Etymology
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matte (n.1)

"backing for a picture," 1845, from French; see mat (n.2).

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matte (n.2)

in metallurgy, "impure and unfinished product of the smelting of copper or other ores," 1839, from French matte, from the adjective meaning "dull, dim" (see mat (adj.)).

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Matterhorn 

Alpine mountain, from German Matte "meadow, pastureland" (see mead (n.2)) + Horn (see horn (n.)). So called for its horn-like shape (cut by glaciers in the Ice Ages). The slopes are steep and treacherous; the Matte is for the meadows at its base. The Roman name was Mons Silvius, which might be based on a personal name.

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mat (n.1)

"an article plaited or woven of more or less coarse natural materials (rushes, straw, twine, etc.) used as bedding, floor-coverings, etc.," Old English matte, from Late Latin matta "mat made of rushes" (4c.), probably from Punic or Phoenician matta (compare Hebrew mittah "bed, couch").

Meaning "tangled mass; anything closely set, dense, and thick" is from 1835. Meaning "thin, flat article to be placed under a dish, plate, etc. to protect the table" is by 1800. That of "piece of padded flooring used in gymnastics or wrestling" is attested from 1892; hence figurative phrase go to the mat "do battle" (1910). The Latin word also is the source of German Matte, matze; Dutch mat, Italian matta. French natte "mat, matting" is from Late Latin secondary form natta (compare napkin).

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mead (n.2)

"meadow," Middle English mede, from Old English mæd, Anglian and Kentish med "meadow, pasture," from Proto-Germanic *medwo (source also of Old Frisian mede, Dutch made, German Matte "meadow," Old English mæþ "harvest, crop"), from PIE *metwa- "a mown field," from root *me- (4) "to cut down grass or grain." Now only archaic or poetic.

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meadow (n.)

Old English mædwe "low, level tract of land under grass; pasture," originally "land covered in grass which is mown for hay;" oblique case of mæd "meadow, pasture," from Proto-Germanic *medwo (source also of Old Frisian mede, Dutch made, German Matte "meadow," Old English mæþ "harvest, crop"), from PIE *metwa- "a mown field," from root *me- (4) "to cut down grass or grain." Meadow-grass is from late 13c.

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may (v.1)

Old English mæg "am able" (infinitive magan, past tense meahte, mihte), from Proto-Germanic root *mag-, infinitive *maganan (Old Frisian mei/muga/machte "have power, may;" Old Saxon mag/mugan/mahte; Middle Dutch mach/moghen/mohte; Dutch mag/mogen/mocht; Old High German mag/magan/mahta; German mag/mögen/mochte; Old Norse ma/mega/matte; Gothic mag/magan/mahte "to be able"), from PIE root *magh- "to be able, have power." A present-preterit verb (with can, shall, etc.). Also used in Old English as a "auxiliary of prediction."

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matter-of-fact (adj.)

"consisting of or pertaining to facts, not fanciful or ideal," 1712, from the noun phrase matter of fact "reality as distinguished from what is fanciful or hypothetical," which is originally a legal term (1570s, translating Latin res facti), "that which is fact or alleged fact, that portion of an inquiry concerned with the truth or falsehood of alleged facts," opposed to matter of law. See matter (n.) + fact. Meaning "prosaic, unimaginative, adhering to facts" is from 1787. Related: Matter-of-factly; matter-of-factness. German Tatsache is said to be a loan-translation of the English word.

In law, that which is fact or alleged as fact; in contradistinction to matter of law, which consists in the resulting relations, rights, and obligations which the law establishes in view of given facts. Thus, the questions whether a man executed a contract, and whether he was intoxicated at the time, relate to matters of fact; whether, if so, he is bound by the contract, and what the instrument means, are matters of law. [Century Dictionary]
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matter (v.)
"to be of importance or consequence," 1580s, from matter (n.). Related: Mattered; mattering.
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matters (n.)
"events, affairs of a particular sort," 1560s, from plural of matter (n.).
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