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The Collaborative International Dictionary

matte \matte\ (m[a^]t), a. Having a dull, lusterless surface finish; opposed to glossy or polished; as, a matte photograph; a proof coin with matte figures on a polished field.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

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


variant of mat (n.2).


a. dull, not reflect of light n. 1 (context arts photography English) A decorative border around a picture 2 (context cinema English) A background, often paint or created with computer 3 (context pyrometallurgy English) The molten metal sulfide phases typically formed during smelting of copper, nickel, and other base metals


adj. not reflecting light; not glossy; "flat wall paint"; "a photograph with a matte finish" [syn: flat, mat, matt, matted]

  1. n. a mixture of sulfides that forms when sulfide metal ores are smelted

  2. the property of having little or no contrast; lacking highlights or gloss [syn: flatness, lusterlessness, lustrelessness, mat, matt]


v. change texture so as to become matted and felt-like; "The fabric felted up after several washes" [syn: felt, felt up, mat up, matt-up, matte up, mat]


MATTE is an acronym for Major Accident to the Environment. The term is used in EU major accident prevention legislation, socalled Seveso II. Further guidance and the definition of MATTE is available in "Guidance on the Interpretation of Major Accident to the Environment for the Purposes of the COMAH Regulations" Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions -ISBN 0-11-753501-X June 1999".

Matte (filmmaking)

Mattes are used in photography and special effects filmmaking to combine two or more image elements into a single, final image. Usually, mattes are used to combine a foreground image (such as actors on a set, or a spaceship) with a background image (a scenic vista, a field of stars and planets). In this case, the matte is the background painting. In film and stage, mattes can be physically huge sections of painted canvas, portraying large scenic expanses of landscapes.

In film, the principle of a matte requires masking certain areas of the film emulsion to selectively control which areas are exposed. However, many complex special-effects scenes have included dozens of discrete image elements, requiring very complex use of mattes, and layering mattes on top of one another. For an example of a simple matte, we may wish to depict a group of actors in front of a store, with a massive city and sky visible above the store's roof. We would have two images—the actors on the set, and the image of the city—to combine onto a third. This would require two masks/mattes. One would mask everything above the store's roof, and the other would mask everything below it. By using these masks/mattes when copying these images onto the third, we can combine the images without creating ghostly double-exposures. In film, this is an example of a static matte, where the shape of the mask does not change from frame to frame. Other shots may require mattes that change, to mask the shapes of moving objects, such as human beings or spaceships. These are known as traveling mattes. Traveling mattes enable greater freedom of composition and movement, but they are also more difficult to accomplish. Chroma key techniques that remove all areas of a certain color from a recording - colloquially known as "bluescreen" or "greenscreen" after the most popular colors used - are probably the best-known and most widely used modern techniques for creating traveling mattes, although rotoscoping and multiple motion control passes have also been used in the past. Computer-generated imagery, either static or animated, is also often rendered with a transparent background and digitally overlaid on top of modern film recordings using the same principle as a matte - a digital image mask.

Matte (metallurgy)

Matte is a term used in the field of pyrometallurgy given to the molten metal sulfide phases typically formed during smelting of copper, nickel, and other base metals. Typically, a matte is the phase in which the principal metal being extracted is recovered prior to a final reduction process (usually converting) to produce a crude metal. Mattes may also be used to collect impurities from a metal phase, such as in the case of antimony smelting. Molten mattes are insoluble in both slag and metal phases. This insolubility, combined with differences in specific gravities between mattes, slags, and metals, allows for separation of the molten phases.

Usage examples of "matte".

Het was hem, of er geen denkbeelden in zijn brein waren en of hij hersenloos was weggezonken in een matte rust, in een vermoeidheid, als van een zware lichamelijke inspanning.

On the outside she remained a hundred-meter spheroid, its smoothness broken by airlocks, hatches, boat bays, instrument housings, communications boom, grapples, and micrometeoroid pocks that had given the metal a matte finish.

It had a high albedo and matte finish, so there was no specular reflection.

Only the toasted richness of a Biedermeier tall case clock, the matte black of the wrought iron banister, and the golden flamboyance of a Louis XV giltwood mirror intruded upon the unrelenting whiteness.

The spotlights arrayed along the open trusswork of the dry dock are too bright, and the only thing beyond them is the matte black expanse of space.

Peter had let it go to seed, and the entire plot was choked with weeds and litter: gas cans, rusty nails, a plastic toy truck, the decaying hide of a softball, cardboard scraps, this and more resting upon a matte of desiccated vines.

The flashlight your mother name-tagged with masking tape and packed for you special pans around the institutional room: the drop-ceiling, the gray striped mattress and bulged grid of bunksprings above you, the two other bunkbeds another matte gray that won't return light, the piles of books and compact disks and tapes and tennis gear.

Foliage that appeared to be a vivid green by day now had the matte, washed-out look of construction paper.

Those aboard the massive, matte black spaceship approaching that star system On an elliptical angle had been drawn to investigate it by the various communication signals emanating from the third planet of that star.

Low and streamlined and frenched to the max, matte silver in color, its window glass all smoky somehow so that you couldn't see inside, this car skimmed along on skinny tires colored an improbable gold, making less noise than Esther Williams underwater, but managing to convey the impression of some kind of deep power barely within the driver's control.

Under the layer of half-fused sand and flaking, powdery dust, gleamed a spot of white porcelain, with the matte edge of a break showing why it had been discarded.

She wore tight black glove leather jeans and a bulky black jacket cut from some matte fabric that seemed to absorb light.

It was barely two meters long and eighty centimeters or so wide, matte Imperial green, and icy to his touch with the cold of space.

Copper shadows curling toward the ceiling, stirred by music from the semicircle of matte black speakers surmounting a mammoth karaoke machine.

The hills around the San Luis and Los Banos reservoirs should have been green with winter rains, but they were a matte gray, as if coated with primer before application of a new color.