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    meddler (n.) — meiosis (n.)

    meddler (n.)

    late 14c., "practitioner," agent noun from meddle (v.). Meaning "one who interferes with things in which he has no personal or proper concern, a nuisance" is mid-15c.ETD meddler (n.).2

    meddlesome (adj.)

    "given to meddling, apt to interpose in the affairs of others," 1610s, from meddle + -some (1). Earlier was medlous "quarrelsome, meddlesome" (mid-15c.). Related: Meddlesomely; meddlesomeness. "Meddlesome Matty" is the title of a piece by Ann Taylor in "Original Poems for Infant Minds" (1806) about a little girl who, by meddling, breaks her grandmother's eye-glasses and gets a face-full of grandma's snuff.ETD meddlesome (adj.).2

    The book, which also included "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" by Ann's sister Jane, was very popular in its day.ETD meddlesome (adj.).3


    "native or inhabitant of ancient Media," the ancient kingdom south of the Caspian Sea, later a part of the Persian empire, late 14c., from Latin Medus, from Greek Medos "Mede," from the indigenous people-name Medes, which is said to be from the name of their first king (Medos).ETD Mede.2


    famous sorceress, daughter of the king of Colchis, from Latin Medea, from Greek Mēdeia, literally "cunning," related to mēdomai "to deliberate, estimate, contrive, decide," mēdein "to protect, rule over," from PIE root *med- "take appropriate measures."ETD Medea.2


    "military helicopter for taking wounded soldiers to a hospital," 1966, U.S. military, formed from elements of medical evacuation.ETD medevac.2


    Proto-Indo-European root meaning "middle." Perhaps related to PIE root *me- (2) "to measure."ETD *medhyo-.2

    It forms all or part of: amid; intermediate; mean (adj.2) "occupying a middle or intermediate place;" medal; medial; median; mediate; medieval; mediocre; Mediterranean; medium; meridian; mesic; mesial; meso-; meson; Mesopotamia; Mesozoic; mezzanine; mezzo; mezzotint; mid (prep., adj.); middle; Midgard; midriff; midst; midwife; milieu; minge; mizzen; moiety; mullion.ETD *medhyo-.3

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit madhyah, Avestan madiya- "middle," Greek mesos, Latin medius "in the middle, between; from the middle," Gothic midjis, Old English midd "middle," Old Church Slavonic medzu "between," Armenian mej "middle."ETD *medhyo-.4

    media (n.)

    "newspapers, radio, TV, etc." 1927, perhaps abstracted from mass-media (1923, a technical term in advertising); plural of medium (n.) as "intermediate agency," a sense attested in English from c. 1600. Also see -a (2).ETD media (n.).2


    see medieval.ETD mediaeval.2

    medial (adj.)

    1560s, "pertaining to a mathematical mean," from Late Latin medialis "of the middle," from Latin medius "in the middle, between; from the middle," as a noun (medium) "the middle;" from PIE root *medhyo- "middle." Meaning "occupying a middle position, existing between two extremities or extremes" is attested from 1721.ETD medial (adj.).2

    medially (adv.)

    "in a medial or central position," 1804, from medial (adj.) + -ly (2).ETD medially (adv.).2

    medial (n.)

    "a medial letter," 1776, from medial (adj.).ETD medial (n.).2

    median (n.)

    1540s, "a median part," originally anatomical, from Latin medianus "of the middle" (see median (adj.)). Statistical meaning "middle number of a series" is from 1883.ETD median (n.).2

    median (adj.)

    "pertaining to or situated in the middle, occupying a middle or intermediate position," 1590s, from French médian (15c.) and directly from Latin medianus "of the middle," from medius "in the middle" (from PIE root *medhyo- "middle"). Originally anatomical, of veins, arteries, nerves; general use is by 1640s. Median strip "narrow strip (paved or not) between lanes of a divided road" is by 1939, American English.ETD median (adj.).2

    mediant (n.)

    in music, "third note of the diatonic scale" (the one which determines whether the scale is major or minor), 1753, from Italian mediante, from Late Latin mediantem (nominative medians) "dividing in the middle," present participle of mediare "to be in the middle," from Latin medius "middle" (from PIE root *medhyo- "middle"). So called from being midway between the tonic and the dominant.ETD mediant (n.).2

    mediator (n.)

    mid-14c., mediatour, "one who intervenes between two parties (especially to seek to effect a reconciliation)," from Late Latin mediator "one who mediates," agent noun from stem of mediare "to intervene, mediate," also "to be or divide in the middle," from Latin medius "middle" (from PIE root *medhyo- "middle"). Originally applied to Christ, who in Christian theology mediates between God and man. Meaning "one who intervenes between two disputing parties for the purpose of effecting reconciliation" is first attested late 14c. Feminine form mediatrix (originally of the Virgin Mary) from c. 1400. Related: Mediatorial; mediatory.ETD mediator (n.).2

    mediate (v.)

    1540s, "divide in two equal parts" (a sense now obsolete), from Latin mediatus, past participle of mediare "to halve," later, "be in the middle," from Latin medius "middle" (from PIE root *medhyo- "middle"); from 1640s as "occupy a middle place or position." Meaning "act as a mediator, intervene for the purpose of reconciliation" is from 1610s; that of "settle by mediation, harmonize, reconcile" is from 1560s, perhaps back-formations from mediation or mediator. Related: Mediated; mediates; mediating.ETD mediate (v.).2

    mediation (n.)

    late 14c., mediacioun, "intervention, agency or action as a mediator or intermediary," from Medieval Latin mediationem (nominative mediatio) "a division in the middle," noun of action from past-participle stem of Latin mediare "to halve; to be in the middle," from medius "middle" (from PIE root *medhyo- "middle"). Related: Mediational.ETD mediation (n.).2

    mediate (adj.)

    early 15c., "intermediate," from Medieval Latin mediatus, past-participle adjective from Latin mediare "to be in the middle," from medius "middle" (from PIE root *medhyo- "middle"). Related: Mediately.ETD mediate (adj.).2

    medication (n.)

    early 15c., medicacioun, "medical treatment of a disease or wound," from Old French médication and directly from Latin medicationem (nominative medicatio) "healing, cure," noun of action from past-participle stem of medicare, medicari "to medicate, heal, cure" (poetic and Late Latin) from medicus "physician; healing" (from PIE root *med- "take appropriate measures"). Meaning "a medicinal substance or product" is by 1942.ETD medication (n.).2

    medical (n.)

    1917, short for medical examination. Earlier it was colloquial for "a student or practitioner of medicine" (1823).ETD medical (n.).2

    medicate (v.)

    "to treat medicinally," 1620s, a back-formation from medication, or else from Late Latin medicatus, past participle of medicare, medicari "to medicate, heal, cure" (poetic and Late Latin) from medicus "physician; healing" (from PIE root *med- "take appropriate measures"). Related: Medicated; medicating. The earlier verb in English was simply medicinen (late 14c.).ETD medicate (v.).2

    medicable (adj.)

    "admitting of medical treatment, curable, healable," 1610s, from Latin medicabilis "curable," from medicare, medicari "to medicate, heal, cure" (poetic and Late Latin) from medicus "physician, healing" (see medical (adj.)).ETD medicable (adj.).2

    medic (n.)

    1650s, "physician; medical student," from Latin medicus "physician" (see medical (adj.)); modern sense of "serviceman in a military medical corps" is recorded by 1925.ETD medic (n.).2

    medical (adj.)

    "pertaining or relating to the art or profession of healing or those who practice it," 1640s, from French médical, from Late Latin medicalis "of a physician," from Latin medicus "physician, surgeon, medical man" (n.); "healing, medicinal" (adj.), from medeor "to cure, heal," originally "know the best course for," from an early specialization of PIE root *med- "take appropriate measures" (source also of Avestan vi-mad- "physician"). "The meaning of medeor is based on a semantic shift from 'measure' to 'distribute a cure, heal'" [de Vaan]. The earlier adjective in English in this sense was medicinal. Related: Medically.ETD medical (adj.).2

    medicament (n.)

    mid-15c., "medical skill; a medicinal compound, a healing substance," from Old French médicament (15c.) and directly from Latin medicamentum "drug, remedy," literally "means of healing," from medicare, medicari "to medicate, heal, cure" (poetic and Late Latin) from medicus "physician; healing" (see medical (adj.)).ETD medicament (n.).2


    "system for providing public funds to persons needing assistance with medical expenses," 1966; see medical (adj.) + aid (n.). The U.S. medical assistance program was created by Title XIX of the Social Security Act of 1965.ETD Medicaid.2

    Medicare (n.)

    name for a state-run health insurance system for the elderly, 1962, originally in a Canadian context, from medical (adj.) + care (n.). U.S. use is from 1965; the U.S. program was set up by Title XVIII of the Social Security Act of 1965.ETD Medicare (n.).2

    medicaster (n.)

    "a quack, a pretender to medical knowledge or skill," c. 1600, from Latin *medicaster (source also of Italian medicastro, French médicastre, 16c.), from medicus "physician" (from PIE root *med- "take appropriate measures") + -aster. The feminine form is medicastra.ETD medicaster (n.).2


    Italian family that ruled Florence during the 15c., originally the plural of medico "a physician," from Latin medicus (see medical (adj.)). Related: Medicean.ETD Medici.2

    medicinal (adj.)

    "having healing or curative properties, suitable for medical use," mid-14c., from Old French medicinal and directly from Latin medicinalis "pertaining to medicine," from medicina "the healing art, medicine; a remedy" (see medicine). Related: Medicinally.ETD medicinal (adj.).2

    medicine (n.)

    c. 1200, "medical treatment, cure, healing," also (early 14c.) "substance used in treatment of a disease, medicinal potion or plaster," also used figuratively of spiritual remedies, from Old French medecine (Modern French médicine) "medicine, art of healing, cure, treatment, potion" and directly from Latin medicina "the healing art, medicine; a remedy," also used figuratively.ETD medicine (n.).2

    This is perhaps originally ars medicina "the medical art," from fem. of medicinus (adj.) "of a doctor," from medicus "a physician" (from PIE root *med- "take appropriate measures"); though OED says evidence for this path is wanting and suggests derivation directly from medicus. The sense of "practice, theory, or study of curing, alleviating, or preventing disease in humans" is from mid-14c.ETD medicine (n.).3

    The figurative phrase take (one's) medicine "submit to something disagreeable" is recorded by 1865; that of dose of (one's) own medicine is by 1894. Medicine show "traveling show meant to attract a crowd so patent medicine can be sold to them" is American English, 1938. Medicine ball "stuffed leather ball used for exercise" is from 1889.ETD medicine (n.).4

    medicine man (n.)

    "Native North American shaman," by 1801, from adoption of the word medicine in native speech with a sense of "magical influence; something supposed to possess curative, supernatural, or mysterious power." The U.S.-Canadian boundary they called the Medicine Line (attested by 1880), because it conferred a kind of magic protection: punishment for crimes committed on one side of it could be avoided by crossing over to the other. Compare Middle English use of medicine in secondary senses of "moral, psychological, or social remedy; safeguard, defense."ETD medicine man (n.).2

    Hence also medicine bag "pouch containing some article supposed to possess curative or magical powers, worn on the person by native North American people" (1802).ETD medicine man (n.).3


    word-forming element meaning "of or pertaining to medical science; from a medical standpoint; pertaining to medicine and," used as a combining form of Latin medicus "physician; healing" (from PIE root *med- "take appropriate measures").ETD medico-.2

    medico (n.)

    "medical practitioner," 1680s, from Spanish médico or Italian medico, from Latin medicus "physician; healing" (from PIE root *med- "take appropriate measures").ETD medico (n.).2

    medico-legal (adj.)

    "of or relating to law and medicine," by 1824, from medico- + legal.ETD medico-legal (adj.).2

    medieval (adj.)

    "pertaining to or suggestive of the Middle Ages," 1825 (mediaeval), coined in English from Latin medium "the middle" (from PIE root *medhyo- "middle") + aevum "age" (from PIE root *aiw- "vital force, life; long life, eternity").ETD medieval (adj.).2

    medievally (adv.)

    "in a manner reminiscent or characteristic of the Middle Ages," 1844, from medieval + -ly (2).ETD medievally (adv.).2

    medievalism (n.)

    "beliefs and practices characteristic of the Middle Ages," 1846, from medieval + -ism.ETD medievalism (n.).2

    medievalist (n.)

    1847, "proponent of medieval styles, one who sympathizes with the spirit and principles of the Middle Ages," from medieval + -ist. From 1882 as "one versed in the history of the Middle Ages."ETD medievalist (n.).2


    word-forming element meaning "middle," used as a combining form of Latin medius "in the middle, between; from the middle," from PIE root *medhyo- "middle."ETD medio-.2

    mediocre (adj.)

    1580s, "of moderate degree or quality, neither good nor bad," from French médiocre (16c.), from Latin mediocris "of middling height or state, moderate, ordinary," figuratively "mediocre, mean, inferior," literally "halfway up a mountain." This is from medius "middle" (from PIE root *medhyo- "middle") + ocris "jagged mountain" (cognate with Greek okris "peak, point," Welsh ochr "corner, border," Latin acer "sharp;" from PIE root *ak- "be sharp, rise (out) to a point, pierce").ETD mediocre (adj.).2

    As a noun, "mediocre thing or person," by 1834. Middle English had mediokerli (adv.) "mediocrely" (early 15c.).ETD mediocre (adj.).3

    mediocrity (n.)

    c. 1400, mediocrite, "moderation; intermediate state or amount," from Latin mediocritatem (nominative mediocritas) "a middle state, middling condition, medium," from mediocris "of middling height or state, moderate, ordinary," figuratively "mediocre, mean, inferior," literally "halfway up a mountain" (see mediocre). Neutral at first; disparaging sense "quality of being moderate or middling in ability, accomplishment, etc." began to predominate from late 16c. The meaning "person of mediocre abilities or attainments" is from 1690s. Before the tinge of disparagement crept in, another name for the Golden Mean was golden mediocrity.ETD mediocrity (n.).2

    mediocritize (v.)

    "to render mediocre," 1854 (implied in mediocritizing); see mediocrity + -ize. Related: Mediocritized.ETD mediocritize (v.).2

    mediocritization (n.)

    "act or process of rendering mediocre," by 1917 (Will Durant), noun of state or action from mediocritize.ETD mediocritization (n.).2

    meditate (v.)

    1580s, "to ponder, think abstractly, engage in mental contemplation" (intransitive), probably a back-formation from meditation, or else from Latin meditatus, past participle of meditari "to meditate, think over, reflect, consider," frequentative form of PIE root *med- "take appropriate measures." From 1590s as "to plan in the mind," also "to employ the mind in thought or contemplation," especially in a religious way. Related: Meditated; meditating.ETD meditate (v.).2

    meditative (adj.)

    1650s, of persons, "inclined to meditation," from Late Latin meditativus, from meditat-, past-participle stem of Latin meditari "to meditate, think over, reflect, consider," frequentative form of PIE root *med- "take appropriate measures." Related: Meditatively; meditativeness.ETD meditative (adj.).2

    meditation (n.)

    c. 1200, meditacioun, "contemplation; devout preoccupation; private devotions, prayer," from Old French meditacion "thought, reflection, study," and directly from Latin meditationem (nominative meditatio) "a thinking over, meditation," noun of action from past-participle stem of meditari "to meditate, think over, reflect, consider," from a frequentative form of PIE root *med- "take appropriate measures."ETD meditation (n.).2

    The meaning "meditative discourse on a subject" is attested by early 14c.; the sense of "act of meditating, continuous calm thought upon some subject" is from late 14c. The Latin verb also had stronger senses: "plan, devise, practice, rehearse, study."ETD meditation (n.).3


    "the sea between southern Europe and northern Africa," 1590s, earlier Mediterranie (c. 1400), from Late Latin Mediterraneum mare "Mediterranean Sea" (7c.), from Latin mediterraneus "midland, surrounded by land, in the midst of an expanse of land" (but in reference to the body of water between Europe and African the sense probably was "the sea in the middle of the earth"); from medius "middle" (from PIE root *medhyo- "middle") + terra "land, earth" (from PIE root *ters- "to dry").ETD Mediterranean.2

    The Old English name was Wendel-sæ, so called for the Vandals, Germanic tribe that settled on the southwest coast of it after the fall of Rome. The noun meaning "a person of Mediterranean race" is by 1888.ETD Mediterranean.3

    medium (adj.)

    1660s, "average, middling," from medium (n.). The Latin adjective was medius. Meaning "intermediate" is from 1796. As a designation of size or weight, by 1711. As a designation of cooked meat between well-done and rare, it is attested from 1931; earlier was medium-rare (1881).ETD medium (adj.).2

    medium (n.)

    1580s, "a middle ground, quality, or degree; that which holds a middle place or position," from Latin medium "the middle, midst, center; interval," noun use of neuter of adjective medius "in the middle, between; from the middle" (from PIE root *medhyo- "middle").ETD medium (n.).2

    Many of the secondary senses are via the notion of "intervening substance through which a force or quality is conveyed" (1590s) and "intermediate agency, channel of communication" (c. 1600). From the former, via application to air, etc., comes the sense of "one's environment or conditions" (1865). From the latter comes the sense of "a print publication" (1795) which later grew into the meaning in media.ETD medium (n.).3

    In spiritualism, "person who conveys spiritual messages," by 1853. In painting, in reference to oil, watercolor, etc., by 1854. The notion is "liquid with which pigments are ground or mixed to give them desired fluidity." Happy medium is the "golden mean," Horace's aurea mediocritas.ETD medium (n.).4

    medlar (n.)

    small fruit-bearing tree related to the crab-apple, c. 1400 (mid-14c. in reference to the fruit itself, earlier medle, c. 1300), from Old French medler, meslier, variants of mesple, from Latin mespila "fruit of the medlar," from Greek mespilion, a foreign word of unknown origin (Beekes thinks it probably Pre-Greek on account of the suffix).ETD medlar (n.).2

    "When first gathered, it is harsh and uneatable, but in the early stages of decay it acquires an acid flavor much relished by some" [Century Dictionary]. The tree was introduced into southern Europe from western Asia. In Romanic the initial consonant has shifted to n-; as in French nèfle, Spanish nespera, Italian nespolo (see napkin). The Old English name for the fruit was openærs, literally "open-arse," probably so called for the large puckered "eye" between the calyx lobes.ETD medlar (n.).3

    medley (n.)

    c. 1300, "hand-to-hand combat, war, battle," a sense now obsolete, from Old French medlee, variant of meslee, from mesler "to mix, mingle, meddle" (see meddle). From mid-14c. as "cloth made of wools dyed and mingled before being spun," whether of one color or many, but especially pied cloth. The general meaning "a combination, a mixture" is from c. 1400; that of "musical composition or entertainment consisting of diverse parts from different sources" is from 1620s.ETD medley (n.).2

    medulla (n.)

    hindmost segment of the brain, 1670s, from Latin medulla, literally "marrow," also "pith of plants," a word of uncertain origin, but probably from PIE *smer-u- "marrow" (source also of Old Irish smiur, Welsh mer "marrow"), perhaps influenced by medius "middle." The word was used in the Latin senses in Middle English. Related: Medullar; medullary.ETD medulla (n.).2

    medusa (n.)

    "jellyfish," 1758, as genus name, from Medusa, the name of one of the three Gorgons with snakes for hair, whose glance turned to stone whomever looked upon it (attested in English from late 14c.). Her name is from Greek Medousa, literally "guardian," fem. present participle of the verb medein "to protect, rule over" (from PIE root *med- "take appropriate measures"). The zoological name was chosen by Linnæus, suggested by the creature's long tentacles. Related: Medusoid.ETD medusa (n.).2

    meekness (n.)

    late 12c., meknesse, "the virtue of humility;" early 13c., "softness of temper, gentleness;" mid-13c., "forbearance under injuries or provocation;" see meek (adj.) + -ness.ETD meekness (n.).2

    meek (n.)

    "those who are meek," c. 1200, from meek (adj.).ETD meek (n.).2

    meek (adj.)

    late 12c., mēk, "gentle or mild of temper; forbearing under injury or annoyance; humble, unassuming;" of a woman, "modest," from a Scandinavian source such as Old Norse mjukr "soft, pliant, gentle," from Proto-Germanic *meukaz (source also of Gothic muka-modei "humility," Dutch muik "soft"), a word of uncertain origin, perhaps from PIE *meug- "slippery, slimy." In the Bible, it translates Latin mansuetus from Vulgate (for which see mansuetude). Sense of "submissive, obedient, docile" is from c. 1300.ETD meek (adj.).2

    meekly (adv.)

    "in a meek manner, submissively, humbly," c. 1200, from meek (adj.) + -ly (2).ETD meekly (adv.).2

    meerkat (n.)

    late 15c. (Caxton), "monkey," a sense now obsolete, from Dutch meerkat "monkey" (related to Old High German mericazza), apparently from meer "lake" (see mere (n.1)) + kat (see cat (n.)). But compare Hindi markat, Sanskrit markata "ape," which might serve as a source of a Teutonic folk-etymology, though the word was in Germanic before any known direct contact with India. The word was applied to the small South African mammals by 1801, probably via Dutch settlers, who seem to have applied the word to a variety of burrowing animals, perhaps via folk-etymology of a native word.ETD meerkat (n.).2

    meerschaum (n.)

    type of soft white clay, 1784; from 1789 as "tobacco pipe with a bowl made of baked meerschaum clay," from German Meerschaum, literally "sea-foam," so called from its frothy appearance; from Old High German mari "sea" (see mere (n.1)) + scum "scum" (see skim (v.)). A loan-translation of Latin spuma maris, itself said to be a loan translation of Greek halos akhne, from Persian kaf-i-darya.ETD meerschaum (n.).2

    meeting (n.)

    "an action of coming together," Old English meting "assembly," verbal noun from meet (v.). Specific meaning "gathering of people for discussion, etc." is from 1510s. In 17c., in England and Ireland it was applied generally to worship assemblies of nonconformists, but this now is retained mostly by Quakers. In the early U.S., especially in rural districts, it was applied to any assemblage for religious worship.ETD meeting (n.).2

    meet (adj.)

    c. 1300, mēte, "having the right shape or size," from Old English gemæte, Anglian *gemete, "suitable, having the same dimensions," from Proto-Germanic *ga-mætijaz (source also of Old Norse mætr, Old High German gimagi, German gemäß "suitable"), from collective prefix *ga- + PIE root *med- "take appropriate measures." The formation is the same as that of commensurate. Meaning "proper, appropriate" is from early 14c.; that of "fit (to do something)" is from late 14c.ETD meet (adj.).2

    meet (v.)

    Middle English mēten, from Old English metan "to find, find out; fall in with, encounter, come into the same place with; obtain," from Proto-Germanic *motjanan (source also of Old Norse mæta, Old Frisian meta, Old Saxon motian "to meet," Gothic gamotijan), from PIE root *mod- "to meet, assemble." Related to Old English gemot "meeting."ETD meet (v.).2

    By c. 1300, of things, "to come into physical contact with, join by touching or uniting with;" also, of persons, "come together by approaching from the opposite direction; come into collision with, combat." Abstractly, "to come upon, encounter (as in meet with approval, meet one's destiny) by late 14c. Sense of "come into conformity with, be or act in agreement with" (as in meet expectations) is by 1690s.ETD meet (v.).3

    Intransitive sense, of people, "to come together" is from mid-14c.; of members of an organized body or society, "to assemble," by 1520s. Related: Met; meeting. To meet (someone) halfway in the figurative sense "make mutual and equal concessions to" is from 1620s. Well met as a salutation of compliment is by mid-15c.ETD meet (v.).4

    meet (n.)

    1831 in the sporting sense, "a gathering of huntsmen for fox-hunting," from meet (v.). Later of bicyclists gathering for a ride, etc.ETD meet (n.).2

    meeting-house (n.)

    "house of worship," also meetinghouse, 1630s, from meeting (n.) + house (n.).ETD meeting-house (n.).2


    fem. proper name; before the late 20c. rise in popularity of Megan it typically was a pet form of Margaret, and was "used dial. to indicate a hoyden, coarse woman, etc." [OED]ETD Meg.2


    Proto-Indo-European root meaning "great."ETD *meg-.2

    It forms all or part of: acromegaly; Almagest; Charlemagne; maestro; magisterial; magistral; magistrate; Magna Carta; magnate; magnitude; magnum; magnanimity; magnanimous; magni-; Magnificat; magnificence; magnificent; magnify; magniloquence; magniloquent; Magnus; maharajah; maharishi; mahatma; Mahayana; Maia; majesty; major; major-domo; majority; majuscule; master; maxim; maximum; may (v.2) "to take part in May Day festivities;" May; mayor; mega-; megalo-; mickle; Mister; mistral; mistress; much; omega.ETD *meg-.3

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Armenian mets "great;" Sanskrit mahat- "great, mazah- "greatness;" Avestan mazant- "great;" Hittite mekkish "great, large;" Greek megas "great, large;" Latin magnus "great, large, much, abundant," major "greater," maximus "greatest;" Middle Irish mag, maignech "great, large;" Middle Welsh meith "long, great."ETD *meg-.4


    before vowels meg-, word-forming element often meaning "large, great," but in physics a precise measurement to denote the unit taken a million times (megaton, megawatt, etc.), from Greek megas "great, large, vast, big, high, tall; mighty, important" (fem. megale), from PIE root *meg- "great." Mega began to be used alone as an adjective by 1982.ETD mega-.2

    megabuck (n.)

    1946, originally "one million dollars," from mega- in the scientific sense + slang buck (n.) "dollar." A jocular coinage of U.S. scientists working on expensive atomic research.ETD megabuck (n.).2

    megabyte (n.)

    "a million bytes," 1972, from mega- + byte.ETD megabyte (n.).2

    megacity (n.)

    also mega-city, "very large city," by 1958, from mega- + city.ETD megacity (n.).2

    megacephalic (adj.)

    "having an unusually large head," 1876; see mega- + -cephalic.ETD megacephalic (adj.).2

    megacycle (n.)

    "one million cycles" (of oscillation), 1928, from mega- + cycle (n.). Often meaning "one million cycles per second."ETD megacycle (n.).2

    megadeath (n.)

    "the death of one million persons" as a measure of the effectiveness of nuclear weapons, 1953, from mega- in scientific sense ("one million") + death (n.) "a dying." The resulting one million dead bodies would be a megacorpse, according to writings on the topic.ETD megadeath (n.).2

    megahertz (n.)

    "one million Hertz," 1941, from mega- + Hertz.ETD megahertz (n.).2

    megalith (n.)

    huge prehistoric stone, 1853, back-formation from megalithic.ETD megalith (n.).2

    megalithic (adj.)

    "consisting of very large stones," 1836, from mega- "large" + lithos "stone" (see litho-) + -ic. Now usually in reference to large stones in more or less their natural form, set up in ancient times in menhirs, dolmens, rings, etc., especially in Western Europe but also in North Africa and India.ETD megalithic (adj.).2


    word-forming element meaning "large, great, exaggerated," from combining form of Greek megas "large, great" (stem megal-), from PIE root *meg- "great."ETD megalo-.2

    megalocardia (n.)

    "condition of having an abnormally enlarged heart," 1855 (in German by 1826), from megalo- "enlarged, exaggerated" + cardia "heart" (from PIE root *kerd- "heart").ETD megalocardia (n.).2

    megalomania (n.)

    "delusions of greatness; a form of insanity in which the subjects imagine themselves to be great, exalted, or powerful personages," 1866, from French mégalomanie; see megalo- "great, exaggerated" + mania "madness."ETD megalomania (n.).2

    megalomaniacal (adj.)

    1884, from megalomaniac + -al (1).ETD megalomaniacal (adj.).2


    1882 (n.), "one suffering from megalomania;" 1883 (adj.) "afflicted with megalomania," from megalomania (q.v.).ETD megalomaniac.2

    megalopolis (n.)

    "a metropolis; a very large, heavily populated urban complex," 1832, from Greek megas (genitive megalou) "great" (see mickle) + polis "city" (see polis). The word was used in classical times as an epithet of great cities (Athens, Syracuse, Alexandria), and it also was the name of a former city in Arcadia. Related: Megalopolitan.ETD megalopolis (n.).2

    megaphone (n.)

    "funnel-like instrument for assisting hearing or magnifying the voice," 1878, coined (perhaps by Thomas Edison, who invented it) from Greek megas "great" (see mega-) + phone "voice" (from PIE root *bha- (2) "to speak, tell, say"). Related: Megaphonic. In Greek, megalophonia meant "grandiloquence," megalophonos "loud-voiced."ETD megaphone (n.).2

    megapixel (n.)

    by 1977, from mega- + pixel.ETD megapixel (n.).2


    city of ancient Greece between Athens and Corinth, from Greek Megara, apparently the plural of megaron "hall, room, the inner space of a temple," in plural "house, palace," which Beekes says is "[u]ndoubtedly a technical loan from the substrate," perhaps adapted to mega. Its region was Megaris. Related: Megarian.ETD Megara.2

    megaspore (n.)

    "macrospore," 1857, from mega- + spore.ETD megaspore (n.).2

    megatherium (n.)

    type of large, extinct, herbivorous mammal related to the sloth, 1799, a Latin compound from Greek elements; see mega- "great" + ther- "wild beast."ETD megatherium (n.).2

    megaton (n.)

    unit of explosive power equal to one million tons of TNT, 1952, from mega- "million" + ton. Related: Megatonnage.ETD megaton (n.).2

    megavolt (n.)

    unit of measure equivalent to one million volts, 1868, from mega- "one million" + volt.ETD megavolt (n.).2

    megawatt (v.)

    unit of measure equivalent to one million watts, 1885, from mega- "one million" + watt.ETD megawatt (v.).2

    megillah (n.)

    "long, tedious, complicated story," by 1905, from Yiddish Megillah (as in a gantse Megillah "a whole megillah"), literally "roll, scroll," collective name of the five Old Testament books appointed to be read on certain feast days, from Hebrew meghillah, from galal "he rolled, unfolded." The slang use is in reference to the length of the text. The use of the word in English in reference to the holy books is from 1650s.ETD megillah (n.).2


    see migraine.ETD megrim.2

    meh (interj.)

    expression of apathy or indifference, in print by 2003, said to have been used in media from 1992. A Yiddish origin has been proposed.ETD meh (interj.).2

    *mei- (1)

    Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to change, go, move," "with derivatives referring to the exchange of goods and services within a society as regulated by custom or law" [Watkins].ETD *mei- (1).2

    It forms all or part of: amiss; amoeba; azimuth; common; commune; communicate; communication; communism; commute; congee; demean; emigrate; emigration; excommunicate; excommunication; immune; immutable; incommunicado; mad; mean (adj.1) "low-quality;" mew (n.2) "cage;" mews; migrate; migration; mis- (1) "bad, wrong;" mistake; Mithras; molt; Mstislav; municipal; munificent; mutable; mutant; mutate; mutation; mutatis mutandis; mutual; permeable; permeate; permutation; permute; remunerate; remuneration; transmutation; transmute; zenith.ETD *mei- (1).3

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit methati "changes, alternates, joins, meets;" Avestan mitho "perverted, false;" Hittite mutai- "be changed into;" Latin mutare "to change," meare "to go, pass," migrare "to move from one place to another," mutuus "done in exchange;" Old Church Slavonic mite "alternately;" Czech mijim "to go by, pass by," Polish mijać "avoid;" Gothic maidjan "to change."ETD *mei- (1).4

    *mei- (2)

    Proto-Indo-European root meaning "small."ETD *mei- (2).2

    It forms all or part of: administer; administration; comminute; diminish; meiosis; Menshevik; menu; metier; mince; minestrone; minim; minimum; minister; ministration; ministry; minor; minuend; minuet; minus; minuscule; minute; minutia; Miocene; mis- (2); mite (n.2) "little bit;" mystery (n.2) "handicraft, trade, art;" nimiety.ETD *mei- (2).3

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit miyate "diminishes, declines;" Greek meion "less, smaller;" Latin minus, minor "smaller," minuere "to diminish, reduce, lessen;" Old English minsian "to diminish;" Russian men'she "less."ETD *mei- (2).4


    Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to urinate."ETD *meigh-.2

    It forms all or part of: micturate; micturition; missel; mist; mistletoe.ETD *meigh-.3

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit mehati "urinates;" Avestan maezaiti "urinates;" Greek omeikhein "to urinate;" Latin mingere "to urinate;" Armenian mizem "urinate;" Lithuanian minžu, minžti "urinate;" Old English migan "to urinate," micga "urine," meox "dung, filth."ETD *meigh-.4


    "period of rule of emperor Mutsuhito" (1868-1912), which was marked by modernization and Westernization, 1873, from Japanese, said to mean literally "enlightened government."ETD Meiji.2


    also *meig-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to mix."ETD *meik-.2

    It forms all or part of: admix; admixture; immiscible; mash; meddle; medley; melange; melee; mestizo; metis; miscegenation; miscellaneous; miscible; mix; mixo-; mixture; mustang; pell-mell; promiscuous.ETD *meik-.3

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit misrah "mixed;" Greek misgein, mignynai "to mix, mix up, mingle; to join, bring together; join (battle); make acquainted with;" Old Church Slavonic mešo, mesiti "to mix," Russian meshat, Lithuanian maišau, maišyti "to mix, mingle," Welsh mysgu "to mix."ETD *meik-.4

    mein (n.)

    "Chinese wheat flour noodles" (in lo mein, chow mein, etc.), 1934, from Chinese, literally "wheat flour."ETD mein (n.).2

    meiosis (n.)

    in biology, "division of a cell nucleus," 1905, from Greek meiosis "a lessening," from meioun "to lessen," from meion "less," from PIE root *mei- (2) "small."ETD meiosis (n.).2

    Earlier (1580s) it was a rhetorical term, a figure of speech "weak or negative expression used for a positive and forcible one, so that it may be made all the more emphatic," as when one says "not bad" meaning "very good" or "don't mind if I do" meaning "I really would like to," or this example from "Mark Twain":ETD meiosis (n.).3

    Related: meiotic; meiotically.ETD meiosis (n.).4

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