Matter is everywhere: anything that has mass and takes up space is matter. Air? Donuts? People? Buildings? Melted butter? All of these, and much, much more, are matter.

Other kinds of matter don't have a physical form, like a concern, problem, or even something that people think about, like a worrisome money matter, a personal matter, or a movie with a particular subject matter. Matter can also be a verb, meaning "to be important," as in: "Good health matters to me."

Definitions of matter

n that which has mass and occupies space

“physicists study both the nature of matter and the forces which govern it”
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the real physical matter of which a person or thing consists
a particular kind or species of matter with uniform properties
deposit, sediment
matter that has been deposited by some natural process
(cosmology) the original matter that (according to the big bang theory) existed before the formation of the chemical elements
dark matter
(cosmology) a hypothetical form of matter that is believed to make up 90 percent of the universe; it is invisible (does not absorb or emit light) and does not collide with atomic particles but exerts gravitational force
matter consisting of elementary particles that are the antiparticles of those making up normal substances
any gummy shapeless matter; usually unpleasant
continuous amorphous matter that tends to flow and to conform to the outline of its container: a liquid or a gas
goo, gook, goop, guck, gunk, muck, ooze, slime, sludge
any thick, viscous matter
(physical chemistry) a sample of matter in which substances in different phases are in equilibrium
matter that remains after something has been removed
matter that is solid at room temperature and pressure
the dissolved matter in a solution; the component of a solution that changes its state
something that is emitted or radiated (as a gas or an odor or a light, etc.)
vegetable matter
matter produced by plants or growing in the manner of a plant
food, nutrient
any substance that can be metabolized by an animal to give energy and build tissue
any substance (such as a chemical element or inorganic compound) that can be taken in by a green plant and used in organic synthesis
body substance
the substance of the body
living substance, protoplasm
the substance of a living cell (including cytoplasm and nucleus)
food, solid food
any solid substance (as opposed to liquid) that is used as a source of nourishment
alluvial deposit, alluvial sediment, alluvion, alluvium
clay or silt or gravel carried by rushing streams and deposited where the stream slows down
dregs, settlings
sediment that has settled at the bottom of a liquid
the sediment from fermentation of an alcoholic beverage
lick, salt lick
a salt deposit that animals regularly lick
the chemical composition and properties of a substance or object
material, stuff
the tangible substance that goes into the makeup of a physical object
elixir, philosopher's stone, philosophers' stone
hypothetical substance that the alchemists believed to be capable of changing base metals into gold
a hypothetical substance once believed to be present in all combustible materials and to be released during burning
any substance that can cause an allergy
a substance that is undergoing an analysis of its components
pyrectic, pyrogen
any substance that can cause a rise in body temperature
any substance characterized by its great flammability
(chemistry) a substance consisting of two or more substances mixed together (not in fixed proportions and not with chemical bonding)
a substance that forms a gel with water
a precipitated solid substance in suspension or after settling or filtering
generic name for certain synthetic or semisynthetic materials that can be molded or extruded into objects or films or filaments or used for making e.g. coatings and adhesives
adulterant, adulterator
any substance that lessens the purity or effectiveness of a substance
(physics and chemistry) the smallest component of an element having the chemical properties of the element
chemical element, element
any of the more than 100 known substances (of which 92 occur naturally) that cannot be separated into simpler substances and that singly or in combination constitute all matter
crackling, greaves
the residue that remains after animal fat has been rendered
partially carbonized vegetable matter saturated with water; can be used as a fuel when dried
propellant, propellent
any substance that propels
any substance that serves as a denaturing agent
(biology) any agency bringing about activation; a molecule that increases the activity of an enzyme or a protein that increases the production of a gene product in DNA transcription
a substance that retards or stops an activity
a substance capable of bringing about fermentation
the substance that is acted upon by an enzyme or ferment
the residue that remains when something is burned
a substance that exerts some force or effect
any substance that produces cancer
fossil fuel consisting of carbonized vegetable matter deposited in the Carboniferous period
cotton cake, cottonseed cake
the solid matter remaining after oil has been pressed from cottonseeds
any substance that promotes digestion
the residue of partially burnt tobacco left caked in the bowl of a pipe after smoking
one of four substances thought in ancient and medieval cosmology to constitute the physical universe
a substance used as a warm moist medicinal compress or poultice
a substance that can be consumed to produce energy
a fluid in the gaseous state having neither independent shape nor volume and being able to expand indefinitely
a brittle transparent solid with irregular atomic structure
a solid formed by the solidification of a chemical and having a highly regular atomic structure
lube, lubricant, lubricating substance, lubricator
a substance capable of reducing friction by making surfaces smooth or slippery
an intervening substance through which something is achieved
(biology) a substance in which specimens are preserved or displayed
any substance that is added to another substance to keep it moist
inoculant, inoculum
a substance (a virus or toxin or immune serum) that is introduced into the body to produce or increase immunity to a particular disease
any substance having the consistency of jelly or gelatin
leaven, leavening
a substance used to produce fermentation in dough or a liquid
a substance that is fluid at room temperature and pressure
fluid matter having no fixed shape but a fixed volume
sludge (rich in organic matter) that accumulates at the bottom of lakes or oceans
powder, pulverisation, pulverization
a solid substance in the form of tiny loose particles; a solid that has been pulverized
any substance used to provide cooling (as in a refrigerator)
the sediment that is left after the evaporation of seawater
any substance (such as an antibody) or agent that can cause lysis
poison, poisonous substance, toxicant
any substance that causes injury or illness or death of a living organism
chemical irritant
a substance producing irritation
any substance (as a toxin or enzyme) that stimulates an immune response in the body (especially the production of antibodies)
dry ice
solidified carbon dioxide; dry ice sublimates at -78.5 C and is used mainly as a refrigerant
a volatile substance; a substance that changes readily from solid or liquid to a vapor
(spiritualism) a substance supposed to emanate from the body of the medium during a trance
any substance possessing to a high degree the predominant properties of a plant or drug or other natural product from which it is extracted
a substance (an atom or molecule or radical or ion) that forms a complex around a central atom
any substance involved in metabolism (either as a product of metabolism or as necessary for metabolism)
any substance that facilitates the use of a drug or pigment or other material that is mixed with it
a vitrified substance; the glassy result of being vitrified
Type of:
physical entity
an entity that has physical existence

n some situation or event that is thought about

“it is a matter for the police”
issue, subject, topic
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a subject of study
blind spot
a subject about which you are ignorant or prejudiced and fail to exercise good judgment
the topic that a person, committee, or piece of research is expected to deal with or has authority to deal with
res adjudicata, res judicata
a matter already settled in court; cannot be raised again
gray area, grey area
an intermediate area; a topic that is not clearly one thing or the other
an area of knowledge or interest
Type of:
cognitive content, content, mental object
the sum or range of what has been perceived, discovered, or learned

n a vaguely specified concern

“several matters to attend to”
affair, thing
something that is of no importance
Type of:
something that interests you because it is important or affects you

n a problem

“is anything the matter?”
Type of:
problem, trouble
a source of difficulty

n (used with negation) having consequence

“they were friends and it was no matter who won the games”
Type of:
consequence, import, moment
having important effects or influence

n written works (especially in books or magazines)

“he always took some reading matter with him on the plane”
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matter that has been dictated and transcribed; a dictated passage
text, textual matter
the words of something written
the main body of a written work (as distinct from illustrations or footnotes etc.)
typewritten matter especially a typewritten copy of a manuscript
front matter, prelims
written matter preceding the main text of a book
back matter, end matter
written matter following the main text of a book
soft copy
(computer science) matter that is in a form that a computer can store or display it on a computer screen
hard copy
(computer science) matter that is held in a computer and is typed or printed on paper
addendum, postscript, supplement
textual matter that is added onto a publication; usually at the end
written matter that is recited from memory
a page or text that is vertically divided
a short line of text that a web site puts on your computer's hard drive when you access the web site
copy, written matter
matter to be printed; exclusive of graphical materials
draft, draft copy
any of the various versions in the development of a written work
electronic text
text that is in a form that computer can store or display on a computer screen
installment, instalment
a part of a published serial
supplementary material that is collected and appended at the back of a book
continuation, sequel
a part added to a book or play that continues and extends it
letter, missive
a written message addressed to a person or organization
text consisting of a row of words written across a page or computer screen
a text that excludes a particular letter or particular letters of the alphabet
language, lyric, words
the text of a popular song or musical-comedy number
a fixed number of lines of verse forming a unit of a poem
Type of:
piece of writing, writing, written material
the work of a writer; anything expressed in letters of the alphabet (especially when considered from the point of view of style and effect)

v have weight; have import, carry weight

“It does not matter much”
count, weigh
press, weigh
to be oppressive or burdensome
Type of:
have the quality of being; (copula, used with an adjective or a predicate noun)

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