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verb (used with object), met·ed, met·ing.
  1. to distribute or apportion by measure; allot; dole (usually followed by out): to mete out punishment.
  2. Archaic. to measure.

Origin of mete1

before 900; Middle English; Old English metan; cognate with Dutch meten, Old Norse meta, Gothic mitan, German messen to measure, Greek mḗdesthai to ponder
Related formsun·met·ed, adjective


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1. deal, measure, parcel.


  1. a limiting mark.
  2. a limit or boundary.

Origin of mete2

1275–1325; Middle English < Middle French < Latin mēta goal, turning post


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2. bound.


  1. metallurgical engineer.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for mete


verb (tr)
  1. (usually foll by out) formal to distribute or allot (something, often unpleasant)
verb, noun
  1. poetic, dialect (to) measure

Word Origin

Old English metan; compare Old Saxon metan, Old Norse meta, German messen to measure


  1. rare a mark, limit, or boundary (esp in the phrase metes and bounds)

Word Origin

C15: from Old French, from Latin mēta goal, turning post (in race)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for mete


"to allot," Old English metan "to measure, mete out; compare, estimate" (class V strong verb; past tense mæt, past participle meten), from Proto-Germanic *metanan (cf. Old Saxon metan, Old Frisian, Old Norse meta, Dutch meten, Old High German mezzan, German messen, Gothic mitan "to measure"), from PIE *med- "to take appropriate measures" (see medical). Used now only with out. Related: Meted; meting.


"boundary," now only in phrase metes and bounds, late 15c., from Old French mete "limit, bounds, frontier," from Latin meta "goal, boundary, post, pillar."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper