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mésalliance marriage with someone of lower social standing than oneself.
mescal one of two species of cactus, esp. a small, globe-shaped plant with buttonlike projections that are chewed as a hallucinogenic drug by certain Mexican Indians during religious ceremonies. [2 definitions]
mescaline a drug that causes hallucinations and similar mind-altering effects, derived from the buttonlike protuberances of the mescal cactus; peyote.
mesdames pl. of madame.
mesdemoiselles pl. of mademoiselle.
mesencephalon the midbrain.
mesentery the membrane that encloses the small intestine and connects it to the spinal wall of the abdomen.
mesh any of the open spaces in a net, sieve, wire screen, or the like. [8 definitions]
meshuga (informal) crazy; insane.
meshwork something of or like mesh; meshes or network.
mesmerism the theories and practices of Franz Mesmer, esp. those involving hypnotism and magnetic attraction of living beings.
mesmerize to induce a hypnotic trance in; hypnotize. [2 definitions]
meso- middle.
mesoblast in an embryo, the middle layer of cells; mesoderm.
mesocarp the middle layer or fleshy part of a ripened fruit.
mesoderm in an embryo, the middle layer of cells from which the skeletal, muscular, connective, and other tissues develop.
Mesolithic (sometimes l.c.) designating the Stone Age cultural period from about 10,000 to about 8,000 B.C., between the Paleolithic and the Neolithic periods, characterized by the use of small flint tools set in bone or wood.
mesomorphic of or pertaining to a muscular human body type. (Cf. ectomorphic, endomorphic.)
meson any of a group of elementary particles that react strongly with other particles, and that have a mass between that of the electron and that of the proton.
mesosphere the earth's atmosphere between the stratosphere and the thermosphere, or from twenty miles to fifty miles above the earth's surface.
mesothelioma a tumor of the mesothelium, often malignant and possibly caused by the breathing in of particles of asbestos.