meta

1 of 2

adjective

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 (www.metacrawler.com).Steve Lawrence

meta-

2 of 2

prefix

variants or met-
1
a
: 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
4
a
: 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

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

independent use of meta-

Prefix

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

Adjective

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.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/meta. Accessed 7 Feb. 2023.

Medical Definition

meta

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

meta-

2 of 2 prefix
variants or met-
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

Geographical Definition

Meta

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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