The term “material” comes from the Latin word “materialis,” which means “of matter” or “material.” This is derived from the Latin word “materia,” meaning “substance” or “matter.”

1. Proto-Indo-European (PIE)

The PIE root “meh₂-” means “to measure” or “to cut” and is also associated with “māter” meaning “mother,” reflecting the concept of the source or substance from which something is made.

2. Latin

From the PIE root, the Latin word “materia” developed, meaning “substance,” “material,” or “matter.” The adjective “materialis” was formed to mean “of matter” or “material.”

3. Old French (c. 9th to 14th century CE)

The Latin term “materialis” evolved into Old French “materiel,” meaning “material” or “relating to matter.”

4. Middle English (c. 11th to 15th century CE)

The Old French “materiel” was adopted into Middle English as “material,” meaning “physical substance” or “something composed of matter.”

5. Modern English (from 15th century CE to present)

The term “material” evolved into its current form and pronunciation, referring to the substance or substances from which a thing is made or can be made. It can also mean “pertaining to physical matter” or “relevant and significant.”

The word “material” reflects the concept of physical substance used to make things, highlighting its importance in various fields such as science, construction, and manufacturing. It also encompasses broader meanings related to significance and relevance in different contexts.