Printable Version
Pronunciation: meet Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: (Old if not archaic, except in Scots English) Suitable, fit, proper.

Notes: Here is a Good Word that is clinging on by its teeth in Kiltland. It may be used as an adverb in the same region in the sense of "exactly, precisely". There once was a time it could be used as a noun in the sense of "an equal", but not even in Scotland is that possible today.

In Play: In Shakespeare's day, this word was very much alive: "If you think it meet, ...let him abide here with you; if not, use him for the present and dismiss him." (Measure for Measure: IV, ii). But I think there is still room for this word in Modern English: "This is a theater meet for grand events."

Word History: In Old English today's Good Word was gemaete "suitable, having the same dimensions", made from ga- + Proto-Indo-European med-/mod- "to measure; give advice". The trail from this word is often confusing. For sure it is the source of Latin modus "measure, manner", modelus "small measure, standard", modestus "moderate", German gemäß "appropriate, fitting", and Albanian mas "measure". It probably underlies Sanskrit addha (from mddha) "certainly", "between, in the middle", Welsh meddwl "thought", Czech mezi "between", and Russian and Bulgarian mezhdu "between, among". The PIE word or a homophone of it also appears in ancient Greek medeon "ruler" and Latin medicus "doctor", plus all its derivations. The meaning could have moved there from the sense of "measured, just the right measure". How it could be related to the verb, meet, is still under investigation. (Thank you, Professor Kyu Ho Youm, University of Oregon, who has been contributing Good Words like today's since 2008.)

Dr. Goodword,

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