"to allot," Old English metan (West Saxon mæton), "to measure, ascertain the dimension or quantity of; measure out; compare; estimate the greatness of value of" (class V strong verb; past tense mæt, past participle meten), from Proto-Germanic *metana "to measure" (source also of Old Saxon metan, Old Frisian, Old Norse meta, Dutch meten, Old High German mezzan, German messen, Gothic mitan "to measure"), from PIE root *med- "take appropriate measures." Meaning "distribute or apportion by measure" is from c. 1300 and is the surviving sense, used now exclusively with out. Related: Meted; meting.
by c. 1400, "a goal" (a sense now obsolete); late 15c. (Caxton) "a boundary, limit, boundary mark," from Old French mete "limit, bounds, frontier" and directly from Latin mēta "goal, boundary, post, pillar," which is of uncertain origin. Surviving only in plural, in the phrase metes and bounds (Anglo-Latin metis et bundis, early 14c.)
early 14c., mesuren, "to exercise moderation;" mid-14c., "to deal out or divide up by measure," also "to ascertain spatial dimensions, quantity, or capacity of by comparison with a standard;" from Old French mesurer "measure; moderate, curb" (12c.), from Late Latin mensurare "to measure," from Latin mensura "a measuring, a measurement; thing to measure by," from mensus, past participle of metiri "to measure," from PIE root *me- (2) "to measure." The native verb is mete. Intransitive sense of "to be of a (specified) measure" is from 1670s. To measure up "have the necessary abilities" is 1910, American English. Related: Measured; measuring.
"device or instrument for measuring," abstracted 1832 from gasometer (in English from 1790), etc., from French -mètre, used in combinations, from Latin metrum "measure" or cognate Greek metron "measure" (from PIE root *me- (2) "to measure").
English already had meter "person who measures, official who checks that measured quantities are correct" (late 14c., c. 1300 as a surname, agent noun from unrelated mete (v.)), which might have influenced this word. As short for parking meter from 1960. Meter maid "woman police official who patrols metered parking sites" is recorded by 1957, meter reader as a job is by 1872 (originally in reference to gas meters).
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "take appropriate measures."
It forms all or part of: accommodate; accommodation; commode; commodious; commodity; empty; immoderate; immodest; Medea; medical; medicament; medicaster; medicate; medication; medicine; medico; medico-; meditate; meditation; Medusa; meet (adj.) "proper, fitting;" mete (v.) "to allot;" modal; mode; model; moderate; modern; modest; modicum; modify; modular; modulate; module; modulation; mold (n.1) "hollow shape;" mood (n.2) "grammatical form indicating the function of a verb;" must (v.); premeditate; premeditation; remedial; remediation; remedy.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit midiur "I judge, estimate;" Avestan vi-mad- "physician;" Greek mēdomai "be mindful of," medesthai "think about," medein "to rule," medon "ruler;" Latin meditari "think or reflect on, consider," modus "measure, manner," modestus "moderate," modernus "modern," mederi "to heal, give medical attention to, cure;" Irish miduir "judge;" Welsh meddwl "mind, thinking;" Gothic miton, Old English metan "to measure out."
early 12c., from Old English gemot "meeting, formal assembly" (especially of freemen, to discuss community affairs or mete justice), "society, assembly, council," from Proto-Germanic *ga-motan (compare Old Low Frankish muot "encounter," Middle Dutch moet, Middle High German muoz), from collective prefix *ga- + *motan (see meet (v.)). In early 15c. awful moot was used for "the Last Judgment."
Middle English mēte, from Old English mete "food, nourishment, sustenance" (paired with drink), "item of food; animal food, fodder," also "a meal, repast," from Proto-Germanic *mati (source also of Old Frisian mete, Old Saxon meti, Old Norse matr, Old High German maz, Gothic mats "food," Middle Dutch, Dutch metworst, German Mettwurst "type of sausage"), from PIE *mad-i-, from root *mad- "moist, wet," also with reference to food qualities, (source also of Sanskrit medas- "fat" (n.), Old Irish mat "pig;" see mast (n.2)).
Narrower sense of "flesh of warm-blooded animals killed and used as food" is attested from c. 1300 (earlier this was flesh-meat, early 12c.). There is a similar sense evolution in French viande "meat," originally "food." In Middle English, vegetables still could be called grene-mete (15c.) and white meat was "a dairy food or product" (early 15c.). Figurative sense of "essential part" is from 1901.
Dark meat and light meat in reference to the meat of fowls, based on the color when cooked, were popularized 19c., supposedly as euphemisms for leg or thigh and breast, but earliest sources use both sets of terms without apparent embarrassment.
The choicest parts of a turkey are the side bones, the breast, and the thigh bones. The breast and wings are called light meat; the thigh-bones and side-bones dark meat. When a person declines expressing a preference, it is polite to help to both kinds. [Lydia Maria Child, "The American Frugal Housewife," Boston, 1835]
First record of meat loaf is from 1876. Meat-market "place where one looks for sex partners" is from 1896 (meat in various sexual senses of "penis, vagina, body regarded as a sex object, prostitute" are attested from 1590s; Old English for "meat-market" was flæsccyping ('flesh-cheaping')); slang meat wagon "ambulance" is from 1920, American English slang, said to date from World War I (in a literal sense by 1857). Meat-grinder is by 1858 in the literal sense "device for grinding meat;" in the figurative sense it is attested by 1951. Meat-hook is by 1812; in the colloquial transferred sense "arm" it is attested by 1919.