- any person or object that moves, progresses, becomes famous, etc., with spectacular speed.
- (formerly) any atmospheric phenomenon, as hail or a typhoon.
- (initial capital letter) Military. Britain's first operational jet fighter, a twin-engine aircraft that entered service in 1944.
Origin of meteor
Examples from the Web for meteor
A meteor streaked across Russia last Friday, igniting the sky with an ethereal explosion of light.Harlem on ‘Harlem Shake,’ ‘Downton’ vs. ‘Girls’ & More Viral Videos
The Daily Beast Video
February 23, 2013
Astrophysicists say it was a bolide, or a meteor that explodes in the air.
Some industrious Chelyabinsk citizen has already offered to sell a piece of the meteor for a souvenir.
The idea had a short but powerful resonance: why did the meteor explode above ground, people wondered?
This RT video shows an office getting its window blown out by the shockwave from the meteor.Meteor Shower Hits Russia
February 15, 2013
Suppose she lead me now and then in pursuit of a meteor; am not I happy in the chase?Tales And Novels, Volume 8 (of 10)
Then, without delay, he lowered the car into the meteor again.
Good Lord, they must have headed right into a meteor shower.Pirates of the Gorm
The inertia of the meteor has persisted, not as energy, but as a factor of energy.The Machinery of the Universe
Amos Emerson Dolbear
There was but one Bonaparte; that subaltern from Corsica; that meteor.The Bondwoman
Marah Ellis Ryan
- a very small meteoroid that has entered the earth's atmosphere. Such objects have speeds approaching 70 kilometres per second
- Also called: shooting star, falling star the bright streak of light appearing in the sky due to the incandescence of such a body heated by friction at its surface
Word Origin and History for meteor
late 15c., "any atmospheric phenomenon," from Middle French meteore (13c.) and directly from Medieval Latin meteorum (nominative meteora), from Greek ta meteora "the celestial phenomena, things in heaven above," plural of meteoron, literally "thing high up," noun use of neuter of meteoros (adj.) "high up, raised from the ground, hanging," from meta- "over, beyond" (see meta-) + -aoros "lifted, hovering in air," related to aeirein "to raise" (see aorta).
Specific sense of "fireball, shooting star" is attested from 1590s. Atmospheric phenomena were formerly classified as aerial meteors (wind), aqueous meteors (rain, snow, hail), luminous meteors (aurora, rainbows), and igneous meteors (lightning, shooting stars).
- A bright trail or streak of light that appears in the night sky when a meteoroid enters the Earth's atmosphere. The friction with the air causes the rock to glow with heat. Also called shooting star
- A rocky body that produces such light. Most meteors burn up before reaching the Earth's surface. See Note at solar system.
Usage: The streaks of light we sometimes see in the night sky and call meteors were not identified as interplanetary rocks until the 19th century. Before then, the streaks of light were considered only one of a variety of atmospheric phenomena, all of which bore the name meteor. Rain was an aqueous meteor, winds and storms were airy meteors, and streaks of light in the sky were fiery meteors. This general use of meteor survives in our word meteorology, the study of the weather and atmospheric phenomena. Nowadays, astronomers use any of three words for rocks from interplanetary space, depending on their stage of descent to the Earth. A meteoroid is a rock in space that has the potential to collide with the Earth's atmosphere. Meteoroids range in size from a speck of dust to a chunk about 100 meters in diameter, though most are smaller than a pebble. When a meteoroid enters the atmosphere, it becomes a meteor. The light that it gives off when heated by friction with the atmosphere is also called a meteor. If the rock is not obliterated by the friction and lands on the ground, it is called a meteorite. For this term, scientists borrowed the -ite suffix used in the names of minerals like malachite and pyrite.