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[meet] /mit/
verb (used with object), meted, meting.
to distribute or apportion by measure; allot; dole (usually followed by out):
to mete out punishment.
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 forms
unmeted, adjective
1. deal, measure, parcel.


[meet] /mit/
a limiting mark.
a limit or boundary.
1275-1325; Middle English < Middle French < Latin mēta goal, turning post
2. bound. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for metes
Historical Examples
  • In fiction coincidence has its metes and bounds beyond which it dare not step.

    From Place to Place

    Irvin S. Cobb
  • The suffering that it metes out to its victims is indescribable.


    William J. Robinson
  • She closes the volume, and, musing, metes him out the hours and days he has to live.

    Lucretia, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • Strange Providence that metes so unequally to one and to another.

    At His Gates, Vol. 1(of 3) Margaret Oliphant
  • Then its metes and bounds were fixed by the fringe of kathekosity which circumscribed it.

    The Mystery of Space Robert T. Browne
  • She metes out justice with an equal hand to all her characters.

    The Ascent of Man Mathilde Blind
  • But what were the metes and bounds of this province which had been so often bought and sold?

  • So we could mark well the metes and bounds of the camp and prick in all the items.

    The Master of Appleby

    Francis Lynde
  • The value of a thing is what it will fetch, no doubt, and yet that is a doctrine which metes out half-justice only.

    The Hills and the Vale Richard Jefferies
  • Do not contend against the great Law which metes out suffering in return for vice.'

British Dictionary definitions for metes


verb (transitive)
(usually foll by out) (formal) to distribute or allot (something, often unpleasant)
verb, noun
(poetic, dialect) (to) measure
Word Origin
Old English metan; compare Old Saxon metan, Old Norse meta, German messen to measure


(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
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Word Origin and History for metes



"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
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