Also the pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in poetry.
    Each line usually contains a set number of stressed and unstressed syllables arranged in regular intervals so as to create symmetry in the lines.

    The system of stresses results from the fact that when two or three syllables are placed together, one syllable receives a stronger accent than the other.

                e.g., re-ceive

    In meter, the lines are divided into feet consisting of a stressed syllable and usually one or two unaccented syllables.



Names of basic feet		        Examples
--------------------			---------
iambic (most common)			de-light, re-ceive
trochaic				ga-ther, heartless
anapestic				in-ter-rupt, di-sap-pear
dactylic				hap-pi-ness, sen-ti-ment
spondaic				heart-break, child-hood
A poet measures his lines into a pattern by using a specified number of feet, with one type of foot predominating. The following terms are used to indicate the number of feet to a line.
monometer (one)
dimeter (two)
trimeter (three)
tetrameter (four)
pentameter (five)
hexameter (six)
heptameter (seven)
octometer (eight)

From melo's lecture notes.

Meter in music is a reoccurring pattern of strong and weak beats. The meter of a western musical piece is indicated by a number placed atop yet another number. Basically, the bottom number is the type of note being counted (quarter = 4, eighth = 8, etc); the top is the number of these notes in a measure. In western music there are two types of meter: simple and compound.

Simple meter is composed of 2/4, 3/4, and 4/4, with each beat subdivided into two eigth notes or four sixteenth notes or eight thirtysecondth notes or 16 sixtyfourth notes, etc. In 2/4, there are two quarter notes in a measure, in 3/4 3, and in 4/4 there are 4.

Compound meter's upper numbers are always 6, 9, or 12, and their lower numbers are always 8. Each beat is a dotted quarter note and is subdivided into 3 eighth notes.

(From the Greek metron (μετρον), "a measure" via the French mètre and the Latin metrum) The basic unit of length in the International System of units, defined by the Conférence Générale des Poids et Mesures in 1983 to be the distance light travels in a vacuum during a time interval of 1/299,792,458 of a second, thus fixing the length of a meter in terms of time and the speed of light. One meter is equal to 39.3701 inches.

Symbol: m
Also spelled: metre
Varying definitions of a meter, and events related thereto:

1791 (The end of the French Revolution): The meter is defined as 10-7 times the distance between the North Pole and the Equator along a meridian through Paris. However, the value representing the circumference of the Earth used in the calculation is wrong.

1799: The (incorrect) relationship between the Earth's circumference and the meter is discarded. The new meter is defined as the length of the prototype - a platinum bar.

1866: Use of the metric system is legalized (!) in the U.S.

1875: The International Bureau of Weights and Measures is established. Twenty countries sign the Treaty of the Meter and join the International Metric Convention to impose some fucking order.

1889: A new prototype meter bar is made - this time with an X-shaped cross-section. The distance between two scratches in a platinum bar stored in a vault next to its metric pal, the kilogram, at the International Bureau of Weights and Measures denotes the meter. Every member country in the International Metric Convention recieve two copies of the prototype.

1960: The Eleventh General Conference on Weights and Measures redefined the International Standard of Length as 1,650,763.73 vacuum wavelengths of light resulting from unperturbed atomic energy level transition 2p10 5d5 of the krypton isotope having an atomic weight of 86. Other, secondary, definitions using Mercury 198 and Cadmium 114 were also accepted by the General Conference.

1980: Yet another secondary definition, this time using an iodine-stabilized helium/neon laser, is accepted. This type of laser has a wavelength uncertainty of 1/1010.

From 1983 and on: The meter is defined as the distance travelled by light in a vacuum in the time interval of 1/299,792,458 second, thus making distance a function of time and providing you with a way of reliably measuring distance should you ever run out of Mercury 198 or Cadmium 114...

You've come a long way, little meter.
And now... sources!
Oolong, who pointed out that the lightspeed definition actually was accepted in 1983. http://www.mel.nist.gov/div821/museum/timeline.htm
http://utenti.tripod.it/unita_di_misura/principale_e.htm
http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/Gene_Nygaard/internat.htm
http://csai03.is.noda.sut.ac.jp/foldoc/foldoc.cgi?metre

Me"ter (?), n. [From Mete to measure.]

1.

One who, or that which, metes or measures. See Coal-meter.

2.

An instrument for measuring, and usually for recording automatically, the quantity measured.

Dry meter, a gas meter having measuring chambers, with flexible walls, which expand and contract like bellows and measure the gas by filling and emptying. -- Wt meter, a gas meter in which the revolution of a chambered drum in water measures the gas passing through it.

 

© Webster 1913.


Me"ter, n.

A line above or below a hanging net, to which the net is attached in order to strengthen it.

 

© Webster 1913.


Me"ter, Me"tre (?), n. [OE. metre, F. metre, L. metrum, fr. Gr. ; akin to Skr. ma to measure. See Mete to measure.]

1.

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. Wordsworth.

2.

A poem.

[Obs.]

Robynson (More's Utopia).

3.

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.

 

© Webster 1913.

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