meteor[mēt′ē ər, -ē ôr′]
- The definition of a meteor is a small body of matter from outer space that comes into the atmosphere of the Earth and that looks like a streak of light due to iridescence caused by friction.
A shooting star caused by a small object from outer space entering the earth's atmosphere is an example of a meteor.
A meteor in the sky.
- the luminous phenomenon observed when a meteoroid is heated by its entry into the earth's atmosphere; shooting star; falling star
- loosely a meteoroid or meteorite
- Meteorol. any atmospheric phenomenon, as precipitation, lightning, or a rainbow
Origin of meteorMiddle English ; from Medieval Latin meteorum ; from Classical Greek meteōron, plural meteōra, things in the air ; from meteōros, lifted up, in air ; from meta, beyond (see meta-) + eōra, a hovering in the air (akin to aeirein, to lift up)
- A bright streak of light that appears in the sky when a meteoroid is heated to incandescence by friction with the earth's atmosphere. Also called falling star, meteor burst, shooting star.
- A meteoroid or meteorite.
Origin of meteorMiddle English metheour, atmospheric phenomenon, from Old French meteore, from Medieval Latin meteōrum, from Greek meteōron, astronomical phenomenon, from neuter of meteōros, high in the air : meta-, meta- + -āoros, lifted; akin to āeirein, to lift up; see wer-1 in Indo-European roots.
- (archaic) Any atmospheric phenomenon. (Thus the derivation of meteorology.) These were sometimes classified as aerial or airy meteors (winds), aqueous or watery meteors (hydrometeors: clouds, rain, snow, hail, dew, frost), luminous meteors (rainbows and aurora), and igneous or fiery meteors (lightning and shooting stars [next]).
- A fast-moving streak of light in the night sky caused by the entry of extraterrestrial matter into the earth's atmosphere: A shooting star or falling star.
- (juggling) A prop similar to poi balls, in that it is twirled at the end of a cord or cable.
- (martial arts) A striking weapon resembling a track and field hammer consisting of a weight swung at the end of a cable or chain.
Middle English, from Latin meteorum, from Ancient Greek μετέωρον (meteōron), from μετέωρος (meteōros, “raised from the ground, hanging, lofty”), from μετά (meta, “in the midst of, among, between”) (English meta) + ἀείρω (aeiro, “to lift, to heave, to raise up”).
Original sense of “atmospheric phenomenon” gave rise to meteorology, now restricted to extraterrestrial objects burning up as they enter the atmosphere.