Definition of “matter” - English Dictionary

“matter” in British English

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uk /ˈmæt.ər/ us /ˈmæt̬.ɚ/

matter noun (SITUATION)

B2 [ C ] a situation or subject that is being dealt with or considered:

Could I talk to you about a personal matter?
Allen denied any knowledge of the matter.
Please phone me back - it's a matter of some importance.
Talking about the world's problems is one thing, but solving them is another matter altogether (= is completely different).
matters [ plural ]

the situation being dealt with or being discussed:

Her resignation is not going to help matters.
to make matters worse

B2 used to say that something has made a bad or difficult situation worse:

Three of our players were ill, and to make matters worse, our main scorer had broken his ankle.
be a matter of confidence, luck, waiting, etc.

C2 If something is a matter of confidence, luck, waiting, etc. that is all you need for it to happen:

Baking a cake isn't difficult - it's just a matter of following the recipe.
be no laughing matter

C2 to be very serious and not a situation that people should joke about:

Being arrested by the police is no laughing matter.

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matter noun (PROBLEM)

the matter A2 [ S ]

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  • What's the matter with Lulu?
  • I don't know what's the matter with this phone.
  • You look upset - is anything the matter?
  • Why do you need another computer? What's the matter with the one you've got?
  • Julie was crying, but she wouldn't say what the matter was.

the reason for pain, worry, or a problem:

What's the matter? Why are you crying?
What's the matter with your hand? It's bleeding.
Is anything the matter?
I don't know what the matter is with the car, but it won't start.

matterverb [ I ]

uk /ˈmæt.ər/ us /ˈmæt̬.ɚ/

B2 to be important, or to affect what happens:

We were late but it didn't seem to matter.
"What did you say?" "Oh, it doesn't matter."
[ + question word ] It doesn't matter what you wear - just as long as you come.
[ + that ] It didn't matter that our best player was injured after ten minutes - we still won.
I know Charles doesn't think this project is important, but it matters to me.

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(Definition of “matter” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

“matter” in American English

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us /ˈmæt̬·ər/

matter noun (SITUATION)

[ C ] a situation or subject that is being dealt with or considered:

I think this is a matter best left to the mayor to decide.

matter noun (PROBLEM)

[ U ] the reason for pain or worry:

What’s the matter? Why are you so upset?

matter noun (SUBSTANCE)

[ U ] physics physical substance in the universe

[ U ] physics Matter is also a particular type of substance:

printed matter
waste matter


us /ˈmæt̬·ər/

matter verb (BE IMPORTANT)

to be important:

[ I ] "What did you say?" "Oh, it doesn’t matter."
[ + question word ] It no longer mattered what happened.

(Definition of “matter” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

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