1. The edible flesh of animals, especially that of mammals as opposed to that of fish or poultry.
2. The edible part, as of a piece of fruit or a nut.
3. The essence, substance, or gist: the meat of the editorial.
4. Slang Something that one enjoys or excels in; a forte: Tennis is his meat.
5. Nourishment; food: "Love is not all: it is not meat nor drink" (Edna St. Vincent Millay).
6. Vulgar Slang
a. The human body regarded as an object of sexual desire.
b. The genitals.
meat and potatoes Informal
The fundamental parts or part; the basis.
[Middle English mete, from Old English, food.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.