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meter

me·ter1 / ˈmētər/ (Brit. me·tre) • n. the fundamental unit of length in the metric system, equal to 100 centimeters or approx. 39.37 inches. ∎  (—— meters) a race over a specified number of meters: he placed third in the 1,000 meters. DERIVATIVES: me·ter·age / -ij/ n. me·ter2 (Brit. me·tre) • n. the rhythm of a piece of poetry, determined by the number and length of feet in a line: the Horatian ode has an intricate governing meter | unexpected changes of stress and meter. ∎  the basic pulse and rhythm of a piece of music. me·ter3 • n. a device that measures and records the quantity, degree, or rate of something, esp. the amount of electricity, gas, or water used: they read the meters once a month. ∎ Philately an imprint or label of specified value produced under government permit for the prepayment of postage. • v. [tr.] [often as adj.] (metered) measure by means of a meter: a metered supply of water.

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rhythm

rhythm, the basic temporal element of music, concerned with duration and with stresses or accents whether irregular or organized into regular patternings. The formulation in the late 12th cent. of the rhythmic modes—basic recurrent patterns that were adhered to in composition—began the development of the Western system of meter and its notation. Most rhythms are metrical, i.e., the values are multiples of a temporal unit, or beat, usually associated with some particular note value. Free rhythm, such as occurs in much Asian music, has no meter (i.e., its temporal values are not derived from a basic unit). The degree of rhythmic complexity and the types of rhythms used are major considerations in analysis of the style of a composer or a period. The rhythmic tension of music is of value in eliciting emotional response from the hearer. African music and some 20th-century composers employ polyrhythm, the simultaneous use of several rhythmic patterns whose accents do not coincide. See syncopation and metronome.

See P. Kiparsky and G. Youmans, ed., Rhythm and Meter (1989).

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meter (in music)

meter, in music, the division of a composition into units of equal time value called measures, and the subdivision of those measures into an underlying pattern of stresses or accents (see measure). Meter is usually indicated by a time signature, a fraction whose numerator indicates the number of beats in a measure and whose denominator indicates the note value that is the unit of beating. The time signature may be changed at any point in the composition, and frequent changes of meter occur in much 20th-century music. In music of the 18th and 19th cent., however, the same meter is usually adhered to throughout a section or movement in a composition. See rhythm. For meter in poetry, see versification; for meter as a unit of measure, see metric system.

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meter (unit of measure)

meter, abbr. m, fundamental unit of length in the metric system. The meter was originally defined as 1/10,000,000 of the distance between the equator and either pole; however, the original survey was inaccurate and the meter was later defined simply as the distance between two scratches on a bar made of a platinum-iridium alloy and kept at Sevres, France, near Paris. More recently, it has been defined as the distance light travels through a vacuum in 1/299,792,458 of a second. The meter is now the legal standard of length for most of the world, other standards, such as the yard, being defined in terms of the meter.

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meter

meter Instrument that measures a particular quantity. For example, a gas meter measures the amount of gas that flows in a certain time, and a voltmeter measures the voltage between two points in an electrical circuit.

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meter

meter2 apparatus for measuring quantities. XIX. First in gas m.; perh. a use of METER1 suggested by gasometer (see next).

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meter

meter1 measurer. XIV. f. METE + -ER1.

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meter

metercater, crater, creator, curator, data, debater, delator, dumbwaiter, equator, freighter, frustrater, gaiter, grater, gyrator, hater, later, legator, mater, negator, pater, peseta, plater, rotator, skater, slater, stater, tater, traitor, ultimata, understater, upstater, waiter •painter •taster, waster •gamester • aviator • tailgater •hesitater • shirtwaister •Akita, Anita, arboreta, beater, beta, Bhagavadgita, cheater, cheetah, Demeter, Dieter, dolce vita, eater, eta, Evita, excreta, fetor, granita, greeter, heater, Juanita, litre (US liter), Lolita, maltreater, margarita, meter, metre, Peta, peter, praetor (US pretor), repeater, Rita, saltpetre (US saltpeter), secretor, Senhorita, señorita, Sita, skeeter, teeter, terra incognita, theta, treater, tweeter, ureter, veleta, zeta •Batista, Dniester, Easter, feaster, keister, leister, quaestor •speedster •deemster, teamster •scenester • browbeater • windcheater •beefeater •millilitre (US milliliter) •decilitre (US deciliter) •centilitre (US centiliter) •kilolitre (US kiloliter) •ammeter • Machmeter •millimetre (US millimeter) •decimetre (US decimeter) •altimeter •centimetre (US centimeter) •nanometre (US nanometer) •micrometer, micrometre •decametre (US dekameter) •kilometre (US kilometer) • autopista •anteater

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