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Wednesday, November 21, 2012


The word made its appearance in classical Latin meaning “a female animal kept for breeding”. In post-classical Latin from early 3rd century, it bore the meaning of womb. The word derived from māter which meant mother with the ending of “trix”. It is very similar to nūtrīx, nurse, being a derivative of the word nourish.

Womb is the organ that generates and bears life. Thus is not so hard to see why the commonly used meaning of matrix is a place or medium in which something is originated, produced, or developed. This notion of matrix is purely conceived by man. It is a method of measuring. We invented it to comprehend the world and to organize things. It is a kind of structure or rule along which things function rather than the things themselves. In the early beginning of human race, we had no knowledge of the world. But by gathering and organizing information we drew out laws which we believed were constant. And then we imposed these laws on to the world to gain a better understanding of it. Without matrix, everything is in chaos. Time and space would be a matrix of man’s perception of the world. Binary system would be a matrix of counting and calculation. Gravity would be a matrix of the world. As shown in the famous movie “The Matrix”, it is a computer simulation program in which people conduct their life.

This use of the word is also carried into many other areas. Matrix, in geology, refers to an enclosing rock material in which metal, fossil or gem is embedded. In social and political science, matrix can refer to cultural or ideological environment. In business, a matrix organization is a system where the responsibilities of individuals overlap. Instead of having people in charge of their distinct thing, it forms a network which can ensure better quality of work and less amount of error. Matrix, in math, is a method designed to calculate by arranging numbers and symbol into a rectangular table.


1.     "matrix, n.". OED Online. September 2012. Oxford University Press. http://oed.com/view/Entry/115057?rskey=NUhswT&result=1&isAdvanced=false (accessed November 21, 2012).

2.     "mother, n.1 (and int.)". OED Online. September 2012. Oxford University Press. http://oed.com/view/Entry/122640?rskey=Wa6YLV&result=1&isAdvanced=true (accessed November 21, 2012).

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