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From Biology-Online Dictionary | Biology-Online Dictionary
1. (Science: chemistry) a partly reduced copper sulphide, obtained by alternately roasting and melting copper ore in separating the metal from associated iron ores, and called coarse metal, fine metal, etc, according to the grade of fineness. On the exterior it is dark brown or black, but on a fresh surface is yellow or bronzy in colour.
2. A dead or dull finish, as in gilding where the gold leaf is not burnished, or in painting where the surface is purposely deprived of gloss.
Origin: f. Matte; cf. F. Mat, masc, matte, fem, faint, dull, dim; said of metals. See mate checkmate.