: food
especially : solid food as distinguished from drink
: the edible part of something as distinguished from its covering (such as a husk or shell)
: animal tissue considered especially as food:
: flesh sense 2b
also : flesh of a mammal as opposed to fowl or fish
: flesh sense 1a
specifically : flesh of domesticated animals
archaic : meal entry 1 sense 1
especially : dinner
: the core of something : heart
: pith sense 2b
a novel with meat
: favorite pursuit or interest
meated adjective
meatless adjective

Example Sentences

The restaurant serves a variety of meats. The real meat of the book is found in its discussion of his economic plan.
Recent Examples on the Web Opt for white turkey meat (such as the breast) and skip the skin, which contains more saturated fat. Kathleen Felton, Health, 9 Mar. 2023 The United States produces more than nine billion chickens per year for meat alone. Emily Anthes, New York Times, 6 Mar. 2023 The wild animal is savagely killed off-camera by humans starved for meat — a disturbing occurrence that may have been more forgivable, given the circumstances, had some of the castaways not celebrated the violence. Sonia Rao, Washington Post, 1 Mar. 2023 Looking like an anteater straight out of Game of Thrones, these scaly-skinned mammals are hunted for meat and prized for their scales, which are used in traditional Chinese practices. Melissa Breyer, Treehugger, 16 Feb. 2023 To make the filling: To grind the pork, make sure the meat is very cold. Susan Selasky, Detroit Free Press, 25 Feb. 2023 In homes where meat and fish were too expensive to procure, pancakes served as culinary staples that could be eaten on the go or taken back to work. Grace Linden, Smithsonian Magazine, 21 Feb. 2023 Other empanadas and meat pies are decent but unremarkable, and the tamales are topped by those at some Latin American bakeries around town. Los Angeles Times, 16 Feb. 2023 In a large saucepan or Dutch oven cook and stir ground beef, green pepper, onion, and garlic until meat is brown and onion is tender; drain off any excess fat. Bhg Test Kitchen, Better Homes & Gardens, 8 Feb. 2023 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'meat.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Middle English mete "food, meal," going back to Old English, going back to Germanic *mati- (whence Old Saxon meti, mat "food," Old High German maz, Old Norse matr, Gothic mats), perhaps going back to Indo-European *mod-i-, derivative of a verbal base *med- "become full," whence Greek mestós "full, satiated"

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of meat was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near meat

Cite this Entry

“Meat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


: something eaten for nourishment
especially : solid food as distinguished from drink
: the edible part of something as distinguished from the covering (as a shell or husk)
walnut meat
: animal and especially mammal flesh used as food

More from Merriam-Webster on meat

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