Matawan is a borough in Monmouth County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough's population was 8,810, reflecting a decline of 100 (-1.1%) from the 8,910 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn declined by 360 (-3.9%) from the 9,270 counted in the 1990 Census.
Matawan is part of the Bayshore Regional Strategic Plan, an effort by nine municipalities in northern Monmouth County to reinvigorate the area's economy by emphasizing the traditional downtowns, dense residential neighborhoods, maritime history, and the natural beauty of the Raritan Bayshore coastline.
The Lenape Native Americans called the area "Mechananienk", a Lenape language word meaning "where two rivers come together", which gave rise to the area being called "Matovancons" by Dutch settlers, from which derives the name "Matawan". which may derive from a Lenape word meaning "where two rivers come together". It may also originate from the Southern Unami Matawonge, "bad riverbank" or "bad hill", a possible reference to bluffs along Raritan Bay which were subject to erosion and collapse prior to the construction of a seawall in the 1970s. Another possible source is Matawan, Northern Unami for "bad fog", which may have referred to fog generated on Raritan Bay. Other possible meanings are "magician", "charmed skin" or "it arrives in a lake".
The community was established by Dutch settlers in the 17th century (Matawan celebrated a tricentennial in the 1980s). Scotch-Irish settlers from New Hampshire later named the town New Aberdeen. Neighboring Matawan Township reused the historic name in the 1970s when it changed its name to Aberdeen Township. It was the formation of Matawan Township in 1857 that shifted this area's name from Middletown Point to Matawan.
Matawan was formed as a borough on June 28, 1895, from portions of Matawan Township (now Aberdeen Township), based on the results of a referendum held that day.