true about something else:
Ben never touched beer, or any kind of alcohol for that matter.
He's an artist who has never been as well-known here, or for that matter as well-respected, as he has been in the USA.

be (quite) a different matter

also be (quite) another matter especially British English used to say that a situation or action is very different from the one you have just mentioned, and may not be as easy, pleasant etc:
She didn't mind seeing him in a group but an intimate dinner in a restaurant was another matter altogether.

take matters into your own hands

to deal with a problem yourself because other people have failed to deal with it:
Local people took matters into their own hands and hired their own security guards.

it's only/just a matter of time

used to say that something will definitely happen in the future:
It can only be a matter of time before someone is seriously injured.

a matter of life and/or death

a situation that is extremely serious or important, especially one in which someone could die:
The quality of the ambulance service is a matter of life and death.
Can't it wait? It's hardly a matter of life or death, is it?

be a matter of opinion

used to say that people have different opinions about something, especially when you yourself have a negative opinion:
Whether or not he is any good as a manager is a matter of opinion.

be a matter of (personal) taste/choice/preference

used to say that different people like different things:
I can't say which wine is best - it's a matter of personal taste.

be a matter of principle

to be something that you feel you must or must not do, because of your moral principles:
She couldn't take the money. It was a matter of principle.

be a matter of doing something

used to say that an action involves doing something
be simply/largely/merely etc a matter of doing something
Reducing the number of road deaths is not simply a matter of improving roads.

a matter of seconds/weeks/hours etc

only a few seconds, weeks etc:
The ambulance arrived in a matter of minutes.
The bullet missed his head by a matter of inches.

as a matter of something

because of a particular belief or quality:
He invited her as a matter of courtesy.
As a matter of fairness, he should be allowed to give his version of events.

as a matter of interest

British English spoken used when you ask or tell someone something that interests you but is not important:
Just as a matter of interest, which school did you go to?

as a matter of urgency

if something is done or should be done as a matter of urgency, it is done or should be done very soon:
That procedure should be streamlined as a matter of urgency.

as a matter of course/routine

if something is done as a matter of course or routine, it is the correct and usual thing to do in a particular situation:
We will contact your former employer as a matter of course.

no matter how/whether/what etc

also no matter the ... used to say that something is true or that something happens whatever the situation is:
Feeding a baby is a messy job no matter how careful you are.
I'm determined to visit Japan no matter what it costs.
He visited her every day no matter the weather.

no matter what

spoken used to say that you will definitely do something:
I'll call you tonight, no matter what.

no matter

spoken formal or old-fashioned used to say that something is not important and will not affect a situation:
'I'm afraid I forgot to bring a towel.' 'No matter, I've got one you can borrow.'

it's a matter of fact (that)

used to say that something is a fact:
It's a matter of fact that the team have not performed as well this season.

the little/small matter of something

spoken something that is not important or not difficult - used when you really think something is important or difficult:
He seemed unworried by the small matter of the war that was in progress.
There's the small matter of tonight's game if we are to reach the finals.

no matter that

used to say that something is not important and will not affect a situation:
I would always be an outsider here - no matter that I spoke fluent Spanish.

reading/printed etc matter

TCN things that are written for people to read:
As well as textbooks and other printed matter, courses may include video and audio cassettes.
grey matter, subject matter

➔ not mince matters

at mince1 (3)

➔ mind over matter

at mind1 (43)

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