Definition of metadata
: data that provides information about other data
metadata was our Word of the Day on 05/30/2015. Hear the podcast!
Did You Know?
It's easy to find data on the source of "metadata": the word was formed by combining "data" with "meta-," which means "transcending" and is often used to describe a new but related discipline designed to deal critically with the original one. "Meta-" was first used in that way in "metaphysics" and has been extended to a number of other disciplines, giving us such words as "metapsychology" and "metamathematics." "Metadata" takes the "transcending" aspect a step further, applying it to the concept of pure information instead of a discipline. "Metadata" is a fairly new word (it first appeared in print in 1983), whereas "data" can be traced back to the middle of the 17th century.
First Known Use of metadata
Seen and Heard
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