Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

material - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

noun material pronunciation in American English /məˈtɪriəl/
Word Forms

Related words

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    [countable/uncountable] cloth
    Her dress was made of a thin lacy material.
    heavy material for making curtains
  2. 2
    [uncountable] a substance, especially one used for a particular purpose
    Brick was used as the main building material for local churches.
    1. a.
      a substance, especially one that has a particular quality
      radioactive/organic material
      All waste material is recycled where possible.
  3. 3
    [uncountable] information, ideas, and experiences that you use as the subject of a book, movie, song, etc.
    Newspaper articles are a good source of material for stories.
    1. a.
      an entertainers songs, jokes, etc
      The concert will include material from their new album.
  4. 4
    [countable/uncountable] documents, etc. that are used for a particular activity
    publicity material
    Professors are expected to furnish their own teaching materials.
  5. 5
    [uncountable] someone who is appropriate for a particular job or situation
    He wasn’t really officer material.


a course of study which is much shorter than a university course and focuses on the skills you need for a job, especially computer-related skills

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


an ancient Roman system of underfloor heating, used to heat houses with hot air; from the Latin 'hypocaustum'

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog