Definition of "material" [ma•te•ri•al]

  • The substance or substances out of which a thing is or can be made. (noun)
  • Something, such as an idea or information, that is to be refined and made or incorporated into a finished effort: material for a comedy. (noun)
  • Tools or apparatus for the performance of a given task: writing materials. (noun)
  • Yard goods or cloth. (noun)
  • A person who is qualified or suited for a position or activity: The members of the board felt that she was vice-presidential material. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "material" in a sentence
  • "If the pigeonholes are arranged in alphabetical order, for example, he may find all related material, _provided he knows the name of every related group of material_, even though very similar things may bear names as far apart as A and Z."
  • "And so with all material conditions; I say _material_, for in the spiritual life we see these things more truly as they are, and not as they appear."
  • "United States, or no existing nation (relatively to the age), has never attained the point of artistic, ├Žsthetic, social or material perfection of the Greco-Roman States; yet they fell, as I have just said, to slavery and ruin, not so much from the blows of the barbarians, as from the dissolving influence of a _material civilization_, resulting inevitably in public and private impotence and demoralization."