me·​te·​or ˈmē-tē-ər How to pronounce meteor (audio)
: an atmospheric phenomenon (such as lightning or a snowfall)
: any of the small particles of matter in the solar system that are directly observable only by their incandescence from frictional heating on entry into the atmosphere
: the streak of light produced by the passage of a meteor

Examples of meteor in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This occurs when at least 1,000 meteors per hour enter the atmosphere. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 15 Nov. 2023 Brown, an associate professor at Monash University’s School of Physics and Astronomy in Australia, said the reentry of space junk can be confused with meteors, which are usually shorter events. Ellen Francis, Washington Post, 8 Aug. 2023 Meteor showers are best seen under the darkest skies possible, since the quick flashes of meteors can be drowned out by city lights or the light of the moon. oregonlive, 31 July 2023 The best time to look for meteors is in the early morning hours, around 2 to 4 a.m. local time. Tiffany Acosta arizona Republic, The Arizona Republic, 31 July 2023 The Leonids should produce around 10 meteors per hour under the right conditions, according to Royal Museums Greenwich. Stephanie Vermillion, Travel + Leisure, 1 Nov. 2023 The family-friendly comedy follows a group of animals who transform into zombies after their zoo is hit by a meteor. Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter, 30 Oct. 2023 The meteor, which was bright enough for NASA to refer to it as a fireball, eventually disintegrated 22 miles above Pennsylvania in Gnatstown, a town south of Harrisburg. Eric Lagatta, USA TODAY, 5 Sep. 2023 The light can vary in color, but most meteors last only a second or two. Gary Robbins, San Diego Union-Tribune, 9 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'meteor.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English metheour, from Middle French meteore, from Medieval Latin meteorum, from Greek meteōron, from neuter of meteōros high in air, from meta- + -eōros, from aeirein to lift

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of meteor was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near meteor

Cite this Entry

“Meteor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


me·​te·​or ˈmēt-ē-ər How to pronounce meteor (audio)
: one of the small bodies of matter in the solar system observable when it falls into the earth's atmosphere where the heat of friction may cause it to glow brightly for a short time
also : the streak of light produced by the passage of a meteor

More from Merriam-Webster on meteor

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