1 of 2


informal : showing or suggesting an explicit awareness of itself or oneself as a member of its category : cleverly self-referential
"The Bar?" she said. "I know the place. Been meaning to drop by. Love the name. Very meta."Gillian Flynn
The meta gift of the year: a picture of a lamp that actually lights up. Designer Finn Magee's trompe l'oeil is printed on plastic, embedded with electronics, and equipped with a cord and switch.Karissa Bell et al.
A new comedy about fantasy football, which follows a group of armchair quarterbacks as they try to tackle life. How meta would it be if people started betting on what was going to happen on the show?TV Guide
Leave it to Larry to contort public desire for a Seinfeld reunion into a meta plot that chronicles his not-necessarily-noble struggle to pull off a Seinfeld reunion.Dan Snierson
informal : concerning or providing information about members of its own category
… Slate, a Web zine published by Microsoft that devotes much of its content to what [editor Michael] Kinsley calls "meta news"—news about the news.Rick Marin et al.
Given that the coverage of any one search engine is limited, the simplest means of improving the coverage of Web search engines is to combine the results of multiple engines, as is done with meta search engines such as MetaCrawler ( Lawrence


2 of 2


variants or met-
: occurring later than or in succession to : after
: situated behind or beyond
: later or more highly organized or specialized form of
: change : transformation
[metaphysics] : more comprehensive : transcending
usually used with the name of a discipline to designate a new but related discipline designed to deal critically with the original one
: involving substitution at or characterized by two positions in the benzene ring that are separated by one carbon atom
: derived from by loss of water
metaphosphoric acid

Examples of meta in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Fonda was reaching out because Lopez had asked her to appear in a yet-undefined film (with music) that would examine Lopez’s romantic failures in some kind of meta way. Stephen Rodrick, Variety, 13 Feb. 2024 The film starts off as a straight homage to Herrington’s film peppered with one too many meta textual references. Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter, 8 Mar. 2024 Four Daughters finds the family coaching the actors through meta scenes in which the elder girls become disenchanted by Hamrouni’s abrasive parenting style and adopt a ghastly version of rebellion. Matthew Jacobs, The Hollywood Reporter, 20 Feb. 2024 Now, Deadpool’s self-aware, meta humor gives Disney a great opportunity to freshen up their stale MCU formula and simplify the mess, with Deadpool tasked with cleaning the timelines. Dani Di Placido, Forbes, 13 Feb. 2024 To be fair, Ewell does have something bigger on his mind, a meta plot twist that certainly could have injected a jolt of life into the book. Stuart Miller, Los Angeles Times, 9 Feb. 2024 Chelsea Peretti is making her directorial debut in a hilariously meta fashion. Benjamin Vanhoose, Peoplemag, 7 Feb. 2024 Swift popped up to introduce friend and musical guest Ice Spice, but Kelce made a meta appearance in a sketch parodying the NFL’s obsession with — what else? Ew Staff Published,, 8 Dec. 2023 There may be a meta play to be written about Dark of the Moon and its odd and marginal significance, something in the vein of Paula Vogel’s Indecent or Tim Robbins’ Cradle Will Rock. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 21 Dec. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'meta.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



independent use of meta-


New Latin & Medieval Latin, from Latin or Greek; Latin, from Greek, among, with, after, from meta among, with, after; akin to Old English mid, mith with, Old High German mit

First Known Use


1988, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of meta was in 1988

Dictionary Entries Near meta




Cite this Entry

“Meta.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Apr. 2024.

Medical Definition


1 of 2 adjective
: relating to, characterized by, or being two positions in the benzene ring that are separated by one carbon atom


2 of 2 prefix
variants or met-
: isomeric with or otherwise closely related to
: involving substitution at or characterized by two positions in the benzene ring that are separated by one carbon atom
abbreviation m-
meta-xylene or m-xylene
compare orth- sense 2, para- sense 2

Geographical Definition


geographical name

Me·​ta ˈmā-tä How to pronounce Meta (audio)
river over 620 miles (995 kilometers) long in northeastern Colombia flowing into the Orinoco River on the Venezuela–Colombia boundary

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