from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A flat piece of coarse fabric or other material used for wiping one's shoes or feet, or in various other forms as a floor covering.
  • noun A small flat piece of decorated material placed under a lamp, dish of food, or other object.
  • noun Sports A floor pad to protect athletes, as in wrestling or gymnastics.
  • noun A densely woven or thickly tangled mass.
  • noun The solid part of a lace design.
  • noun A heavy woven net of rope or wire cable placed over a blasting site to keep debris from scattering.
  • intransitive verb To cover, protect, or decorate with mats or a mat.
  • intransitive verb To pack or interweave into a thick mass.
  • intransitive verb To be packed or interwoven into a thick mass; become entangled.
  • noun A decorative border placed around a picture to serve as a frame or provide contrast between the picture and the frame.
  • noun A dull, often rough finish, as of paint, glass, metal, or paper.
  • noun A special tool for producing such a surface or finish.
  • transitive verb To put a mat around (a picture).
  • transitive verb To produce a dull finish on.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To cover or overlay with mats or matting.
  • To make like a mat; cause to resemble a mat; twist together; interweave like a mat; entangle: as, matted hair.
  • To grow thick together; become interwoven like a mat.
  • Having a dull or dead surface: unpolished; lusterless: as, mat gold; mat silver.
  • noun A dull or dead surface, without luster, produced in metals, as gold or silver, by special tools.
  • noun [⟨ mat, verb] An implement by which a mat surface is produced, as in gold or silver.
  • An obsolete form of mate.
  • To produce a rough or unpolished surface on (metal), whether by means of a mat or by engraving with a sharp tool.
  • noun In phytogeography, a mat-like aggregation of tufts from basal branches. Compare mat-plant. Pound and Clements.
  • noun An article plaited or woven of more or less coarse material, as rushes, straw, coir, rope, twine, or thick woolen yarn, of various sizes and shapes according to the use to which it is to be put.
  • noun A web of rope-yarn used on ships to secure the standing rigging from the friction of the yards, etc.
  • noun Matting; woven rushes or straw.
  • noun A structure of interwoven withes, weeds, brush, or the like, or of fascines, fastened with ropes and wires, used as a revetment on river-banks, etc.; a mattress.
  • noun A sack made of matting, such as are used to contain coffee or to cover tea-chests; specifically, such a sack containing a certain quantity of coffee.
  • noun Anything closely set, dense, and thick: as, a mat of hair; a mat of weeds.
  • noun A piece of thick paper, cardboard, or other material placed for protection or ornament immediately under the glass in a picture-frame, with enough of the central part cut out for the proper display of the picture (usually a drawing, engraving, or photograph).
  • noun In lace-making, the solid or closely worked surface, as distinguished from the more open part.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A name given by coppersmiths to an alloy of copper, tin, iron, etc., usually called white metal.
  • intransitive verb To grow thick together; to become interwoven or felted together like a mat, as hair when wetted with a sticky substance.
  • noun A thick flat fabric of sedge, rushes, flags, husks, straw, hemp, or similar material, placed on the floor and used for wiping and cleaning shoes at the door, for covering the floor of a hall or room to protect its surface, and for other purposes.
  • noun Any similar flat object made of fabric or other material, such as rubber or plastic, placed flat on a surface for various uses, as for covering plant houses, putting beneath dishes or lamps on a table, securing rigging from friction, and the like.
  • noun Anything growing thickly, or closely interwoven, so as to resemble a mat in form or texture
  • noun An ornamental border made of paper, pasterboard, metal, etc., put under the glass which covers a framed picture.
  • noun (Bot.) Same as Matweed.
  • noun (Bot.) a kind of rush (Scirpus lacustris) used in England for making mats.
  • transitive verb To cover or lay with mats.
  • transitive verb To twist, twine, or felt together; to interweave into, or like, a mat; to entangle.
  • adjective obsolete Cast down; dejected; overthrown; slain.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A flat piece of coarse material used for wiping one’s feet, or as a decorative or protective floor covering.
  • noun A small flat piece of material used to protect a surface from anything hot or rough; a coaster.
  • noun athletics A floor pad to protect athletes.
  • noun A thickly tangled mess, of hair etc.
  • noun A thick paper or paperboard border used to inset and center the contents of a frame.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old English matte, from Late Latin matta, of Phoenician origin; see nṭy in Semitic roots.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[From French, dull, from Old French, defeated, withered, perhaps from Latin mattus, stupefied, senseless, possibly from *maditus, past participle of madēre, to be wet.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old English matte, from Late Latin matta, from Punic or Phoenician (compare Hebrew מיטה \ מִטָּה (mitá, "bed, couch")).


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  • Tam in reverse.

    November 3, 2007

  • Russian for "swearing", from all the crude phrases that refer to doing things to your opponent's mother (mat'). Compare with diamat.

    August 26, 2008