definition of meteor by The Free Dictionary


a fiery streak in the sky produced by a meteoroid passing through the earth’s atmosphere; a shooting star; something or someone that moves with spectacular speed:

a meteoric rise in popularity
Not to be confused with:meatier

– having more meat; more thought-provoking:

a meatier subject


(mē′tē-ər, -ôr′)n.

1. A bright streak of light that appears in the sky when a meteoroid is heated to incandescence by friction with the earth’s atmosphere. Also called falling star, meteor burst, shooting star.

2. A meteoroid or meteorite.

3. Archaic Any atmospheric phenomenon, such as a rainbow, lightning, or snow.

[Middle English



atmospheric phenomenon

, from Old French


, from Medieval Latin


, from Greek



astronomical phenomenon

, from neuter of



high in the air









; akin to



to lift up

; see



Indo-European roots



(ˈmiːtɪə) n

1. (Astronomy) a very small meteoroid that has entered the earth’s atmosphere. Such objects have speeds approaching 70 kilometres per second

2. (Astronomy) Also called: shooting star or falling star the bright streak of light appearing in the sky due to the incandescence of such a body heated by friction at its surface

[C15: from Medieval Latin meteōrum, from Greek meteōron something aloft, from meteōros lofty, from meta- (intensifier) + aeirein to raise]


(ˈmi ti ər, -ˌɔr)

n. 1.

a. a meteoroid that has entered the earth’s atmosphere.

b. a transient fiery streak in the sky produced by a meteoroid passing through the earth’s atmosphere; a shooting star or bolide.

2. any atmospheric phenomenon, as hail or a typhoon.

[1470–80; (< Medieval Latin meteōrum) < Greek


n. use of neuter of


in midair (compare tà metéōra celestial phenomena) =

met- met

– + -ēoros, adj. derivative of


to raise]

me′te•or•like`, adj.


1. meteorological.

2. meteorology.



1. A bright trail or streak of light that appears in the night sky when a meteoroid enters the Earth’s atmosphere. The friction with the air causes the rock to glow with heat.


A rocky body that produces such light. Most meteors burn up before reaching the Earth’s surface. ♦ A

meteor shower

occurs when a large number of meteors appear together and seem to come from the same area in the sky. See Note at

solar system


Usage The streaks of light we sometimes see in the night sky and call meteors were not identified as interplanetary rocks until the 19th century. Before then, the streaks of light were considered only one of a variety of atmospheric phenomena, all of which bore the name meteor. Rain was an aqueous meteor, winds and storms were airy meteors, and streaks of light in the sky were fiery meteors. This general use of meteor survives in our word meteorology, the study of the weather and atmospheric phenomena. Nowadays, astronomers use any of three words for rocks from interplanetary space, depending on their stage of descent to the Earth. A meteoroid is a rock in space that has the potential to collide with the Earth’s atmosphere. Meteoroids range in size from a speck of dust to a chunk about 100 meters in diameter, though most are smaller than a pebble. Thus if a small or tiny asteroid or fragment of a comet is floating in orbit near the Earth, it is called a meteoroid. When a meteoroid enters the atmosphere, it becomes a meteor. The light that it gives off when heated by friction with the atmosphere is also called a meteor. If the rock is not obliterated by the friction and lands on the ground, it is called a meteorite. For this term, scientists borrowed the -ite suffix used in the names of minerals like malachite and pyrite.


  • astrobleme – A crater caused by a meteor.
  • aerolithology – The study of meteors.
  • meteorite – A meteor that survives and makes it to a planet; types of meteorites include siderites/irons, aerolites/stones, and siderolites (iron/stone).
  • falling star – Another name for meteor or shooting star.


نَيْزَك، شِهاب





stjörnuhrap, loftsteinn

meteorasmeteoritasstaigus ir trumpas




(ˈmiːtiə) noun


also shooting star

) a small mass or body travelling very quickly through space which appears very bright after entering the earth’s atmosphere.

meteoor نَيْزَك، شِهاب метеор meteoro meteor der Meteor meteor διάττων αστέρας meteorito meteoor شهاب سنگ meteori météore מֶטֶאוֹר उल्का meteor meteor meteor stjörnuhrap, loftsteinn meteora 流星 유성체; 운석(隕石) meteoras meteors meteor meteoormeteor, stjerneskuddmeteor هوايى پديده meteoro meteor метеор meteor meteor meteor meteor ดาวตก göktaşı, meteor 流星 метеор شہاب ثاقب sao băng 流星ˌmeteˈoric (-ˈo-) adjective

(of success


) rapid and often only lasting for a short time.

a meteoric rise to fame. meteories, snelle نَيْزَكي، شِهابي стремглав meteórico meteoritský meteorhaft meteorisk μετεωρικός, λαμπρός κι εφήμερος meteórico tähelennuline درخشان و زودگذر meteori- fulgurant מְסַחרֵר वायु-मंडल का, वायु-मंडलीय परिस्थियों पर निर्भर, टूटे सितारों सेबंधी, उल्का के समान, चमकीला, चकाचौंधपूर्ण, तीव्रगामी, तेज़ meteorski meteorikus sebentar leiftur- rapidissimo 流星のような 급속한, 일시적인 staigus ir trumpas žilbinošs; straujš un īslaicīgs begitu cepat bliksemsnellyn, kometaktig meteoryczny لنډ مهاله meteórico meteoric мгновенный meteorický bliskovit meteorski meteorlik, meteor-, komet- ซึ่งประสบความสำเร็จรวดเร็วมาก baş döndürücü hızla 流星的 сліпучий; блиснувший, як метеор فضائے سماوی سے متعلق thuộc sao băng 流星的ˈmeteorite (-rait) noun

a small meteor that has fallen to earth.

klein meteoriet حَجَر نَيْزَكي метеорит meteorito meteorit der Meteorit meteorit μετεωρίτηςmeteorito meteoriit سنگ آسمانی meteoriitti météorite מֶטֶאוֹר टूटा हुआ तारा meteorit meteorkő meteor kecil yang jatuh ke bumi (lítill) loftsteinn meteorite 隕石 운석 meteoritas meteorīts meteor kecil yang jatuh ke bumi meteorietmeteoritt, meteorsteinmeteoryt آسمانى تيګه meteorito meteorit метеорит meteorit meteorit meteor meteorit อุกกาบาต yeryüzüne düşmüş küçük göktaşı 隕石 метеорит شہاب ثاقب کا ٹکڑا thiên thạch 陨石