\ ˈme-tə How to pronounce meta (audio) \

Definition of meta

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 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
2 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 (— Steve Lawrence


variants: or met-

Definition of meta- (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : occurring later than or in succession to : after metestrus
b : situated behind or beyond metencephalon metacarpus
c : later or more highly organized or specialized form of metaxylem
2 : change : transformation metaplasia
3 [metaphysics] : more comprehensive : transcending metapsychological usually used with the name of a discipline to designate a new but related discipline designed to deal critically with the original one metamathematics
4a : involving substitution at or characterized by two positions in the benzene ring that are separated by one carbon atom meta-xylene
b : derived from by loss of water metaphosphoric acid

First Known Use of meta


1988, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for meta


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

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Cite this Entry

“Meta.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Aug. 2022.

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\ ˈmet-ə How to pronounce meta (audio) \

Medical Definition of meta

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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


variants: or met-

Medical Definition of meta- (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : isomeric with or otherwise closely related to metaldehyde
2 : 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

Meta geographical name

Me·​ta | \ ˈmā-tä How to pronounce Meta (audio) \

Definition of Meta

river over 620 miles (995 kilometers) long in northeastern Colombia flowing into the Orinoco River on the Venezuela–Colombia boundary

More from Merriam-Webster on meta

Britannica English: Translation of meta for Arabic Speakers


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