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English definition of “matter”

matter

noun
 
 
/ˈmætər/
SUBJECT [C] B2 a subject or situation that you need to think about, discuss, or deal with: I've been thinking about this matter for a long time. He denied any knowledge of the matter. To make matters worse, our car broke down!Topics and areas of interestPhilosophy
SUBSTANCE [U] the physical substances that exist in the universeThe state of matter
TYPE OF THING [U] a particular type of substance or thing: vegetable matter printed matterThe state of matter
what's the matter A2 used to ask or talk about the reason for a problem: What's the matter with your leg? I can't help you if you won't tell me what the matter is.Difficult situations and unpleasant experiencesAccidents and disasters
there's something/nothing the matter A2 used to say that there is/is not a problem: There's something the matter with the washing machine.Wrong
a matter of days/weeks/feet, etc used in expressions describing how small a period of time or an amount is: The aircraft missed each other by a matter of feet.General words for size and amount
a matter of confidence/luck/waiting, etc If something is a matter of confidence/luck/waiting, etc, that is what you need for it to happen: Learning languages is just a matter of hard work.Essential or necessary
no matter how/what/when, etc B2 used to emphasize that something cannot be changed: I never manage to lose any weight, no matter how hard I try.Not able to be changedKeeping and staying the same
as a matter of fact B2 used to emphasize that something is true, especially when it is surprising: As a matter of fact, I used to live next door to him.Reality and truth
a matter of course If something happens as a matter of course, it always happens as part of the normal process or system: Babies were tested for the disease as a matter of course.Ways of achieving things
a matter of life and/or death a serious situation where people could die: Getting water to these people is a matter of life and death.Accidents and disastersDifficult situations and unpleasant experiencesFailures
it's only a matter of time If you say that it is only a matter of time before something happens, you are sure it will happen but you do not know when.Inevitable
→ See also subject matter, be no laughing matter
(Definition of matter noun from the Cambridge Learners Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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