"unit of length," 1797, from Fr. mètre, from Gk. metron "measure," from PIE base *me- "measure" (cf. Gk. metra "lot, portion," Skt. mati "measures," matra "measure," Avestan, O.Pers. ma-, L. metri "to measure"). Developed by Fr. Academy of Sciences for system of weights and measures based on a
decimal system originated 1670 by Fr. clergyman Gabriel Mouton. Originally intended to be one ten-millionth of the length of a quadrant of the meridian.
"device for measuring," abstracted 1832 from gas-meter, etc., from Fr. -mètre, used in combinations, from L. metrum "measure" or cognate Gk. metron "measure" (see meter
(2)). Meter maid first recorded 1957.