Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
The metre, or meter ( American spelling), (from the Greek noun μέτρον, "measure") is the base unit of length in the International System of Units (SI). The SI unit symbol is m. The metre is defined as the distance travelled by light in a specific fraction of a second.
The metre was originally defined in 1793 as one ten-millionth of the distance from the equator to the North Pole. In 1889, it was redefined in terms of a prototype metre bar (the actual bar used was subsequently changed twice). In 1960, the metre was redefined in terms of a certain number of wavelengths of a certain emission line of krypton-86. In 1983, the current definition was adopted.
The imperial inch is defined as 0.0254 metres (2.54 centimetres or 25.4 millimetres). One metre is about inches longer than a yard, i.e. about inches.
In poetry, metre (meter in US spelling) is the basic rhythmic structure of a verse or lines in verse. Many traditional verse forms prescribe a specific verse metre, or a certain set of metres alternating in a particular order. The study and the actual use of metres and forms of versification are both known as prosody. (Within linguistics, " prosody" is used in a more general sense that includes not only poetic metre but also the rhythmic aspects of prose, whether formal or informal, that vary from language to language, and sometimes between poetic traditions.)
The metre (Am. meter) of music is its rhythmic structure, the patterns of accents heard in regularly recurring measures of stressed and unstressed beats ( arsis and thesis) at the frequency of the music's pulse.
A variety of systems exist throughout the world for organising and playing metrical music, such as the Indian system of tala and similar systems in Arabian and African music.
Western music inherited the concept of metre from poetry (; ) where it denotes: the number of lines in a verse; the number of syllables in each line; and the arrangement of those syllables as long or short, accented or unaccented (; ). The first coherent system of rhythmic notation in modern Western music was based on rhythmic modes derived from the basic types of metrical unit in the quantitative meter of classical ancient Greek and Latin poetry .
Later music for dances such as the pavane and galliard consisted of musical phrases to accompany a fixed sequence of basic steps with a defined tempo and time signature. The English word "measure", originally an exact or just amount of time, came to denote either a poetic rhythm, a bar of music, or else an entire melodic verse or dance involving sequences of notes, words, or movements that may last four, eight or sixteen bars.
The Collaborative International Dictionary
Meter \Me"ter\, Metre \Me"tre\, n. [OE. metre, F. m[`e]tre, L. metrum, fr. Gr. ?; akin to Skr. m[=a] to measure. See Mete to measure.]
Rhythmical arrangement of syllables or words into verses, stanzas, strophes, etc.; poetical measure, depending on number, quantity, and accent of syllables; rhythm; measure; verse; also, any specific rhythmical arrangements; as, the Horatian meters; a dactylic meter.
The only strict antithesis to prose is meter.
A poem. [Obs.]
--Robynson (More's Utopia).
A measure of length, equal to 39.37 English inches, the standard of linear measure in the metric system of weights and measures. It was intended to be, and is very nearly, the ten millionth part of the distance from the equator to the north pole, as ascertained by actual measurement of an arc of a meridian. See Metric system, under Metric.
Common meter (Hymnol.), four iambic verses, or lines, making a stanza, the first and third having each four feet, and the second and fourth each three feet; -- usually indicated by the initials C. M.
Long meter (Hymnol.), iambic verses or lines of four feet each, four verses usually making a stanza; -- commonly indicated by the initials L. M.
Short meter (Hymnol.), iambic verses or lines, the first, second, and fourth having each three feet, and the third four feet. The stanza usually consists of four lines, but is sometimes doubled. Short meter is indicated by the initials S. M.
Metre \Me"tre\ (m[=e]"t[~e]r), n. See Meter.
Etymology 1 n. The basic unit of length in the International System of Units (SI: Système International d'Unités). It is equal to (frac 39 47 127) (approximately 39.37) imperial system inches. vb. (context British rare English) (alternative spelling of meter English) Etymology 2
n. The rhythm or measure in verse and musical composition. vb. (context poetry music English) To put into metrical form.
Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary
chiefly British English spelling of meter (n.); for spelling, see -re.
Usage examples of "metre".
There was simply not the time to cast it into rhyme or metre, to take care with assonance and ambiguity.
A hundred metres ahead lay the twentieth century, the autoroute junction raised on stilts, sloping down into its cloverleaf pattern that allowed the eye, intent upon its tight curve, no leisure for the driver to stare at the countryside.
Heron was walking on ahead of him, preceding him by some fifty metres or so, his long legs covering the distances more rapidly than de Batz could follow them.
I then descended as deeply in the water as I could, the manometer showing thirty metres.
Hanging a metre off the reservoir bed, motionless, trying to outstare a dolphin.
It has sometimes in the end of words a sound obscure, and scarcely perceptible, as open, shapen, shotten, thistle, participle, metre, lucre.
The photon amp showed a monster crab scuttling right at him, metre length of pipe instead of claw.
It can punch through half a metre of solid prestressed concrete without shattering until it hits something soft.
In panic, he had rushed for the kitchen area and had barely enough time to assume a disguise, secreted there, that Katsumata had given him as, a few metres away, masked by a hedge, the Sergeant shoved past the bowing doorman, kicked off his sandals and stomped onto the veranda of the main house.
A couple of metres from the path a gardener servitor was ambling round an old tree stump which was now hidden beneath the shaggy coat of a stephanotis creeper.
Now lit by many flares, it was revealed to be a narrow twisting chasm that stretched away into darkness for several hundred metres.
U-shaped beams that hung from the ceiling, and it stretched for about fifty metres before it stopped just short of a very large recess in the ceiling.
West and his team, stretching upward for maybe 100 metres, ending at the left-hand sentry tower.
If you suspect there may be a lot of rodents, set numerous traps all at once, every metre or so.
This is the eastern quarter, the oldest human settlement on Tropicana, where the palm-thatched bungalows cluster scant metres above the white sands of Almond Beach.