- 1 [countable] a subject or situation that you must consider or deal with synonym affair It's a private matter. They had important matters to discuss. She may need your help with some business matters. I always consulted him on matters of policy. It's a matter for the police (= for them to deal with). That's a matter for you to take up with your boss. Let's get on with the matter in hand (= what we need to deal with now). I wasn't prepared to let the matter drop (= stop discussing it). It was no easy matter getting him to change his mind. It should have been a simple matter to check. (ironic) And then there's the little matter of the fifty pounds you owe me. (formal) It was a matter of some concern to most of those present (= something they were worried about). I did not feel that we had got to the heart of the matter (= the most important part). And that is the crux of the matter (= the most important thing about the situation).
- 2 matters [plural] the present situation, or the situation that you are talking about synonym things Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do to improve matters. I'd forgotten the keys, which didn't help matters. Matters were made worse by a fire in the warehouse. And then, to make matters worse, his parents turned up. I decided to take matters into my own hands (= deal with the situation myself). Matters came to a head (= the situation became very difficult) with his resignation. problem
- 3 the matter [singular] used (to ask) if somebody is upset, unhappy, etc. or if there is a problem What's the matter? Is there something wrong? Is anything the matter? matter with somebody/something Is something the matter with Bob? He seems very down. There's something the matter with my eyes. ‘We've bought a new TV.’ ‘What was the matter with the old one?’ What's the matter with you today (= why are you behaving like this)? What on earth was the matter with her, she wondered. She’d come here to enjoy herself and here she was, stuck on her own in the hotel. a matter of something/of doing something
- 4 [singular] a situation that involves something or depends on something synonym question Learning to drive is all a matter of coordination. Planning a project is just a matter of working out the right order to do things in. That's not a problem. It's simply a matter of letting people know in time. Some people prefer the older version to the new one. It's a matter of taste. She resigned over a matter of principle. The government must deal with this as a matter of urgency. Just as a matter of interest (= because it is interesting, not because it is important), how much did you pay for it? ‘I think this is the best so far.’ ‘Well, that's a matter of opinion (= other people may think differently). substance
- 5 [uncountable] (physics) physical substance that everything in the world is made of; not mind or spirit to study the properties of matter See related entries: Molecules and matter, The universe
- 6[uncountable] (formal) a substance or things of a particular sort Add plenty of organic matter to improve the soil. elimination of waste matter from the body She didn't approve of their choice of reading matter. see also subject matter Word Origin Middle English: via Old French from Latin materia
- 1 used to add a comment on something that you have just said, usually adding something that you think the other person will be interested in It's a nice place. We've stayed there ourselves, as a matter of fact.
- 2 used to disagree with something that somebody has just said synonym actually ‘I suppose you'll be leaving soon, then?’ ‘No, as a matter of fact I'll be staying for another two years.’
only a few hours, minutes, etc. It was all over in a matter of minutes. The bullet missed her by a matter of inches. used to describe a situation that is very important or serious (formal) something that has been recorded as being true used to say that something is not important used to say that something is always true, whatever the situation is, or that somebody should certainly do something They don't last long no matter how careful you are. Call me when you get there, no matter what the time is.