from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A bullfighter who performs the final passes and kills the bull.
  • n. Games One of the highest trumps in certain card games.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The person whose aim is to kill the bull in a bullfight.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The killer; the man appointed to kill the bull in bullfights; a bullfighter; a toreador.
  • n. In the game of quadrille or omber, the three principal trumps, the ace of spades being the first, the ace of clubs the third, and the second being the deuce of a black trump or the seven of a red one.
  • n. The jack of clubs, or any other trump held in sequence with it, whether by the player or by his adversaries.
  • n. A certain game of dominoes in which four dominoes (the 4-3, 5-2, 6-1, and double blank), called matadors, may be played at any time in any way.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A killer; specifically, the man appointed to kill the bull in bull-fights.
  • n. One of the three principal cards in the games of omber and quadrille.
  • n. In the game of solo, the spadella, manilla, or basta (which three are known as the higher matadors), and, if these are all obtained by one side, any one of all lower cards held in uninterrupted sequence in one hand: the latter are known as lower matadors.
  • n. In skat, every trump in unbroken sequence with The highest trump, if in the same player's hand or on the same side as the highest trump. See skat.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the principal bullfighter who is appointed to make the final passes and kill the bull


Spanish, from matar, to kill, possibly from Vulgar Latin *mattāre, to beat senseless, perhaps from Latin mattus, stupefied; see mat2.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Spanish matador ("killer"). Used in the English language as title for a bullfighter, however referred to as a toreador in Spain. (Wiktionary)



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  • 'literally' in OED definition

    April 27, 2011

  • I think it's closer to "killer," which is a bit different.

    It's also the record label of Yo La Tengo, Belle & Sebastian, The New Pornographers and a bunch of other great bands :-)

    September 20, 2007

  • Isn't the literal translation of this word 'murderer' ?

    September 20, 2007