—n. 1. a piece of fabric made of plaited or woven rushes, straw, hemp, or similar fiber, or of some other pliant material, as rubber, used as a protective covering on a floor or other surface, to wipe the shoes on, etc.
2. a smaller piece of material, often ornamental, set under a dish of food, a lamp, vase, etc.
3. Sports. a. the padded canvas covering the entire floor of a wrestling ring, for protecting the contestants from injury when thrown.
b. a thick pad placed on the floor for the protection of tumblers and others engaged in gymnastic sports.
4. a thickly growing or thick and tangled mass, as of hair or weeds.
5. a sack made of matting, as for coffee or sugar.
6. a slablike footing of concrete, esp. one for an entire building.
7. a heavy mesh reinforcement for a concrete slab.
8. go to the mat, to contend or struggle in a determined or unyielding way: The President is going to the mat with Congress over the proposed budget cuts.
—v.t. 1. to cover with or as if with mats or matting.
2. to form into a mat, as by interweaving.