Pronunciation: (mā'triks, ma'-), [key]
pl. ma•tri•cesPronunciation: (mā'tri-sēz", ma'-), [key] ma•trix•es.

1. something that constitutes the place or point from which something else originates, takes form, or develops: The Greco-Roman world was the matrix for Western civilization.
2. Anat.a formative part, as the corium beneath a nail.
3. Biol.
a. the intercellular substance of a tissue.
b. See ground substance.
4. Petrol.the fine-grained portion of a rock in which coarser crystals or rock fragments are embedded.
5. fine material, as cement, in which lumps of coarser material, as of an aggregate, are embedded.
6. Mining.gangue.
7. Metall.a crystalline phase in an alloy in which other phases are embedded.
8. Print.a mold for casting typefaces.
9. master (def. 18).
10. (in a press or stamping machine) a multiple die or perforated block on which the material to be formed is placed.
11. Math.a rectangular array of numbers, algebraic symbols, or mathematical functions, esp. when such arrays are added and multiplied according to certain rules.
12. Ling.a rectangular display of features characterizing a set of linguistic items, esp. phonemes, usually presented as a set of columns of plus or minus signs specifying the presence or absence of each feature for each item.
13. Also called master. a mold made by electroforming from a disk recording, from which other disks may be pressed.
14. Archaic.the womb.

Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.

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