- the flesh of animals as used for food.
- the edible part of anything, as a fruit or nut: Crack the walnuts and remove the meats.
- the essential point or part of an argument, literary work, etc.; gist; crux: The meat of the play is the jealousy between the two brothers.
- solid food: meat and drink.
- solid or substantial content; pith: The article was full of meat, with few wasted words.
- a favorite occupation, activity, etc.: Chess is his meat.
- Chiefly South Midland and Southern U.S. pork, especially bacon.
- Slang: Vulgar. penis.
- Archaic. the principal meal: to say grace before meat.
- piece of meat, Slang.
- a person regarded merely as a sex object.
- a person, as a prizefighter or laborer, regarded merely as a strong or useful physical specimen.
Origin of meat
- the flesh of mammals used as food, as distinguished from that of birds and fish
- anything edible, esp flesh with the texture of meatcrab meat
- food, as opposed to drink
- the essence or gist
- an archaic word for meal 1
- meat and drink a source of pleasure
- have one's meat and one's manners Irish informal to lose nothing because one's offer is not accepted
Word Origin and History for piece of meat
Old English mete "food, item of food" (paired with drink), from Proto-Germanic *mati (cf. Old Frisian mete, Old Saxon meti, Old Norse matr, Old High German maz, Gothic mats "food," Middle Dutch, Dutch metworst, German Mettwurst "type of sausage"), from PIE *mad-i-, from root *mad- "moist, wet," also with reference to food qualities, (cf. Sanskrit medas- "fat" (n.), Old Irish mat "pig;" see mast (n.2)).
Narrower sense of "flesh used as food" is first attested c.1300; similar sense evolution in French viande "meat," originally "food." Figurative sense of "essential part" is from 1901. Dark meat, white meat popularized 19c., supposedly as euphemisms for leg and breast, but earliest sources use both terms without apparent embarrassment.
The choicest parts of a turkey are the side bones, the breast, and the thigh bones. The breast and wings are called light meat; the thigh-bones and side-bones dark meat. When a person declines expressing a preference, it is polite to help to both kinds. [Lydia Maria Child, "The American Frugal Housewife," Boston, 1835]
First record of meat loaf is from 1876. Meat market "place where one looks for sex partners" is from 1896 (meat in various sexual senses of "penis, vagina, body regarded as a sex object, prostitute" are attested from 1590s); meat wagon "ambulance" is from 1920, American English slang, said to date from World War I (in a literal sense by 1857). Meat-grinder in the figurative sense attested by 1951. Meat-hook in colloquial transferred sense "arm" attested by 1919.