Definition of matrix in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈmeɪtrɪks/

noun (plural matrices /ˈmeɪtrɪsiːz/ or matrixes)

1The cultural, social, or political environment in which something develops: Oxbridge was the matrix of the ideology
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  • In his individuated free-floating imagery that defines his iconography, he is rooted in the social and cultural matrix.
  • But he believed that free market reforms occur within a matrix of cultural values and social capital.
  • I refuse to accept any suggestion that we are impotent because of some peculiar accident of history or because of some flaw in our cultural matrix from which we are yet to escape.
2A mass of fine-grained rock in which gems, crystals, or fossils are embedded: nodules of secondary limestone set in a matrix of porous dolomite [mass noun]: such fossils will often be partly concealed by matrix
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  • Limited dolomitization of the calcite around the edges of the fossils and in the matrix of the concretion occurred at a later stage.
  • Rhombs of ferroan dolomite occur both in the fringe around the fossils and within the matrix of the concretion.
  • Except for a few small bone fragments, no fossils have been observed within the clasts or in the matrix.
2.1 Biology The substance between cells or in which structures are embedded: the lipid matrix of olfactory cells
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  • Integrins are an ancient group of animal adhesion receptors that attach cells to the extracellular matrix.
  • The integrity of the endothelial cell layer is also controlled by the tethering of the cells to the extracellular matrix through integrins.
  • The capillary grows by degradation of the extracellular matrix and proliferation of cells at the tip of the sprout.
2.2Fine material used to bind together the coarser particles of a composite substance: the matrix of gravel paths is hoed regularly
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  • The outer layer consisted of a loosely bound matrix of fibrous, textured material.
  • Magnetic resonance has been widely used in the investigation of nanomagnetic particles immersed in nonmagnetic matrices.
  • The sediment matrix of the specimen consists of crudely bedded very fine sandstone with Ophiomorpha burrows.
3A mould in which something, such as a record or printing type, is cast or shaped: her two duets with Isobel Baillie were never issued and the matrices were destroyed
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  • The matrix is inserted at its base, the mould is adjusted to the desired width, molten lead is poured in to form a column, and the character is cast in the matrix at the bottom.
  • These were then used to shape the matrixes from which the records were pressed.
4 Mathematics A rectangular array of quantities or expressions in rows and columns that is treated as a single entity and manipulated according to particular rules: this formula applies for all square matrices
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  • Equivalently, physicists can represent a given quantum system by a matrix - a square array of whole numbers.
  • For this simple example, this means we can get to any of the six permutation matrices in a single swap.
  • Of particular importance is his appreciation of the value of elementary hermitian matrices in numerical analysis.
4.1A grid-like arrangement of elements; a lattice: a sparse matrix is a data structure in which few of the potential elements are filled out
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  • For each story, in addition to writing the core narrative, we developed a large matrix containing descriptive information.
  • Use points recorded above to help develop a character matrix.
  • Following appropriate methods of analysis for qualitative data, thematic conceptual matrices were developed and are presented in the tables in this paper.
5An organizational structure in which two or more lines of command, responsibility, or communication may run through the same individual: [as modifier]: matrix structures are said to foster greater flexibility
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  • So they engineered a matrix structure that breaks down managerial responsibility both by region and product.
  • A favourite candidate is the so-called matrix structure.
  • It was structured as a matrix, with various corporate functions on one side and various product groups on the other.


Late Middle English (in the sense 'womb'): from Latin, 'breeding female', later 'womb', from mater, matr- 'mother'.

Words that rhyme with matrix


For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ma¦trix

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