meagerly (adv.)
also meagrely, 1580s, from meager + -ly (2).
meagerness (n.)
also meagreness, early 15c., from meager + -ness.
meagre (adj.)
chiefly British English spelling of meager (q.v.); for spelling, see -re.
meal (n.1)
"food; time for eating," c. 1200 (perhaps late Old English), mel "appointed time for eating," also "a meal, feast," from Old English mæl "fixed time, occasion, a meal," from Proto-Germanic *mæla- (source also of Old Frisian mel "time;" Middle Dutch mael, Dutch maal "time, meal;" Old Norse mal "measure, time, meal;" German Mal "time," Mahl "meal;" Gothic mel "time, hour"), from PIE *me-lo-, from root *me- (2) "to measure."

Original sense of "time" is preserved in piecemeal. Meals-on-wheels attested from 1961. Meal ticket first attested 1870 in literal sense of "ticket of admission to a dining hall;" figurative sense of "source of income or livelihood" is from 1899.
meal (n.2)
"edible ground grain," Old English melu "meal, flour," from Proto-Germanic *melwan "grind" (source also of Old Frisian mele "meal," Old Saxon melo, Middle Dutch mele, Dutch meel, Old High German melo, German Mehl, Old Norse mjöl "meal;" Old Saxon, Old High German, Gothic malan "to grind," German mahlen), from PIE root *mele- "to crush, grind."
mealtime (n.)
also meal-time, late 12c., from meal (n.1) + time (n.). Etymologically, a tautology.
mealy (adj.)
"resembling or consisting of meal," 1530s, from meal (n.2) + -y (2). Related: Mealiness.
mealy-mouthed (adj.)
"afraid to say what one really thinks," 1570s; first element perhaps from Old English milisc "sweet," from Proto-Germanic *meduz "honey" (see mead (n.1)), which suits the sense, but if the Old English word did not survive long enough to be the source of this, perhaps the first element is from meal (n.2) on notion of the "softness" of ground flour (compare Middle English melishe (adj.) "friable, loose," used of soils).
mean (n.)
"that which is halfway between extremes," early 14c., from Old French meien "middle, means, intermediary," noun use of adjective from Latin medianus "of or that is in the middle" (see mean (adj.2)). Oldest sense is musical; mathematical sense is from c. 1500. Some senses reflect confusion with mean (adj.1). This is the mean in by no means (late 15c.).
mean (v.2)
"calculate an arithmetical mean," 1882, from mean (n.).
mean (adj.1)
"low-quality," c. 1200, "shared by all," from imene, from Old English gemæne "common, public, general, universal, shared by all," from Proto-Germanic *ga-mainiz "possessed jointly" (source also of Old Frisian mene, Old Saxon gimeni, Middle Low German gemeine, Middle Dutch gemene, Dutch gemeen, German gemein, Gothic gamains "common"), from PIE *ko-moin-i- "held in common," a compound adjective formed from collective prefix *ko- "together" (Proto-Germanic *ga-) + *moi-n-, suffixed form of PIE root *mei- (1) "to change; exchange." Compare second element in common (adj.), a word with a sense evolution parallel to that of this word.

Of things, "inferior, second-rate," from late 14c. (a secondary sense in Old English was "false, wicked"). Notion of "so-so, mediocre" led to confusion with mean (n.). Meaning "inferior in rank or status" (of persons) emerged early 14c.; that of "ordinary" from late 14c.; that of "stingy, nasty" first recorded 1660s; weaker sense of "disobliging, pettily offensive" is from 1839, originally American English slang. Inverted sense of "remarkably good" (i.e. plays a mean saxophone) first recorded c. 1900, perhaps from phrase no mean _______ "not inferior" (1590s, also, "not average," reflecting further confusion with mean (n.)).
mean (v.1)
"intend, have in mind," Old English mænan "to mean, intend, signify; tell, say; complain, lament," from West Germanic *mainijan (source also of Old Frisian mena "to signify," Old Saxon menian "to intend, signify, make known," Dutch menen, German meinen "think, suppose, be of the opinion"), from PIE *meino- "opinion, intent" (source also of Old Church Slavonic meniti "to think, have an opinion," Old Irish mian "wish, desire," Welsh mwyn "enjoyment"), perhaps from root *men- (1) "to think." Conversational question you know what I mean? attested by 1834.
mean (adj.2)
"occupying a middle or intermediate place," mid-14c., from Anglo-French meines (plural), Old French meien, variant of moiien "mid-, medium, common, middle-class" (12c., Modern French moyen), from Late Latin medianus "of the middle," from Latin medius "in the middle" (from PIE root *medhyo- "middle"). Meaning "intermediate in time" is from mid-15c. Mathematical sense is from late 14c.
mean-spirited (adj.)
also meanspirited, 1690s, from mean (adj.1) + -spirited. Ancient Greek had the same image in mikropsykhos.
meander (n.)
1570s, "confusion, intricacies," from Latin meander "a winding course," from Greek Maiandros, name of a river in Caria noted for its winding course (the Greeks used the name figuratively for winding patterns). In reference to river courses, in English, from 1590s. Adjectival forms are meandrine (1846); meandrous (1650s).
meander (v.)
"flow in a winding course" (of rivers), 1610s, from meander (n.). Of a person, "to wander aimlessly" (1831), originally of persons traveling on a river (1821), perhaps influenced by confusion with maunder [OED]. Related: Meandered; meandering.
meanie (n.)
also meany, "cruel person," 1927, from mean (adj.) + -y (3).
meaning (n.)
"sense, import, intent," c. 1300, from mean (v.).
meaningful (adj.)
1827, from meaning (n.) + -ful. Related: Meaningfully.
meaningless (adj.)
1730, from meaning + -less. Related: Meaninglessly; meaninglessness.
meanly (adv.)
1580s, "indifferently;" 1590s, "basely;" c. 1600, "illiberally;" from mean (adj.1) + -ly (2).
meanness (n.)
1550s, "weakness," from mean (adj.) + -ness. Sense of "baseness, poverty" is from 1650s; that of "stinginess" from 1755.
means (n.)
"course of action," late 14c., from mean (n.); sense of "wealth" is first recorded c. 1600. Compare French moyens, German Mittel. Phrase by no means attested from late 15c.; means-test is from 1930.
past participle of mean (v.).
meantime (n.)
also mean time, mid-14c., from mean (adj.2) "middle, intermediate" + time (n.). Late 14c. as an adverb. In the mean space "meanwhile" was in use 16c.-18c.
meanwhile (n.)
also mean while, mid-14c., from mean (adj.2) "middle, intermediate" + while (n.). Late 14c. as an adverb.
see meanie.
measles (n.)
infectious disease, early 14c., plural of Middle English masel, perhaps from Middle Dutch masel "blemish" (in plural "measles") or Middle Low German masele, from Proto-Germanic *mas- "spot, blemish" (source also of Old High German masla "blood-blister," German Masern "measles").

There might have been an Old English cognate, but if so it has not been recorded. Form probably influenced by Middle English mesel "leprous" (late 13c.).
measly (adj.)
"affected with measles," 1680s, from measle (see measles) + -y (2); sense of "meager and contemptible" first recorded 1864 in British slang.
measurability (n.)
1690s; see measurable + -ity.
measurable (adj.)
c. 1300, "moderate," from Old French mesurable "restrained, moderate, sensible; restricted," from Late Latin mensurabilis, from mensurare "to measure," from Latin mensura "a measuring, a measurement; thing to measure by," from mensus, past participle of metiri "to measure," from PIE root *me- (2) "to measure." Meaning "that can be measured" is from mid-14c. Related: Measurably.
measure (n.)
c. 1200, "moderation, temperance, abstemiousness;" c. 1300, "instrument for measuring," from Old French mesure "limit, boundary; quantity, dimension; occasion, time" (12c.), from Latin mensura "a measuring, a measurement; thing to measure by," from mensus, past participle of metiri "to measure," from PIE root *me- (2) "to measure."

Meaning "size or quantity as ascertained by measuring" is from early 14c. Meaning "action of measuring; standard measure of quantity; system of measuring; appointed or alloted amount of anything" is late 14c. Also from late 14c. are senses "proper proportion, balance." Sense of "that to which something is compared to determine its quantity" is from 1570s. Meaning "rhythmic pattern in music" is late 14c.; from mid-15c. in poetry, c. 1500 in dance. Meaning "treatment 'meted out' to someone" is from 1590s; that of "plan or course of action intended to obtain some goal" is from 1690s; sense of "legislative enactment" is from 1759. Phrase for good measure (late 14c.) is literally "ample in quantity, in goods sold by measure."
measure (v.)
c. 1300, "to deal out by measure," from Old French mesurer "measure; moderate, curb" (12c.), from Late Latin mensurare "to measure," from Latin mensura "a measuring, a measurement; thing to measure by," from mensus, past participle of metiri "to measure," from PIE root *me- (2) "to measure."

Replaced Old English cognate mæð "measure." Meaning "to ascertain spatial dimensions of" is mid-14c. To measure up "have the necessary abilities" is 1910, American English. Related: Measured; measuring.
measured (adj.)
late 14c., "deliberate, restrained," adjective from past participle of measure (v.). Meaning "uniform, regular" is from c. 1400.
measurement (n.)
1751, "act of measuring," from measure (v.) + -ment. Related: Measurements. Meaning "dimension obtained by measuring" is from 1756.
meat (n.)
Old English mete "food, item of food" (paired with drink), from Proto-Germanic *mati (source also of Old Frisian mete, Old Saxon meti, Old Norse matr, Old High German maz, Gothic mats "food," Middle Dutch, Dutch metworst, German Mettwurst "type of sausage"), from PIE *mad-i-, from root *mad- "moist, wet," also with reference to food qualities, (source also of Sanskrit medas- "fat" (n.), Old Irish mat "pig;" see mast (n.2)).

Narrower sense of "flesh used as food" is first attested c. 1300; similar sense evolution in French viande "meat," originally "food." In Middle English, vegetables still could be called grene-mete (15c.). Figurative sense of "essential part" is from 1901. Dark meat, white meat popularized 19c., supposedly as euphemisms for leg and breast, but earliest sources use both terms without apparent embarrassment.
The choicest parts of a turkey are the side bones, the breast, and the thigh bones. The breast and wings are called light meat; the thigh-bones and side-bones dark meat. When a person declines expressing a preference, it is polite to help to both kinds. [Lydia Maria Child, "The American Frugal Housewife," Boston, 1835]
First record of meat loaf is from 1876. Meat-market "place where one looks for sex partners" is from 1896 (meat in various sexual senses of "penis, vagina, body regarded as a sex object, prostitute" are attested from 1590s; Old English for "meat-market" was flæsccyping ('flesh-cheaping')); meat wagon "ambulance" is from 1920, American English slang, said to date from World War I (in a literal sense by 1857). Meat-grinder in the figurative sense attested by 1951. Meat-hook in colloquial transferred sense "arm" attested by 1919.
meatball (n.)
1801, from meat + ball (n.1). As an insult to a person, by 1941.
county in Ireland, from Irish An Mhi "the middle."
meathead (n.)
"stupid person," 1945, from meat + head (n.).
meatless (adj.)
Old English meteleas "without food, without eating," see meat + -less. Meaning "without meat" is from mid-14c.
meaty (adj.)
"full of meat," 1787, from meat (n.) + -y (2). Figurative sense "full of substance" is from 1881. Related: Meatiness.
Arabic Makkah, sacred city of Islam, birthplace of Muhammad, which every Muslim must visit at least once. Origins have been proposed in Phoenician maqaq "ruined" or Arabic mahrab "sanctuary." Figurative sense of "any place one holds supremely sacred" (usually with lower-case m-) is in English from 1850. Related: Meccan.
mechanic (adj.)
late 14c., "pertaining to or involving mechanical labor" (now usually mechanical), also "having to do with tools," from Latin mechanicus, from Greek mekhanikos "full of resources, inventive, ingenious," literally "mechanical, pertaining to machines," from mekhane "device," from PIE *magh-ana- "that which enables," from root *magh- "to be able, have power." Meaning "of the nature of or pertaining to machines" is from 1620s.
mechanic (n.)
"manual laborer," late 14c., from Latin mechanicus, from Greek mekhanikos "an engineer," noun use of adjective meaning "full of resources, inventive, ingenious," from mekhane "device," from PIE *magh-ana- "that which enables," from root *magh- "to be able, have power." Sense of "one who is employed in manual labor, a handicraft worker, an artisan" (chief sense through early 19c.) is attested from 1560s. Sense of "skilled workman who is concerned with making or repair of machinery" is from 1660s, but not the main sense until the rise of the automobile.
mechanical (adj.)
early 15c., "of or pertaining to machines," from mechanic (adj.) + -al (1); of persons or human actions, "resembling machines, automatic" it is from c. 1600. Related: Mechanically. Mechanical-minded is recorded from 1820.
mechanics (n.)
1640s, based on Late Latin mechanica, from Greek mekhanike, mekhanika (see mechanic (adj.)); also see -ics.
mechanism (n.)
1660s, from Modern Latin mechanismus, from Greek mekhane "machine, instrument, device," from PIE *magh-ana- "that which enables," from root *magh- "to be able, have power."
mechanization (n.)
1834, from mechanize + -ation.
In our country, the ancient languages are studied, to a sad extent, as a mere exercise in the technics of etymology, syntax and prosody; and when thus pursued, there can be no good reason for so great a sacrifice of time and labor, or for that mechanization (if we may make a term) of mind which is the natural result. ["American Annals of Education and Instruction," December 1834]
mechanize (v.)
1670s; see mechanic (adj.) + -ize. Related: Mechanized; mechanizing.
mechanized (adj.)
in the military sense of "equipped with or using mechanical vehicles and weapons," 1928, from past participle of mechanize (v.).