AskDefine | Define meat

Dictionary Definition



1 the flesh of animals (including fishes and birds and snails) used as food
2 the inner and usually edible part of a seed or grain or nut or fruit stone; "black walnut kernels are difficult to get out of the shell" [syn: kernel]
3 the choicest or most essential or most vital part of some idea or experience; "the gist of the prosecutor's argument"; "the heart and soul of the Republican Party"; "the nub of the story" [syn: kernel, substance, core, center, essence, gist, heart, heart and soul, inwardness, marrow, nub, pith, sum, nitty-gritty]

User Contributed Dictionary

rfc Translations tables








  1. Food that comes from the muscle or other part of an animal.
  2. A type of meat.
  3. Any sort of flesh.
    The apple looked fine on the outside, but the meat was not very firm.
  4. Volume or substance
    If the assembly is too flexible, we could add some more meat to the supports to stiffen it up.
  5. The best part of something
    We recruited him right from the meat of our competitor.
  6. The sweet spot
    He hit it right on the meat of the bat.
  7. A meathead
    Throw it in here, meat.
  8. In the context of "Australian Aboriginal": A totem
    • 1949, Oceania, Vol. XX
      When a stranger comes to an aboriginal camp or settlement in north-western NSW, he is asked by one of the older aborigines: "What meat (clan) are you?"
    • 1973, M. Fennel & A. Grey, Nucoorilma
      Granny Sullivan was ‘dead against’ the match at first because they did not know "what my meat was and because I was a bit on the fair side."
    • 1977, A. K. Eckermann, Group Organisation and Identity
      Some people maintained that she was "sung" because her family had killed or eaten the "meat" (totem) of another group.
    • 1992, P. Taylor Tell it Like it Is
      Our family […] usually married the red kangaroo "meat".
    • 1993, J. Janson, Gunjies
      That’s a beautiful goanna. […]. He’s my meat, can’t eat him.


food which comes from muscle
type of meat
any sort of flesh
volume or substance
  • Finnish: tavara
  • French: viande
  • Swahili: nyama (noun 9/10)
best part of something
  • Finnish: ydin
sweet spot
  • Finnish: läskipää
  • Finnish: heimo
checktrans-top translations to be checked

Extensive Definition

Meat, in its broadest definition, is food. In modern English usage, most often it refers to animal tissue used as food, mostly skeletal muscle and associated fat, but it may also refer to organs, including lungs, livers, skin, brains, bone marrow, kidneys, and a variety of other internal organs as well as blood. The word meat is also used by the meat packing and butchering industry in a more restrictive sense - the flesh of mammalian species (pigs, cattle, etc.) raised and butchered for human consumption, to the exclusion of fish, poultry, and eggs. Eggs and seafood are rarely referred to as meat even though they consist of animal tissue. Animals that consume only, or mostly animals are called carnivores.
Through most of human history, individual families of humans hunted, raised, and slaughtered animals for their meat, and later, as civilizations developed, priests and temple assistants performed the functions of slaughering and butchering animals for food in animal sacrifice. Today, in most industrialized nations, a meat packing industry slaughters, processes, and distributes meat for human consumption.


The word meat comes from the Old English word mete, which referred to food in general. Mad in Danish, mat in Swedish and Norwegian, and matur in Icelandic, still mean 'food'. The narrower sense that refers to meat as not including fish, developed over the past few hundred years and has religious influences. The distinction between fish and "meat" is codified by Jewish laws of kashrut regarding the mixing of milk and meat, which does not forbid the mixing of milk and fish. Modern halakha (Jewish law) on kashrut classifies the flesh of both mammals and birds as "meat"; fish are considered to be parve (also spelled parev, pareve; Yiddish: פארעוו parev), neither meat nor a dairy food. The Catholic dietary restriction to "meat" on Fridays also does not apply to the cooking and eating of fish.
The Latin word carō "meat" (also the root of 'carnal', referring to the 'pleasures of the flesh') is often a euphemism for sexual pleasure, which is, after all, effected from a function performed by fleshy organs. Thus 'meat' may refer to the human body in a sensual, or sexual, capacity. A meat market, which, in addition to simply denoting a market where meat is sold, also refers to a place or situation where humans are treated or viewed as commodities, especially a place known as one where a sexual partner may be found. This connotation has also existed for at least 500 years. 'Meat' may also be used in a humorous or indifferent way to refer to a human. The military slang phrase "meat shield", refers to soldiers sent in front of an enemy to draw fire away from another unit. The theme of hostile, or simply misanthropic robots referring to humans with disparaging terms such as "meatbag" is popular in science fiction (see: Bender, HK-47).

Methods of preparation

Meat is prepared in many ways, as steaks, in stews, fondue, or as dried meat. It may be ground then formed into patties (as hamburgers or croquettes), loaves, or sausages, or used in loose form (as in "sloppy joe" or Bolognese sauce). Some meat is cured, by smoking, pickling, preserving in salt or brine (see salted meat and curing). Other kinds of meat are marinated and barbecued, or simply boiled, roasted, or fried. Meat is generally eaten cooked, but there are many traditional recipes that call for raw beef, veal or fish. Meat is often spiced or seasoned, as in most sausages. Meat dishes are usually described by their source (animal and part of body) and method of preparation.
Meat is a typical base for making sandwiches. Popular varieties of sandwich meat include ham, pork, salami and other sausages, and beef, such as steak, roast beef, corned beef, and pastrami. Meat can also be molded or pressed (common for products that include offal, such as haggis and scrapple) and canned.

Nutritional benefits and concerns

Further information: Nutrition, Foodborne illness, Health concerns associated with red meat
All muscle tissue is very high in protein, containing all of the essential amino acids, and in most cases, is a good source of zinc, vitamin B12, selenium, phosphorus, niacin, vitamin B6, iron and riboflavin. However, meat tends to be high in fat (red meat in particular), low in carbohydrates, and contains no fiber. The fat content of meat can vary widely depending on the species and breed of animal, the way in which the animal was raised, including what it was fed, the anatomical part of the body, and the methods of butchering and cooking. Wild animals such as deer are typically leaner than farm animals, leading those concerned about fat content to choose game such as venison. However, centuries of breeding meat animals for size and fatness is being reversed by consumer demand for meat with less fat.
In recent years, the health benefits of meat as a regular part of the human diet have come into question. In a large-scale study, the consumption of red meat over a lifetime was found to raise the risk of cancer by 20 to 60 percent, while causing adverse mutations in DNA. Animal fat is one of the only dietary sources of saturated fat, which have been linked to various health problems, including heart disease, bowel cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, osteoporosis, and arteriosclerosis. One famous study, the Nurses' Health Study, followed about 100,000 female nurses and their eating habits. Nurses who ate the largest amount of animal fat were twice as likely to develop colon cancer as the nurses who ate the least amount of animal fat.
In response to changing prices as well as health concerns about saturated fat and cholesterol, consumers have altered their consumption of various meats. A USDA report points out that consumption of beef in the United States between 1970–1974 and 1990–1994 dropped by 21%, while consumption of chicken increased by 90%. During the same period of time, the price of chicken dropped by 14% relative to the price of beef. In 1995 and 1996, beef consumption increased due to higher supplies and lower prices.
Meat, like any food, can also transmit certain diseases, but undercooked meat is especially susceptible. Undercooked pork sometimes contains the parasites that cause trichinosis or cysticercosis. Chicken is often contaminated with Salmonella enterica disease-causing bacteria. Minced beef can be contaminated during slaughter with disease-causing Escherichia coli O157:H7 deriving from the intestinal tract if proper precautions are not taken.

Red meat and white meat

Red meat is darker-coloured meat, as contrasted with white meat. The exact definition varies, but the meat of adult mammals, such as beef, mutton, and horse is invariably considered "red", while domestic chicken and rabbit are invariably considered "white".
meat in Afrikaans: Vleis
meat in Arabic: لحم
meat in Guarani: So'o
meat in Bosnian: Meso
meat in Bulgarian: Месо
meat in Catalan: Carn
meat in Czech: Maso
meat in Welsh: Cig
meat in Danish: Kød
meat in German: Fleisch
meat in Spanish: Carne
meat in Esperanto: Viando
meat in French: Viande
meat in Manx: Feill
meat in Scottish Gaelic: Feòil
meat in Galician: Carne
meat in Korean: 고기
meat in Croatian: Meso
meat in Indonesian: Daging
meat in Icelandic: Kjöt
meat in Italian: Carne
meat in Hebrew: בשר (מזון)
meat in Swahili (macrolanguage): Nyama
meat in Kurdish: Goşt
meat in Latin: Caro
meat in Lithuanian: Mėsa
meat in Hungarian: Hús
meat in Malay (macrolanguage): Daging
meat in Dutch: Vlees
meat in Japanese: 肉
meat in Norwegian: Kjøtt
meat in Norwegian Nynorsk: Kjøtt
meat in Narom: Chai
meat in Polish: Mięso
meat in Portuguese: Carne
meat in Romanian: Carne
meat in Quechua: Aycha
meat in Russian: Мясо
meat in Sicilian: Carni
meat in Simple English: Meat
meat in Swati: Inyama
meat in Slovak: Mäso
meat in Slovenian: Meso
meat in Serbian: Месо
meat in Finnish: Liha
meat in Swedish: Kött
meat in Tagalog: Karne
meat in Tamil: இறைச்சி
meat in Tajik: Гӯшт
meat in Turkish: Et
meat in Ukrainian: М'ясо
meat in Yiddish: פלייש
meat in Contenese: 肉類
meat in Chinese: 肉类食物

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Brazil nut, TLC, act of love, adultery, almond, almond paste, amande, amande douce, amandes mondees, aphrodisia, aspic, ass, axiom, bag, balling, ballocks, balls, barbecue, basics, basis, basket, beard, bench mark, best part, better part, bitter almond, blanched almonds, board, body, boiled meat, bouilli, bread, bread and butter, breasts, bulk, burden, burnt almond, cardinal point, care, carnal knowledge, case, center, cervix, chapter, cheer, chief thing, chow, civet, climax, clitoris, cod, cods, cohabitation, coition, coitus, coitus interruptus, comestibles, commerce, concern, congress, connection, copula, copulation, core, cornerstone, coupling, creature comfort, crisis, critical point, crux, cuisine, cullions, daily bread, diddling, distillate, distillation, eatables, eats, economic support, edibles, elixir, endowment, entertainment, essence, essential, essential matter, essentials, fabric, family jewels, fare, fast food, feast, feed, female organs, flesh, flower, focus, focus of attention, focus of interest, food, food and drink, foodstuff, forcemeat, fornication, fundamental, game, generality, genitalia, genitals, gist, gonads, goober, goober pea, gravamen, great point, ground-pea, groundnut, grub, hachis, hash, head, heading, health food, heart, high point, hot number, hypostasis, important thing, ingesta, inner essence, intercourse, intimacy, issue, jerky, joint, jugged hare, junk food, keep, kernel, keystone, kitchen stuff, labia, labia majora, labia minora, landmark, lingam, lips, livelihood, living, living issue, lovemaking, main body, main point, main thing, maintenance, major part, majority, making it with, male organs, manna, marital relations, marriage act, marrow, mass, material, material point, mating, matter, matter in hand, meal, medium, menue viande, mess, milestone, mince, most, mothering, motif, motive, nigger toe, noisette, noix, nourishment, nub, nucleus, nurture, nut, nutriment, nuts, nuts and bolts, nymphae, onanism, orgasm, ovary, ovum, pareunia, peanut, peanut butter, pemmican, penis, phallus, piece, piece of ass, piece of meat, pith, pivot, plurality, point, point at issue, point in question, postulate, pot roast, price support, principle, private parts, privates, privy parts, problem, procreation, provender, provision, provisions, pubic hair, pudenda, question, quid, quiddity, quintessence, real issue, recap, recapitulation, refection, refreshment, regalement, relations, repas, repast, reproductive organs, resume, roast, rocks, rubric, run-through, rundown, salient point, salted peanuts, sap, sausage meat, scrapple, screwing, scrotum, secondary sex characteristic, sense, sex, sex act, sex goddess, sex object, sex organs, sex queen, sexual climax, sexual commerce, sexual congress, sexual intercourse, sexual relations, sexual union, short, sine qua non, sleeping with, soul, sperm, spermary, spirit, spread, stud, stuff, subject, subject matter, subject of thought, subsidization, subsidy, subsistence, substance, substantive point, subvention, sum, sum and substance, summary, summation, support, sustainment, sustenance, sustentation, sweet almond, table, tender loving care, testes, testicles, text, the bottom line, the nitty-gritty, the point, theme, thrust, topic, treat, tucker, turning point, upkeep, upshot, uterus, vagina, venery, venison, viande, viands, victuals, vittles, vulva, womb, yoni
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