a large pad for supporting the reclining body, used as or on a bed, consisting of a quilted or similarly fastened case, usually of heavy cloth, that contains hair, straw, cotton, foam rubber, etc., or a framework of metal springs.
a mat woven of brush, poles, or similar material, used to prevent erosion of the surface of dikes, jetties, embankments, dams, etc.
a layer of concrete placed on bare ground, as to provide a footing; mat.
a layer of any material used to cushion, protect, reinforce, or the like.

1250–1300; Middle English materas < Old French < Italian materasso < Arabic maṭraḥ mat, cushion Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
mattress (ˈmætrɪs)
1.  a large flat pad with a strong cover, filled with straw, foam rubber, etc, and often incorporating coiled springs, used as a bed or as part of a bed
2.  Also called: Dutch mattress a woven mat of brushwood, poles, etc, used to protect an embankment, dyke, etc, from scour
3.  Sometimes shortened to: mat a concrete or steel raft or slab used as a foundation or footing
4.  a network of reinforcing rods or expanded metal sheeting, used in reinforced concrete
5.  civil engineering another name for blinding
[C13: via Old French from Italian materasso, from Arabic almatrah place where something is thrown]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

late 13c., from O.Fr. materas, from It. materasso, from M.L. matracium, borrowed in Sicily from Arabic al-matrah "the cushion" (cf. Sp. almadraque "mattress"), lit. "the thing thrown down," from taraha "he threw (down)."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Inside, a raised platform holds a cushy foam mattress topped with a featherbed.
Nearby is a rumpled mattress where he sleeps when felled by exhaustion.
Saving money under a mattress turns into capitalism once the saver uses that
  money to start a business.
The year in college where my bed was a mattress on a ledge in a window nook in
  a finished attic.
Images for mattress
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