Definition of material in English:


Line breaks: ma|ter¦ial
Pronunciation: /məˈtɪərɪəl


[mass noun]
  • 1The matter from which a thing is or can be made: goats can eat more or less any plant material [count noun]: highly flammable materials
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    • Many of the males and a few of the females wear stuff that looks like leather, but most is woven animal fur or plant material of kinds I do not know.
    • It is formed from decomposing underground deposits of organic matter such as decaying plant material.
    • Gas cylinders contain flammable material - the fire extinguishers put out fires.
  • 1.1 (materials) Things needed for an activity: cleaning materials
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    • Any money given to the project will be used toward the purchase of materials for the above activities.
    • Other icons lead to full construction details plus information about materials and tools.
    • Throwing money and materials and implements at the problem is not dealing with the problem.
    things, items, articles, stuff, necessaries
    British informal gubbins
  • 1.2 [with adjective or noun modifier] A person of a specified quality or suitability: he’s not really Olympic material
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    • He is not teller material or bank material for that matter, but he sure makes me laugh.
  • 2Information or ideas for use in creating a book or other work: his colonial experiences gave him material
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    • Her spiky style and confident handling of the source material creates a book which is more of a literary event than a quiet read.
    • Singletons might use it as a dating agency, novelists as material for a book, market researchers as the easiest way to corner unsuspecting prey.
    • But, after a considerable amount of said hanging about, he accumulated enough material to write a book.
    information, data, facts, facts and figures, statistics, evidence, subject matter, ideas, details, particulars; background, notes, documentation, documents, papers
    informal info, gen, deets, dope, low-down, dirt
  • 2.1Items, such as songs or jokes, comprising a performer’s act: a watchable band playing original material
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    • The long-player will mix original material with traditional songs and is due out late next month.
    • The seven-piece outfit perform Tex-Mex classics, Spanish songs and original material.
    • The ensemble often draws its material from narrative folk songs.
  • 3Cloth or fabric: a piece of dark material [count noun]: dress materials
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    • She picked out a plain dress of dark green material and a clean loin cloth.
    • He pretended to dust an imaginary piece of lint from the dark material before returning his gaze to the other man.
    • He had a piece of dark material masking his face and was wearing a black, cotton casual jacket.


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  • 1 [attributive] Denoting or consisting of physical objects rather than the mind or spirit: the material world
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    • When we turn the page of a book, we're aware of a new yet essentially stable material physical space.
    • In many cases, we look to the exterior values, being physical or of a material nature.
    • It is a human invention or creation not of a physical or material kind but of a purely intellectual and ideational kind.
  • 1.1Concerned with money or possessions rather than the needs of the mind or spirit: material living standards have risen
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    • Long before Europeans arrived, it has been suggested, Australia was a prosperous land, with a high material standard of living.
    • Despite the billions he pocketed from running his hedge fund, he maintains greater interest in philosophy than matters material.
    • You are generous and proud in family situations especially regarding material and property matters.
    sensual, carnal, materialistic, corporal, fleshly, physical, bodily
  • 1.2Concerned with the matter of reasoning, not its form: political conflict lacks mathematical or material certitude
    More example sentences
    • Synthetic or material a priori truths are not reducible to formal truths.


late Middle English (in the sense 'relating to matter'): from late Latin materialis, adjective from Latin materia 'matter'.

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