meter

meter1
/mee"teuhr/, n.
the fundamental unit of length in the metric system, equivalent to 39.37 U.S. inches, originally intended to be, and being very nearly, equal to one ten-millionth of the distance from the equator to the pole measured on a meridian: defined from 1889 to 1960 as the distance between two lines on a platinum-iridium bar (the "International Prototype Meter") preserved at the International Bureau of Weights and Measures near Paris; from 1960 to 1983 defined as 1,650,763.73 wavelengths of the orange-red radiation of krypton 86 under specified conditions; and now defined as 1/299,792,458 of the distance light travels in a vacuum in one second. Abbr.: m Also, Brit., metre.
[1790-1800; < F mètre < Gk métron measure]
meter2
/mee"teuhr/, n.
1. Music.
a. the rhythmic element as measured by division into parts of equal time value.
b. the unit of measurement, in terms of number of beats, adopted for a given piece of music. Cf. measure (def. 14).
2. Pros.
a. poetic measure; arrangement of words in regularly measured, patterned, or rhythmic lines or verses.
b. a particular form of such arrangement, depending on either the kind or the number of feet constituting the verse or both rhythmic kind and number of feet (usually used in combination): pentameter; dactylic meter; iambic trimeter.
Also, Brit., metre.
[bef. 900; ME metir, metur, OE meter < L metrum poetic meter, verse < Gk métron measure; r. ME metre < MF < L as above]
meter3
/mee"teuhr/, n.
1. an instrument for measuring, esp. one that automatically measures and records the quantity of something, as of gas, water, miles, or time, when it is activated.
v.t.
3. to measure by means of a meter.
4. to process (mail) by means of a postage meter.
Also, Brit., metre.
[1805-15; see METE1, -ER1]

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Universalium. 2010.