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

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web
Aible’s system starts by using meta-prompts to instruct the large language model to only reference a particular dataset in producing its answer. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, 21 Mar. 2023 The Scream franchise delivers another self-aware sequel in its sixth entry, which takes the series' meta nature to the extreme by having Easter eggs be crucial to the story. Brendan Morrow, The Week, 13 Mar. 2023 Advertisement - Continue Reading Below 4 Add a Baja Shelf Think of a shallow pool within a pool (very meta, right?). Angela Belt, House Beautiful, 3 Mar. 2023 Her performance art is often meta in nature, commenting on itself in real time, a process that affects the outcome of the work itself. Jessica Geltstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 14 Feb. 2023 The piece is delightfully meta-theatrical, a mischievous personal assault on the glittery illusion of showbiz success and a taunting exposé of Berlant’s own ambitions. Peter Marks, Washington Post, 9 Jan. 2023 In a slightly meta video introducing the Goop 2022 gift guide, Paltrow gave audiences a satirical glimpse at the gift guide-making process. Carrie Wittmer, Glamour, 23 Nov. 2022 Then, in a delightfully meta left turn, takes on the MCU’s own formulaic Hollywood architects. Christopher Borrelli, Chicago Tribune, 11 Nov. 2022 Nealon’s characters were meta, possibly disturbed, but, like the creator himself, highly likable. Mike Sacks, The New Yorker, 24 Oct. 2022 See More

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 30 Mar. 2023.

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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