Definition of material in English:

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Pronunciation: /məˈtirēəl/


1The matter from which a thing is or can be made: goats can eat more or less any plant material materials such as brass highly flammable materials
More example sentences
  • 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.
matter, substance, stuff, medium
1.1 (usually materials) Things needed for an activity: cleaning materials
More example sentences
  • 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.
constituent, raw material, element, component
things, items, articles, stuff, necessaries
1.2 [with adjective or noun modifier] A person of a specified quality or suitability: he’s not really Olympic material
More example sentences
  • He is not teller material or bank material for that matter, but he sure makes me laugh.
2Facts, information, or ideas for use in creating a book or other work: there is much good material here for priests to use in sermons
More example sentences
  • 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, details, particulars, background, notes
informal info, dope, lowdown
2.1Items, especially songs or jokes, comprising a performer’s act: a band playing original material
More example sentences
  • 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 dress materials
More example sentences
  • 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.
fabric, cloth, textiles


1 [attributive] Denoting or consisting of physical objects rather than the mind or spirit: the material world moral and material support
More example sentences
  • 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.
physical, corporeal, tangible, nonspiritual, mundane, worldly, earthly, secular, temporal, concrete, real, solid, substantial
1.1Concerned with physical needs or desires: material living standards have risen
More example sentences
  • 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, physical, carnal, corporal, fleshly, bodily, creature
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.
2Important; essential; relevant: the insects did not do any material damage to the crop
More example sentences
  • We agreed with the firm that in failing to obtain a vet's report, he had breached an important and material condition of the policy.
  • It will give auditors a better understanding of what is of material significance to the banks' regulator.
  • If there's no disputing about taste, there's also no disputing some of the material consequences of taste.
significant, major, important
2.1chiefly Law (Of evidence or a fact) significant, influential, or relevant, especially to the extent of determining a cause or affecting a judgment: information that could be material to a murder inquiry
More example sentences
  • The situation in the crisis alters almost by the hour but as at Wednesday morning I will try and give you an update of matters that are material.
  • In this case the following matters are particularly material.
  • The Defendants had a legitimate interest in drawing attention to matters which were material in one or other of these two statutory purposes.
relevant, pertinent, important, applicable, germane;
apropos, to the point;
vital, essential, key


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

Words that rhyme with material

arterial, bacterial, cereal, criterial, ethereal, ferial, funereal, immaterial, imperial, magisterial, managerial, ministerial, presbyterial, serial, sidereal, venereal, biomaterial

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ma·te·ri·al

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