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Match | Multiple meanings

Sports and fire, harmony and similarity – all these are contained in the word match.

• Sports

The 2018 World Cup is currently in full swing, and in fact, the most widely used meaning of match is to do with sports:

A match (noun) is a sports competition in which two people or teams compete against each other in a particular sport.

a football match / a tennis match
Let’s watch tonight’s match on TV.

• Fire

(Noun) A match is a short, thin stick made of wood or cardboard. It is covered with a special chemical at one end that starts to burn when it is rubbed against a rough surface. It is also called a matchstick.

Wooden matches usually come in boxes, whereas cardboard matches mostly come in books; these are often given out as free promotional gifts by restaurants or hotels.
a box of matches

We light a match or strike a match. Both verbs are irregular (although light also has a regular form): light-lit-lit / lighted-lighted; strikestruck-struck.

She lit a match and held it over her head.

• Similarity

(Noun) A match can be someone or something that is equal in quality, strength or speed to another.

He’s met his match: is he going to win?
He’s no match for his opponent.

(Noun) A match can be something similar or suitable for something else.

The carpet is a perfect match for the sofa.


(Noun) A matchmaker is someone who tries to find a person for another to marry or have a romantic relationship with. And hopefully those two will make a good match. 🙂

When something is unmatched it is better or greater than all other things of the same kind.

The richness of Shakespeare’s language is unmatched.

• Harmony, suitability

(Verb) When two things match, they look good together, or are suitable for each other. The photograph at the beginning of the post illustrates this meaning of match. All the fabrics match: they look harmonious together.

The scarf matches her eyes.


The tools and the fasteners don’t match.



(Verb) To match two things means to choose the two most suitable ones. Most language learners out there are familiar with exercise instructions such as

Match the words with the definitions.
Match the adjectives with their opposites.


Do you have a skill or quality that is unmatched?

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