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1. The substance or substances out of which a thing is or can be made.
2. Something, such as an idea or information, that is to be refined and made or incorporated into a finished effort: material for a comedy.
3. materials Tools or apparatus for the performance of a given task: writing materials.
4. Yard goods or cloth.
5. A person who is qualified or suited for a position or activity: The members of the board felt that she was vice-presidential material.
1. Of, relating to, or composed of matter.
2. Of, relating to, or affecting physical well-being; bodily: "the moral and material welfare of all good citizens" (Theodore Roosevelt).
3. Of or concerned with the physical as distinct from the intellectual or spiritual: "Great men are they who see that spiritual is stronger than any material force, that thoughts rule the world" (Ralph Waldo Emerson).
4. Being both relevant and consequential; crucial: testimony material to the inquiry. See Synonyms at relevant.
5. Philosophy Of or relating to the matter of reasoning, rather than the form.

[Middle English, consisting of matter, material, from Old French, from Late Latin māteriālis, from Latin māteria, matter; see māter- in Indo-European roots.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


pl n
the equipment necessary for a particular activity
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


  • taboret - An artist's multi-drawer cabinet table for tools and materials.
  • compendium - Latin for "that which is weighed together," it is a complete summary or abridgment or a concise collection of materials—not an all-encompassing or comprehensive work (plural is compendiums or compendia).
  • hygroscopic - Describing the ability or tendency of a material to take up moisture readily from the surrounding air or other moist materials.
  • molecular gastronomy - The study and application of chemistry, physics, and other scientific principles on cooking processes, preparation, and materials.
Farlex Trivia Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
For instance, the building materials used in various ages can afford their own lessons to understanding eyes.
But let us pass from this part of predictions (concerning which, nevertheless, more light may be taken from that which followeth); and let us speak first, of the materials of seditions; then of the motives of them; and thirdly of the remedies.
Their short and simple annals could be eked out by confidences which would not appreciably enrich the materials of the literary history of their time, and it seems better to leave them to the imagination of such posterity as they may reach.
Hence they are full of the most valuable materials for the enlightenment of the working class.
When the artist has arranged his materials with an eye to just proportion--the small and the large flakes in alternate rows, and separated by carefully- considered intervals--I know of nothing more cheerful to look upon than a spirited Syrian fresco.
"But," cried the tailor, in triumph, "what you do not know, monseigneur – prince of the church though you are - what nobody will know - what only the king, Mademoiselle de la Valliere, and myself do know, is the color of the materials and nature of the ornaments, and the cut, the
The materials at present within my command hardly appeared adequate to so arduous an undertaking, but I doubted not that I should ultimately succeed.
For this reason the Iliad and the Odyssey each furnish the subject of one tragedy, or, at most, of two; while the Cypria supplies materials for many, and the Little Iliad for eight--the Award of the Arms, the Philoctetes, the Neoptolemus, the Eurypylus, the Mendicant Odysseus, the Laconian Women, the Fall of Ilium, the Departure of the Fleet.
A WISE and illustrious Writer of Fables was visiting a travelling menagerie with a view to collecting literary materials. As he was passing near the Elephant, that animal said:
A Bricklayer earnestly recommended bricks as affording the best material for an effective resistance.
However, as nothing past in it which can be thought material to this history, or, indeed, very material in itself, I shall omit the relation; the rather, as I have known some very fine polite conversation grow extremely dull, when transcribed into books, or repeated on the stage.
This conception is the one handle by means of which the material of history, as at present expounded, can be dealt with, and anyone who breaks that handle off, as Buckle did, without finding some other method of treating historical material, merely deprives himself of the one possible way of dealing with it.

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