The Higashiyama shell mound in the north of the ward contains remains from the paleolithic, Jōmon, Yayoi, and Kofun periods.
The area now known as Meguro was formerly two towns, Meguro proper and Hibusuma, all parts of the former Ebara District of Musashi Province. The two were merged into a Meguro ward for Tokyo City in 1932 and since then the ward has remained with no alterations to its territory.
The name "Meguro", meaning "black eyes", derives from the Meguro Fudō (Black-eyed Fudō-myōō) of Ryūsenji. The Meguro Fudō was one of five Fudō-myōō statues placed at strategic points on the outskirts of Edo in the early seventeenth century by the abbot Tenkai, an advisor to Tokugawa Ieyasu, to provide protection for the new capital of the Tokugawa shogunate. Each statue had eyes of a different color. (Mejiro, a district in Toshima ward, is named for the white-eyed Fudō-myōō).