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D1 (based on V1.1 and V1.2)

  • A body of matter that does not have a definite (named/identifiable) shape.

D2 (merged and shortened from V2.1 and V2.2)

  • A measure of the amount of matter of an object.

Definition Variants

V1.1 (Oxford dictionary)

  • A large body of matter with no definite shape.

V1.2 (pick one)

  • see comment below

V2.1 (Oxford dictionary (physics))

  • The quantity of matter which a body contains, as measured by its acceleration under a given force or by the force exerted on it by a gravitational field.

V2.2 (chemistry dictionary)

  • 1) A measure of the amount of matter in an object. Mass is usually measured in grams or kilograms. 2) a measurement of the quantity of matter contained in a particle or body regardless of its location in the universe and the gravitational force applied to it. Mass is constant, while weight is affected by the distance of the object from the center of the earth (or other such body). Mass is not affected by gravity.

Closely related terms

  • For Mass in the sense of D1: Stuff
  • For Mass in the sense of D2: Quantity


  • Note regarding V1.2: there are many papers which take roughly V1.1, but without the 'large' and the 'no definite shape' to be not equating some object and not equating with a quantity of the matter. However, neither of the papers provide a definition and instead illustrate the difference with examples and characteristic features as distinct from objects and count nouns.
  • In short: the term is polysemous and can refer to either the stuff or an amount of it, depending on the context the word is used.
  • RR: why is 'mass' a term? It seems like it is a physics-specific term.