Definition of meat in US English:



  • 1The flesh of an animal (especially a mammal) as food.

    ‘pieces of meat’
    ‘place meat and poultry in the refrigerator immediately’
    as modifier ‘meat sandwiches’
    ‘assorted meats’
    • ‘A self-service salad bar is packed with a variety of fresh, organic foods, salads, fish, meats, sauces and dips.’
    • ‘An hour or two later she pulled out some dried fruit and smoked meat for lunch.’
    • ‘Cleaning, cutting and grinding meats and vegetables can take an entire morning, just for preparing the ingredients for a simple meal.’
    • ‘You don't have to be a master chef in order to cook meats properly.’
    • ‘Preparing bison meat is comparable to preparing other lean meats.’
    • ‘They even took a good portion of the fancier meats like mutton, quail, and deer.’
    • ‘But they did encourage imports of meat, fruit, vegetables, and wine.’
    • ‘His group wanted to find out why some meats become more tender while others stay too tough.’
    • ‘When she investigated, she discovered a leather pouch half filled with dried meat and fruit.’
    • ‘They also spend more on staples such as meat, fruit, cereals and bakery products than the average American household.’
    • ‘Sarah sauntered over to pick up the dish of cold meats and ate in silence.’
    • ‘He could smell the meats and the foods cooking on the hot plates above him, and he felt his stomach growl.’
    • ‘The principal meats were pork, beef, mutton, and sometimes freshwater fish taken from the river.’
    • ‘A giant wooden table was there, filled with bountiful fruits and meat.’
    • ‘The highly processed food and low-quality meats affect the health, both physical and mental, of everyone here.’
    • ‘The meats consisted of soft shelled crab covered in spices, tender roast beef and chicken.’
    • ‘They had bread, fruits, meat, butter, water, milk and even some cake.’
    • ‘Beef's share of total meats consumed recovered in 1997 and was stable in 1998.’
    • ‘Fatty cuts of meat and processed meats are among meats high in saturated fat.’
    • ‘The table was covered with meats from many different kinds of animals, all smoked and juicy.’
    flesh, muscle
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 The flesh of a person's body.
      ‘this'll put meat on your bones!’
      • ‘There was no meat in his flesh: it might as well be bones.’
      • ‘I never had much meat on my behind, my body was born to move.’
      • ‘Women who are underweight are much more likely than women with more meat on their bones to say that they prefer shopping with their friends, the survey finds.’
      • ‘But they have to be real people, with names, and meat on their bones.’
      • ‘She was slender but she had meat on her bones, unlike some of the supermodels he had seen.’
      • ‘Considering how important Madsen is to the story, I'd have liked to see more meat on her bones.’
      • ‘You really need to get some meat on your bones, you know.’
      • ‘Raula had meat on her bones, so she was not knocked down.’
      • ‘These were substantial women with meat on their bones.’
      • ‘His arms and legs look like there's no meat left on them, just muscle and bone.’
      • ‘The little boy, who was no more than twelve or so years old, was a scarecrow-like kid with more meat in his fingernails than his bones.’
      • ‘She had been here a month and almost nothing had changed except that she had more meat clinging to her bones.’
      • ‘Throughout the course of his life, there had never been more meat than was necessary on Cyprus' bones.’
      • ‘Where once his frame seemed to safeguard her, she now felt that she had more meat on her body than he did.’
      • ‘Maeve was thankful though that he had some meat on his body even though it was little and he always looked deathly sick.’
      • ‘He knew of the boy's poor eating habits and was obviously trying to help get some meat on his bones in a backhanded way.’
      • ‘I like women with some meat on their bones.’
      • ‘His body had practically no meat on his bones, but he walked with enough spring in his step for a youth.’
      • ‘Not only was she getting some meat on her bones from Dominick's hearty cooking, but she was also learning about the area.’
      • ‘He is very thin and Matka says the meat on his bones is all muscle.’
      flesh, muscle
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    2. 1.2North American The edible part of fruits or nuts.
      • ‘Greedily he bit into the flesh of the fruit, the meat bursting into liquid.’
      • ‘Her face was screwed up in a comical expression of extreme disgust that soon changed to a sheepish grin as she saw that the fruit's meat lay exposed just under the rind.’
    3. 1.3the meat of The essence or chief part of something.
      ‘he did the meat of the climb on the first day’
      • ‘Disc Two is where the meat of the supplements is featured.’
      • ‘They are dialogue-heavy, but they are laying the groundwork for the real meat of the film.’
      substance, pith, marrow, heart, kernel, core, nucleus, nub
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  • 2archaic Food of any kind.

    food, nourishment, sustenance, provisions, rations, fare, foodstuff, foodstuffs, nutriment, daily bread, feed
    View synonyms


  • be meat and drink to

    • 1Be a source of great pleasure to.

      ‘meat and drink to me, this life is!’
    • 2Be a routine matter or task for.

      ‘he should be meat and drink to the English defense’
      • ‘The large number of statistics will, of course, be meat and drink to the Formula One fanboys at which this tome is mainly targeted.’
      • ‘That would be meat and drink to a side of Drighlington's standing.’
      • ‘This task you have set is meat and drink to me, Silver, let me be.’
      • ‘Conclusions like this will be meat and drink to undergraduates.’
      • ‘Such a takeover would be meat and drink to leveraged buyout merchants like Valentia or e-Island consortia.’
  • meat and potatoes

    • Ordinary but fundamental things; basic ingredients.

      ‘the club's meat and potatoes remains blues performers’
      • ‘The meat and potatoes of any platforming game, the game's puzzles, are fairly standard when compared to other games.’
      • ‘The whole point of the exercise, of course, is to get to the meat and potatoes of the tale: The war between man and machine.’
      • ‘These ideas, along with more overt forms of discrimination, are the meat and potatoes of this film.’
      • ‘Before getting into the meat and potatoes of the story, I should explain a little about myself.’
      • ‘In other words, skip through the bits to get to the meat and potatoes of this disc: the interview segments.’
      • ‘Of course, the meat and potatoes of the game are its many quests and the often-connected spells that Harry acquires as a result.’
      • ‘So now, we get down to the meat and potatoes of his problem.’
      • ‘Of course the real meat and potatoes here is the gameplay.’
      • ‘Nearly half the movie transpires before we get to the meat and potatoes of the gunplay.’
      • ‘An article like the one you are reading is the meat and potatoes of blogs.’
  • one man's meat is another man's poison

    • proverb Things liked or enjoyed by one person may be distasteful to another.

      • ‘It cuts both ways and one man's meat is another man's poison.’
      • ‘It is not so much that one man's meat is another man's poison as it is that one man's poison is another man's poison.’
      • ‘These very different concepts require very different musical interpretations, and one man's meat is another man's poison.’


Old English mete ‘food’ or ‘article of food’ (as in sweetmeat), of Germanic origin.