late 15c., "any atmospheric phenomenon," from Old French meteore (13c.) and directly from Medieval Latin meteorum (nominative meteora), from Greek ta meteōra "the celestial phenomena, things in heaven above," plural of meteōron, literally "thing high up," noun use of neuter of meteōros (adj.) "high up, raised from the ground, hanging," from meta "by means of" (see meta-) + -aoros "lifted, lifted up, suspended, hovering in air," related to aeirein "to raise" (from PIE root *wer- (1) "to raise, lift, hold suspended").
Specific sense of "fireball in the sky, shooting star" is attested from 1590s. Atmospheric phenomena were formerly classified as aerial meteors (wind), aqueous meteors (rain, snow, hail), luminous meteors (aurora, rainbows), and igneous meteors (lightning, shooting stars). All the other senses have fallen away. When still in space beyond the atmosphere it is a meteoroid; when fallen to earth it is a meteorite. A periodically recurring fall of them (usually associated with a comet) is a meteor shower (by 1853).
"rock or metallic mass of extraterrestrial origin that falls to earth after streaking across the sky as a meteor," 1818, from meteor + -ite. They were known from ancient times, but the idea that some such iron masses or rocks had fallen to earth from the sky attained credence among scientists c. 1800.
"science of the earth's atmosphere, scientific study of weather and climate," especially with a view to forecasting the weather, 1610s, from French météorologie and directly from Greek meteōrologia "treatise on celestial phenomena," literally "discussion of high things," from meteōron "thing high up" (see meteor) + -logia "treatment of" (see -logy).
in anatomy, "main trunk of the arterial system," 1590s, from Medieval Latin aorta, from Greek aorte "a strap to hang (something by)," a word applied by Aristotle to the great artery of the heart, literally "what is hung up," probably from aeirein "to lift, heave, raise," which is of uncertain origin, possibly from PIE root *wer- (1) "raise, lift, hold suspended." Used earlier by Hippocrates of the bronchial tubes. It is cognate with the second element in meteor. Related: Aortal; aortic.
in optics, "point or object from which light radiates," 1714; see radiant (adj.). In astronomy, of meteor showers, "the point in the heavens from which the shooting stars seem to proceed," by 1834, in reference to the great shower of the previous November.
1560s, "of or pertaining to atmospheric phenomena," especially "of or pertaining to weather," from French météorologique or directly from a Latinized form of Greek meteōrologikos "pertaining to the earth's atmosphere, from meteōrologia, literally "discussion of high things" (see meteorology). Related: Meteorologically.