Editors' review

April 17, 2016

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Contemporary Examples

  • I had The matrix, The Royal Tenenbaums, Arrested Development, and Once.

  • And TV marathons were strenuously encouraged: The matrix, Terminator 2, South Park.

  • Maybe this is The matrix (the first one that was faintly intelligible) after all.

  • My dad rented The matrix for us when I was 10, and I must have watched it like seven times on videocassette.

  • Just like Fight Club or The matrix, the wave of revolutionary protest-battles also has a mindblowing ending.

Historical Examples

British Dictionary definitions for matrix Expand


/ˈmeɪtrɪks; ˈmæ-/

noun (pl) matrices (ˈmeɪtrɪˌsiːz; ˈmæ-), matrixes

a substance, situation, or environment in which something has its origin, takes form, or is enclosed


(anatomy) the thick tissue at the base of a nail from which a fingernail or toenail develops


the intercellular substance of bone, cartilage, connective tissue, etc

  1. the rock material in which fossils, pebbles, etc, are embedded
  2. the material in which a mineral is embedded; gangue
  1. a metal mould for casting type
  2. a papier-mâché or plastic mould impressed from the forme and used for stereotyping Sometimes shortened to mat

(formerly) a mould used in the production of gramophone records. It is obtained by electrodeposition onto the master


a bed of perforated material placed beneath a workpiece in a press or stamping machine against which the punch operates

  1. the shaped cathode used in electroforming
  2. the metal constituting the major part of an alloy
  3. the soft metal in a plain bearing in which the hard particles of surface metal are embedded

the main component of a composite material, such as the plastic in a fibre-reinforced plastic

(maths) a rectangular array of elements set out in rows and columns, used to facilitate the solution of problems, such as the transformation of coordinates. Usually indicated by parentheses: (matrix) Compare determinant (sense 3)

(linguistics) the main clause of a complex sentence


(computing) a rectangular array of circuit elements usually used to generate one set of signals from another


(obsolete) the womb

Word Origin

C16: from Latin: womb, female animal used for breeding, from māter mother

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for matrix Expand


late 14c., "uterus, womb," from Old French matrice "womb, uterus," from Latin matrix (genitive matricis) "pregnant animal," in Late Latin "womb," also "source, origin," from mater (genitive matris) "mother" (see mother (n.1)). Sense of "place or medium where something is developed" is first recorded 1550s; sense of "embedding or enclosing mass" first recorded 1640s. Logical sense of "array of possible combinations of truth-values" is attested from 1914. As a verb from 1951.

matrix in Medicine Expand

matrix ma·trix (mā'trĭks)
n. pl. ma·trix·es or ma·tri·ces (mā'trĭ-sēz', māt'rĭ-)

  1. A surrounding substance within which something else originates, develops, or is contained.

  2. The womb.

  3. The formative cells or tissue of a fingernail, toenail, or tooth.

  4. See ground substance.

  5. A specially shaped instrument, plastic material, or metal strip for holding and shaping the material used in filling a tooth cavity.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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matrix in Science Expand

matrix   (mā'trĭks)   
Plural matrices (mā'trĭ-sēz', māt'rĭ-) or matrixes
  1. Geology The mineral grains of a rock in which fossils are embedded.

  2. Biology The component of an animal or plant tissue that is outside the cells. Bone cells are embedded in a matrix of collagen fibers and mineral salts. Connective tissue consists of cells and extracellular fibers in a liquid called ground substance. Also called extracellular matrix.

  3. Mathematics A rectangular array of numeric or algebraic quantities subject to mathematical operations.

  4. Anatomy The formative cells or tissue of a fingernail, toenail, or tooth.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source

matrix in Technology Expand

[FidoNet] 1. What the Opus BBS software and sysops call FidoNet.
2. Fanciful term for a cyberspace expected to emerge from current networking experiments (see network, the).
3. The totality of present-day computer networks.
[Jargon File]