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From Middle English mete, from Old English mete (food), from Proto-West Germanic *mati, from Proto-Germanic *matiz (food), from Proto-Indo-European *meh₂d- (to drip, ooze; grease, fat). Cognate with West Frisian mete, Old Saxon meti, Old High German maz (food), Icelandic matur, Swedish mat, Gothic 𐌼𐌰𐍄𐍃 (mats).

A -ja- derivation from the same base is found in Middle Dutch and Middle Low German met (lean pork), from which Dutch met (minced pork) and German Mett (minced meat) derive, respectively. Compare also Old Irish mess (animal feed) and Welsh mes (acorns), English mast (fodder for swine and other animals), which are probably from the same root.



meat (countable and uncountable, plural meats)

  1. (uncountable) The flesh (muscle tissue) of an animal used as food. [from 14th c.]
    A large portion of domestic meat production comes from animals raised on factory farms.
    The homesteading teenager shot a deer to supply his family with wild meat for the winter.
    • 1983, Richard Ellis, The Book of Sharks, Knopf, →ISBN, page 144:
      In many parts of the world, shark meat is an acceptable and desirable form of protein.
    • 2010 October 19, Andy Atkins, “Debate on meat-eating does not cut the mustard”, in The Guardian[1]:
      While people who eat no meat at all are identified and identifiable as vegetarians, there is no commonly accepted term for people who eat it only a couple of times a week and are selective about its quality.
  2. (countable) A type of meat, by anatomic position and provenance. [from 16th c.]
    The butchery's profit rate on various meats varies greatly.
  3. (now archaic, dialectal) Food, for animals or humans, especially solid food. See also meat and drink. [from 8th c.]
  4. (now rare) A type of food, a dish. [from 9th c.]
  5. (archaic) A meal. [from 9th c.]
  6. (obsolete) Meal; flour.
  7. (uncountable) Any relatively thick, solid part of a fruit, nut etc. [from 15th c.]
    The apple looked fine on the outside, but the meat was not very firm.
    • 1954, Cothburn O'Neal, The Dark Lady, page 12:
      She took her spoon and stirred the melted butter into the yellow meat of the yam.
  8. (slang, vulgar) A penis. [from 16th c.]
    • 1993, Nancy Friday, Women on top: how real life has changed women's sexual fantasies, page 538:
      He sits me on the floor (the shower is still beating down on us). He lays me down and slides his huge meat into me.
    • 2006, John Patrick, Play Hard, Score Big, page 54:
      Just the tight, hot caress of his bowels surrounding my meat gave me pleasures I had only dreamed of before that day.
    • 2011, Wade Wright, Two Straight Guys, page 41:
      Both men were completely, and very actively into this face fucking! Suddenly Bill pulled off of Jim's meat and said,
  9. (colloquial) The best or most substantial part of something. [from 16th c.]
    We recruited him right from the meat of our competitor.
    • 1577, Gerald Eades Bentley, The Arte of Angling:
      [] it is time to begin "A Dialogue between Viator and Piscator," which is the meat of the matter.
  10. (sports) The sweet spot of a bat or club (in cricket, golf, baseball etc.). [from 20th c.]
    He hit it right on the meat of the bat.
  11. (slang) A meathead.
    Throw it in here, meat.
  12. (Australian Aboriginal) A totem, or (by metonymy) a clan or clansman which uses it.
    • 1949, Vol.XX, Oceania:
      When a stranger comes to an aboriginal camp or settlement in north-western NSW, he is asked by one of the older aborigines: "What meat (clan) are you?"
    • 1973, M. Fennel, A. Grey, Nucoorilma:
      Granny Sullivan was ‘dead against’ the match at first because they did not know "what my meat was and because I was a bit on the fair side."
    • 1977, A. K. Eckermann, Group Organisation and Identity:
      Some people maintained that she was "sung" because her family had killed or eaten the "meat" (totem) of another group.
    • 1992, P. Taylor, Tell it Like it Is:
      Our family [] usually married the red kangaroo "meat".
    • 1993, J. Janson, Gunjies
      That’s a beautiful goanna. []. He’s my meat, can’t eat him.

Usage notes[edit]

  • The sense "flesh of an animal used as food" is often understood to exclude fish and other seafood. The exclusion of poultry from the category of meat has become outdated.



Derived terms[edit]


  • Sranan Tongo: meti


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.





  1. third-person singular present active indicative of meō



Borrowed from French méat, from Latin meatus.


meat n (plural meaturi)

  1. meatus