[ met-uh ]

  1. pertaining to or noting a story, conversation, character, etc., that consciously references or comments upon its own subject or features, often in the form of parody: A movie about making a movie is just so meta—especially when the actors criticize the acting.

  2. pertaining to or noting an abstract, high-level analysis or commentary, especially one that consciously references something of its own type.

  1. a consciously and playfully self-referential story, conversation, etc.: That dialogue was an example of meta at its best.

  2. an abstract, high-level analysis or commentary: writing a meta to explain the character’s motivation.

verb (used without object)
  1. to analyze or comment on something in a meta way: I spend more time metaing about the show than actually watching it.

Origin of meta

First recorded in 2010–15; adjective and noun use of meta-

Words Nearby meta

Other definitions for meta (2 of 6)

[ mee-tuh ]

noun,plural me·tae [mee-tee]. /ˈmi ti/.
  1. (in ancient Rome) a column or post, or a group of columns or posts, placed at each end of a racetrack to mark the turning places.

Origin of meta

First recorded in 1580–90; from Latin mēta “cone, turning post”

Other definitions for meta (3 of 6)

[ met-uh ]

  1. pertaining to or occupying two positions (1, 3) in the benzene ring that are separated by one carbon atom.

Origin of meta

First recorded in 1875–80; independent use of meta-

Other definitions for meta (4 of 6)

[ met-uh ]

  1. a shortened form of metamour.

Origin of meta

First recorded in 2010–15

Other definitions for Meta (5 of 6)

[ mee-tuh ]

  1. a female given name.

Other definitions for meta- (6 of 6)


  1. a prefix appearing in loanwords from Greek, with the meanings “after,” “along with,” “beyond,” “among,” “behind,” and productive in English on the Greek model: metacarpus; metagenesis.

  2. a prefix added to the name of a subject and designating another subject that analyzes the original one but at a more abstract, higher level: metaphilosophy; metalinguistics.

  1. a prefix added to the name of something that consciously references or comments upon its own subject or features: a meta-painting of an artist painting a canvas.

  2. Chemistry.

    • (of acids, salts, or their organic derivatives) a prefix denoting the least hydrated of a series: meta-antimonic, HSbO3;meta-antimonous, HSbO2.: Compare ortho-, pyro-.

    • a prefix designating the meta position in the benzene ring. Abbreviation: m-.: Compare ortho-, para-1.

Origin of meta-

From Greek, prefix and preposition; cognate with Old English mid “with,” German mit, Gothic mith
  • Also especially before a vowel, met- . Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use meta in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for Meta (1 of 2)


/ (ˈmeɪtə, Spanish ˈmeta) /

  1. a river in Colombia, rising in the Andes and flowing northeast and east, forming part of the border between Colombia and Venezuela, to join the Orinoco River. Length: about 1000 km (620 miles)

British Dictionary definitions for meta- (2 of 2)


  1. indicating change, alteration, or alternation: metabolism; metamorphosis

  2. (of an academic discipline, esp philosophy) concerned with the concepts and results of the named discipline: metamathematics; meta-ethics See also metatheory

  1. occurring or situated behind or after: metaphase

  2. (often in italics) denoting that an organic compound contains a benzene ring with substituents in the 1,3-positions: metadinitrobenzene; meta -cresol Abbreviation: m- Compare ortho- (def. 4), para- 1 (def. 6)

  3. denoting an isomer, polymer, or compound related to a specified compound (often differing from similar compounds that are prefixed by para-): metaldehyde

  4. denoting an oxyacid that is a lower hydrated form of the anhydride or a salt of such an acid: metaphosphoric acid Compare ortho- (def. 5)

Origin of meta-

Greek, from meta with, after, between, among. Compare Old English mid, mith with, Old Norse meth with, between

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012