Definition of material noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈtɪəriəl//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈtɪriəl//
    The fashion world, Materials and properties
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  1. 1  [uncountable, countable] cloth used for making clothes, curtains, etc. synonym fabric a piece of material ‘What material is this dress made of?’ ‘Cotton.’ Synonymsfabric cloth material textileThese are all words for woven or knitted cotton, silk, wool, etc, used for making things such as clothes and curtains, and for covering furniture.fabric woven or knitted cotton, silk, wool, etc, used for making things such as clothes and curtains, and for covering furniture:cotton fabric furnishing fabrics Fabric is often fairly strong material, and is often used when talking about covering furniture or making curtains.cloth fabric made by weaving or knitting cotton, wool, silk, etc:His bandages had been made from strips of cloth. Cloth is often fairly light material, especially in a form that has not been printed, treated, or prepared for use in any way. Cloth is frequently used in talking about buying and selling woven material.material fabric used for making clothes, curtains, etc:‘What material is this dress made of?’ ‘Cotton.’ Material is a more general word than fabric or cloth as it has the related meaning of ‘a substance that things can be made from’. It is not used when it might not be clear which type of material is meant:furnishing material the material industry a material manufacturertextile any type of fabric made by weaving or knitting:He owns a factory producing a range of textiles. the textile industry Textile is used mostly when talking about the business of making woven materials. The industry of making textiles is called textiles:He got a job in textiles.Patterns woven/​cotton/​woollen fabric/​cloth/​material/​textiles synthetic fabric/​material/​textiles printed fabric/​cloth/​textiles furnishing/​curtain/​dress fabric/​material See related entries: The fashion world
  2. 2  [countable, uncountable] a substance that things can be made from building materials (= bricks, sand, glass, etc.) see also raw material See related entries: Materials and properties
  3. 3  [countable, usually plural, uncountable] things that are needed in order to do a particular activity teaching materials The company produces its own training material. (figurative) The teacher saw her as good university material (= good enough to go to university). Synonymsequipmentmaterial gear kit apparatusThese are all words for the things that you need for a particular purpose or activity.equipment the things that are needed for a particular purpose or activity:camping equipment a piece of equipment material things that are needed for a particular activity:household cleaning materials teaching materialequipment or material?Equipment is usually solid things, especially large ones. Materials may be liquids, powders or books, CDs, etc. containing information, as well as small solid items.gear the equipment or clothes needed for a particular activity:Skiing gear can be expensive.kit a set of tools or equipment that you use for a particular purpose:a first-aid kit a tool kitapparatus the tools or other pieces of equipment that are needed for a particular activity or task:breathing apparatus for firefighters laboratory apparatus Apparatus is used especially for scientific, medical or technical purposes.Patterns electrical/​electronic equipment/​gear/​apparatus sports equipment/​gear/​kit camping equipment/​gear a piece of equipment/​apparatus
  4. 4  [uncountable] information or ideas used in books, etc. She's collecting material for her latest novel.
  5. 5[uncountable] items used in a performance The band played all new material at the gig.
  6. Word Originlate Middle English (in the sense ‘relating to matter’): from late Latin materialis, adjective from Latin materia ‘matter’.Extra examples A patchwork quilt is a good way of using up scraps of material. He was convicted of importing indecent material. He’s collecting material for a new book on space travel. Higher raw material costs have pushed up the price of many manufactured goods. I can’t find any relevant material on him in the library. Many of the original materials were reused in the restoration of the building. Prisoners were not allowed writing materials. The DVD includes some great supplementary material. The artificial turf is laid onto a rubber composite material. The collection includes objects and printed material. The corn contains genetically modified material. The letter were used as source material in this new biography. The library has a wealth of old photographs and other archival material. The magazine contains not one bit of original material. This is not really suitable reading material for a young child. This new biography contains a wealth of previously unpublished material. We have 98% of the same genetic material as chimpanzees. a storeroom full of building materials original material on the First World War the decomposition of dead organic material such as vegetation useful material for a documentary Many household cleaning materials are highly toxic. Oil is the raw material for plastic. She’s collecting material for her next novel. There were bricks, sand and other building materials in the courtyard. This catalogue lists the latest training materials available. Toxic chemicals and other materials have been found. We usually produce our own teaching material. You have to buy your own art materials. You’ll need a piece of material about 20 cm square.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: material

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