Matter Definition and Examples

What Is Matter?

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Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Matter Definition and Examples." ThoughtCo, Apr. 11, 2017, thoughtco.com/definition-of-matter-and-examples-604565. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2017, April 11). Matter Definition and Examples. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/definition-of-matter-and-examples-604565 Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Matter Definition and Examples." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/definition-of-matter-and-examples-604565 (accessed October 24, 2017).
Atom
An atom is a unit of matter. KTSDESIGN/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Getty Images

There are many possible definitions for matter. In science, matter is the term for any type of material. Matter is anything that has mass and takes up space. At a minimum, matter requires at least one subatomic particle, although most matter consists of atoms. The word "matter" is sometimes used to refer to a pure substance.

Examples of Matter

  • Proton
  • Atoms (e.g., a helium atom)
  • Molecules (e.g., water, sugar)
  • Compounds (e.g., table salt, silicon dioxide)
  • Cat
  • Tree
  • House
  • Computer

Examples That Are Not Matter

Not everything we can perceive consists of matter. Examples of things that aren't matter include:

  • Photons (light)
  • Heat
  • Thoughts
  • Microwaves
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mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Matter Definition and Examples." ThoughtCo, Apr. 11, 2017, thoughtco.com/definition-of-matter-and-examples-604565. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2017, April 11). Matter Definition and Examples. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/definition-of-matter-and-examples-604565 Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Matter Definition and Examples." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/definition-of-matter-and-examples-604565 (accessed October 24, 2017).