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From Biology-Online Dictionary | Biology-Online Dictionary
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Origin: OF. Materas, F. Matelas, LL. Matratium; cf. Sp. & Pg. Almadraque, Pr. Almatrac; all from Ar. Ma<tsdot/rah a place where anything is thrown, what is thrown under something, fr.

<tsdot/araha to throw.

1. A quilted bed; a bed stuffed with hair, moss, or other suitable material, and quilted or otherwise fastened.

Alternative forms: matress.

2. (Science: physics) A mass of interwoven brush, poles, etc, to protect a bank from being worn away by currents or waves.