1 [mat]
having a dull or lusterless surface: matte paint; a matte complexion; a photograph with a matte finish.
a dull or dead surface, often slightly roughened, as on metals, paint, paper, or glass.
a tool for producing such a surface.
Metallurgy. an unfinished metallic product of the smelting of certain sulfide ores, especially those of copper.
Movies. matte shot.
verb (used with object), matted, matting.
to finish with a matte surface.
Also, mat, matt.

1640–50; < French mat (masculine), matte (feminine), Old French < Late Latin mattus moist, soft, weak, perhaps < *maditus, derivative of Latin madēre to be wet Unabridged


2 [mat]
noun Mining.
a mass of timber caved beneath overburden so as to cushion the fall of the overburden and separate it from mineral to be extracted beneath.

< German; akin to mat1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
matt or matte (mæt)
adj, —n, —vb
mat mat variant spellings of mat
matte or matte
adj, —n, —vb

matte1 (mæt)
an impure fused material consisting of metal sulphides produced during the smelting of a sulphide ore
[C19: from French]

matte2 (mæt)
films, television a mask used to blank out part of an image so that another image can be superimposed

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1648, "lusterless," from Fr. mat "dull, dead surface," from O.Fr. mat "beaten down, withered," probably from L. mattus "maudlin with drink," from madere "to be wet or sodden, be drunk," from PIE base *mad- "to be wet, drip" (see mastectomy). Noun sense "backing for a
picture" is an 1845 borrowing from Fr.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


crude mixture of molten sulfides formed as an intermediate product of the smelting of sulfide ores of metals, especially copper, nickel, and lead. Instead of being smelted directly to metal, copper ores are usually smelted to matte, preferably containing 40-45 percent copper along with iron and sulfur, which is then treated by converting in a Bessemer-type converter. Air is blown into the molten matte, oxidizing the sulfur to sulfur dioxide and the iron to oxide that combines with a silica flux to form slag, leaving the copper in the metallic state. Smelting of nickel sulfide ores yields a matte in which nickel and copper make up about 15 percent, iron about 50 percent, and sulfur the rest; the iron is removed in a converting furnace, and the sulfides of copper and nickel are separated before being reduced to the metals. Smelting of lead sulfide ores produces a liquid layer of copper sulfide matte that can be decanted, along with slag and speiss, from the lead bullion.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
To make the surface durable, apply matte varnish according to the
  manufacturer's instructions with a foam roller.
The right-hand part looks corrugated, with three alternating pairs of shallow
  matte ridges and grooves.
We watch an episode and build a list of ship shots, view screen shots and matte
The three tiles he showed me were: glossy cream, matte brown and matte tan.
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