Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A bright trail or streak 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.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. 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.
  • n. A prop similar to poi balls, in that it is twirled at the end of a cord or cable.
  • n. A striking weapon resembling a track and field hammer consisting of a weight swung at the end of a cable or chain.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Any phenomenon or appearance in the atmosphere, as clouds, rain, hail, snow, etc.
  • n. Specif.: A transient luminous body or appearance seen in the atmosphere, or in a more elevated region.
  • n. A mass of stone or other substance which sometimes falls to the earth from space beyond the moon, burning up from atomospheric friction and creating a brilliant but usually very brief trail of light in the atmosphere; also called a shooting star.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Any atmospheric phenomenon.
  • n. Specifically A transient fiery or luminous body seen in or through the atmosphere, usually in its more elevated region: a shooting-star. If it reaches the surface of the earth, it is called a meteorite, formerly aërolite, and also (very rarely) uranolite.
  • n. A small body moving in space, and of the same nature as those which become visible by encountering our atmosphere.
  • n. An abbreviation of meteorology, meteorological.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. (astronomy) any of the small solid extraterrestrial bodies that hits the earth's atmosphere
  • n. a streak of light in the sky at night that results when a meteoroid hits the earth's atmosphere and air friction causes the meteoroid to melt or vaporize or explode

Etymologies

Middle 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.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Of Middle English origin, derived from the Latin meteorum, from the Ancient Greek μετέωρον (meteōron), from μετέωρος (meteōros, "raised from the ground, hanging, lofty"), from μετά (meta, "in the midst of, among, between") + ἀείρω (aeiro, "to lift, to heave, to raise up"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The term meteor shower is somewhat misleading, because the streaks of light are generally caused by space debris no bigger than grains of sand, which hit and then burn up in the

    Ottawa Sun

  • The term meteor for what is usually called a shooting star bears an unfortunate resemblance to the term meteorology, the science of weather and weather forecasting.

    infoplease - Daily Almanac

  • In Meteor, a giant meteor is hurtling toward the earth threatening to destroy it (been there, done that).

    Schedule Update: Kings Debuts on Sunday; NBC Announces Merlin, The Listener and 2 Minis for the Summer

  • Not only that, but an antimatter meteor from the Lucifer system struck Earth, wiped out the dinosaurs, allowed mammals to find their niche, and produced humans -- in other words, Lucifer brought about original sin.

    Archive 2007-02-01

  • Every 33 years, the Leonids put on a truly spectacular display of more than a thousand meteors per hour in what is known as a meteor storm.

    Yahoo! News: Business - Opinion

  • Our joys were dearer because we saw their end; they were keener because we felt, to its fullest extent, their value; they were purer because their essence was sympathy -- as a meteor is brighter than a star, did the felicity of this winter contain in itself the extracted delights of a long, long life.

    II.8

  • Finally, sit back and enjoy the show as bits of leftover comet burn up in our atmosphere, creating the celestial displays that we call meteor showers.

    RedOrbit News - Technology

  • Whether Godzilla’s attacking, a meteor is about to hit Metropolis or every car in town has mysteriously turned bright pink, a journalist will have something to do.

    Superhero Nation: how to write superhero novels and comic books » Common Superhero Day Jobs, Part 1

  • Most eccentric design move of the day was Art Center's decision to build its "meteor" - potatoes and tennis balls flung into the air - catcher by laying duct tape sticky side up on the field and then applying the cloth to it rather than vice versa, as every other team did.

    Pasadena Star-News Most Viewed

  • s that land like meteors in meteor looking space craft [It Came from Outer Space, 1953].

    Does Golden Age Science Fiction Suck?

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.