1 (C) a subject or situation that you have to think about or deal with: You do realize this is a serious matter, don't you? | He wasn't particularly interested in financial matters. | a matter of importance/concern/regret etc (=a subject that is important, that people worry about etc): Wilson always consulted Landers on matters of importance. | The King's mental state was becoming a matter of concern. | be a matter for (=be something that a particular person or group should deal with): If he was murdered, it's a matter for the police. | the heart/crux of the matter (=the most important part of a situation): The report didn't get to the heart of the matter. | raise the matter with (=discuss a subject with someone): Have you raised the matter with your union representative? | let the matter rest/drop (=decide to stop worrying about something): I'm prepared to let the whole matter drop if he apologizes. | the matter at/in hand (=the thing that you should be dealing with now): Could we please concentrate on the matter in hand?
2 subject matter the subject that is discussed or shown in a book, film, article etc: Because of its adult subject matter, the film is not suitable for under-16s.
3 it's no small/laughing matter used to say that something must be treated seriously: He ended up with a broken pelvis, which is no laughing matter, I can tell you.
4 that's the end of the matter/let that be an end to the matter spoken used to tell someone that you do not want to talk about something any more: We will not let you date until you're 16, and that's the end of the matter.
5 be a different matter also be quite another matter especially BrE used to say that one situation or problem is much more serious than another: Having the occasional drink is one thing, but being drunk every night is quite another matter.
6 matters plural a situation that you are in or have been describing: Maybe some of these suggestions will help to improve matters. | not help matters spoken (=make a situation worse): I had a headache when I took the test, which didn't help matters.
7 to make matters worse making a bad situation even worse: The car had broken down, and to make matters worse, it was beginning to rain.
8 take matters into your own hands to deal with a problem yourself because other people have failed to deal with it: Local people took matters into their own hands and hired their own security guards.
9 what's the matter?/is anything the matter? spoken used when someone seems upset, unhappy, or ill and you are asking them why: What's the matter, Mary? Have you been crying?
10 what's the matter with spoken used to ask why something is not working normally, someone seems upset or ill, or something looks wrong: What's the matter with Bill? | "The television had to go back to the store." "Why, what's the matter with it?"
11 there's something the matter with/something's the matter with spoken used to say that something is not working normally, someone is upset or ill, or something looks wrong: There's something the matter with the washing machine - it keeps leaking.
12 there's nothing the matter with spoken used to say that someone is not ill or upset, or that something is working properly or looks good: There was nothing the matter with it when I lent it to him. | There's nothing the matter with your haircut - I really like it!
13 no matter how/where/what etc used to say that something is always the same whatever happens, or in spite of someone's efforts to change it: No matter how hard he tried, he couldn't get her to change her mind. | My parents always waited up for me, no matter what time I got home.
14 no matter what (happens) spoken used to say that you will definitely do something: I'll call you tonight no matter what.
15 no matter spoken used to say that something you have asked about is not important: "She's not in her office." "No matter, I'll try and call her at home."
16 as a matter of fact especially spoken
a) used when saying something, especially something surprising, that is connected with what you are talking about: I knew him when we were in college - as a matter of fact we were on the same course.
b) used when you do not agree with what someone has just said: No, I wasn't annoyed. As a matter of fact I was very glad to see them.
17 as a matter of interest BrE spoken used when you want to ask or tell someone something that is not really necessary: Just as a matter of interest, Tony, how much did you pay for your house?
18 as a matter of course/routine as the correct and usual thing to do in a particular situation: We will contact your former employer as a matter of course.
19 as a matter of principle/belief/policy etc because of your personal beliefs about what you should do: They're supporting him as a matter of principle.
20 as a matter of urgency/priority formal done as quickly as possible because it is very important: I want a full safety check as a matter of urgency.
21 it's/that's a matter of opinion used to say that people have different opinions about a subject: Personally I can't stand rock music, but I suppose it's all a matter of opinion.
22 it's only/just a matter of time used to say that something will definitely happen eventually: It's only a matter of time before somebody gets hurt.
23 it's a matter of life and death used to say that a situation is extremely serious or dangerous and something must be done immediately: We wouldn't usually operate on a pregnant woman, unless it's a matter of life and death.
24 it's (just) a matter of (doing) sth spoken used to say that you only have to do a particular thing, or do something in a particular way, in order to be successful: Anyone can take good photographs - it's just a matter of being in the right place at the right time.
25 it's a matter of taste/cost/luck etc used to say that what happens or what you decide depends on your judgment, how much something costs, how lucky you are etc: I can't say which wine is best - it's a matter of personal taste.
26 the fact/truth of the matter (is) used to say what you think is really true: The sad fact of the matter is that Alice is just not good enough for the job. | He doesn't love her any more - that's the truth of the matter.
27 a matter of seconds/months/metres etc only a few seconds, metres etc: The ambulance was there in a matter of minutes. | In everyone expected the war to be over in a matter of months.
28 reading/printed etc matter things that are written for people to read
29 waste/solid/organic/vegetable etc matter a substance that consists of waste material, solid material etc
30 (U) technical the material that everything in the universe is made of, including solids, liquids, and gases
31 (U) a yellow or white substance that is found in wounds or next to your eye
32 or ... for that matter spoken used to say that what you are saying about one thing is also true about something else: Ben never touched beer, or any kind of alcohol for that matter.
33 there's the little matter of spoken used jokingly to remind someone about something important that they may have forgotten: OK, that's settled - but there's still the little matter of my fee to discuss.
—see also: grey matter, not mince matters mince 1 (3), mind over matter mind 1 (50) 2 verb (I)
1 to be important, especially to be important to you personally or to have a big effect on what happens: it doesn't matter/it won't matter etc: "We've missed the train!" "It doesn't matter, there's another one in minutes." | matter if: Will it matter if I'm a little late? | matter about: It won't matter about the mess - I'll clear it up later. | matter who/why/what etc: It doesn't matter what you wear, as long as you look neat and tidy. | Does it matter who goes first? | matter to sb: It doesn't really matter to me if we don't see the film - I've seen it already anyway. | it matters a lot/a great deal (=it is very important): It mattered a great deal to her whatother people thought of her. | all that matters/the only thing that matters (=the only thing that is important): All that matters is that you're safe. | Money was the only thing that mattered to these people. | what matters is: I don't care what it looks like - what matters is that it works. | nothing else matters: He wanted to win the championship - nothing else really mattered to him.
2 it doesn't matter spoken
a) used to tell someone that you are not angry or upset about something, especially something that they have done: "I've spilled some coffee on the carpet." "It doesn't matter."
b) used to say that you do not mind which one of two things you have: "Red or white wine?" "Oh, either. It doesn't matter."
3 what does it matter (if) spoken used to say that something is not very important: What does it matter if he drinks a little, at least he's happy.

Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.

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