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

      

    matter

     noun
    noun
    BrE BrE//ˈmætə(r)//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈmætər//
     
    Molecules and matter, The universe
     
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    subject/situation
  1. 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. 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.
  3. problem
  4. 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.
  5. a matter of something/of doing something
  6. 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).
  7. substance
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. Word Origin Middle English: via Old French from Latin materia ‘timber, substance’, also ‘subject of discourse’, from mater ‘mother’.Extra examples Do I have any choice in the matter? Getting the effect you want is a matter of trial and error. He left, saying he had pressing matters to attend to. His articles deal with a wide range of subject matter. His lawyer advised him to drop the matter. I don’t have much experience in these matters. I don’t mind lizards, but snakes are a different matter. I don’t really want to go into this matter now. I thought I’d better broach the matter with my boss. I wasn’t sure how to approach the delicate matter of pay. It didn’t help matters that I had a terrible cold. It is no simple matter starting a new business. It is then a simple matter to print off the data you have collected. It’s a matter of concern to all of us. It’s a relief to have the matter settled. Let me simplify matters by giving you my answer now. Let’s concentrate on the matter in hand for now, and leave other issues till later. Police are treating the matter as a murder enquiry. She always arranges matters to suit herself. She refused to let the matter rest. She was a great source of knowledge on matters relating to nutrition. Speak to your manager if you need help on this matter. The incident is definitely a matter for the police. The matter will be raised at our next meeting. The question of his innocence is a weighty matter for this court. The rest of the meeting was taken up by routine matters. The safety of his family was no laughing matter. They talk mostly about work and related matters. They’ve agreed in theory, but now we need to discuss practical matters. To make matters worse, my friend then lost her keys. We discussed the matter of whether or not to hire a bus. composed entirely of organic matter ‘I think this is the best so far.’ ‘Well, that’s a matter of opinion. And that is the crux of the matter. And then there’s the little matter of the fifty pounds you owe me. I did not feel that we had got to the heart of the matter. I wasn’t prepared to let the matter drop. It’s a private matter. Just as a matter of interest , how much did you pay for it? Let’s get on with the matter in hand. She didn’t approve of their choice of reading matter. She resigned over a matter of principle. Some people prefer the older version to the newer one. It’s a matter of taste. That’s a matter for you to take up with your boss. That’s not a problem. It’s simply a matter of letting people know in time. The behaviour of matter can be quantified by measures such as weight. The government must deal with this as a matter of urgency. The researchers found evidence of dark matter extending beyond the visible galaxies. The soil is rich in organic matter. There were small lumps of matter floating on the surface. the elimination of waste matter from the bodyIdioms
    1. 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. 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.’
    be another/a different matter
     
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     to be very different I know which area they live in, but whether I can find their house is a different matter.
    to be something serious that you should not joke about
    the fact (of the matter) is (that)…
     
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    used to emphasize a statement, especially one that is the opposite of what has just been mentioned A new car would be wonderful but the fact of the matter is that we can't afford one.
    used to add a comment on something that you have just said I didn't like it much. Nor did the kids, for that matter.
    it’s just/only a matter of time (before…)
     
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    used to say that something will definitely happen, although you are not sure when It's only a matter of time before they bring out their own version of the software.
    (as) a matter of course
     
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    (as) the usual and correct thing to do We always check people's addresses as a matter of course.
    a matter of hours, minutes, etc., a matter of inches, metres, etc.
     
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    only a few hours, minutes, etc. It was all over in a matter of minutes. The bullet missed her by a matter of inches.
    a matter of life and death
     
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    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
    no matter who, what, where, etc.
     
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     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.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: matter