MAT (O. Eng. meatt, from late Lat. malta, whence Ital. malta, Ger. and Dan. matte, Du. mat, etc.), an article of various sizes and shapes, according to the purpose for which it is intended, and made of plaited or woven materials, such as coir, hemp, coco-nut fibre, straw, rushes, etc., or of rope or coarse twine. The finer fabrics are known as " matting " (q.v.). Mats are mainly used for covering floors, or in horticulture as a protection against cold or exposure for plants and trees. When used near the entrance to a house for people to wipe their boots on " door mats " are usually made of coarse coco-nut fibre, or india-rubber, cork, or of thickly coiled wire. Bags, rolls or sacks made of matting are used to hold coffee, flax, rice and other produce, and the term is often used with reference to the specific quantities of such produce, e.g. so many " mats " of coffee, rice, etc.
To be distinguished from the above is the term " mat " in glasspainting or gilding, meaning dull, unpolished or unburnished. This is the same as Ger. malt, dead, dull, cf. mait-blau, Med. Lat. mattus, adapted from Persian mat, dazed, astonished, at a loss, helpless, and seen in " mate " in chess, from Pers. shah mat the king is dead.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)