verb (used without object)
THINK YOU’VE GOT A HANDLE ON THIS US STATE NICKNAME QUIZ?
Origin of meta1
Words nearby meta
Definition for meta (2 of 5)
noun, plural me·tae [mee-tee]. /ˈmi ti/.
Origin of meta2
Definition for meta (3 of 5)
Origin of meta3
Definition for meta (4 of 5)
Definition for meta (5 of 5)
Origin of meta-
BEHIND THE WORD
What does else meta mean?
Meta is when something refers back to or is about itself, like a book about books or a meme about memes.
Where did meta come from?
Meta comes from the Greek prefix and preposition meta, which means “after” or “beyond.” When combined with words in English, meta- often signifies “change” or “alteration” as in the words metamorphic or metabolic.
The prefix meta- is notably used in metaphysics, a form of which is recorded in the 14th century for philosophy concerned with the first principles of things, the nuts and bolts of reality and existence.
Meta-, here, suggests “transcending” or “overarching,” helping it become a synonym for self-referential by the 1980s in postmodernism and popular culture, used for creative works that alluded to their own form, genre, tropes, or other conventions. Think art about art. One early instance, for example, described an appearance of a real-life TV news anchor of Murphy Brown, a sitcom about a fictional anchor, as meta.
In the 1990s–2000s, meta took special root in online gaming communities when discussing the most successful strategies, characters, or weapons. While some claim this meta is an acronym for Most Effective Tactic Available (a folk etymology), it is short for metagaming, using knowledge about the game itself to beat the “game” of mastering that game.
In the late 1990s, metagaming was used in games like Dungeons & Dragons to refer to an in-game character unfairly using information gathered outside of the game world by their player. Meta has gone on, in the gaming world, for anything out of the universe of the game used to affect the universe in the game—cheating, in a nutshell, and making the game less fun for more earnest players.
How to use the term meta
True to its history, meta can be prefixed (e.g., meta-definition). It can act as a simple modifier (e.g., He made a meta comment on Facebook). It’s often used in the predicate, though, as in: that video was so meta.
Examples of meta are often found in fine arts, with, say, paintings of paintings or photographs of photographers.
Popular culture has also gone meta, with cartoons showing their self-awareness as cartoons or films mocking the tropes of film.
The ironic, self-parodying culture of the internet makes it a hotbed for meta.
I haven't been tweeting much today. I suppose this is a meta-tweet, about tweeting.
— Jacqui Cheng (@ejacqui) July 23, 2007
is walking by the Twitter offices in South Park. Oddly meta?
— Chris Messina (@chrismessina) February 5, 2007
Nowhere is this truer than memes, which, when they become quickly popular, instantly get remixed into other memes or into memes about their own viral meme-dom.
More examples of meta:
“One meta joke that didn’t make it into the film, however, would have poked fun at the fact that Benedict Cumberbatch and Robert Downey Jr. have both played a certain turn-of-the-century London-based detective.”
—Josh Weiss, Syfy, August 2018
This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.
Example sentences from the Web for meta
An effective meta description can increase your click-through rates and thus, bring more visitors to your site.Three SEO mistakes that can impact your search rankings|Tereza Litsa|August 24, 2020|Search Engine Watch
“And you can increase your click-through rate, making sure that you’re not only showing in the right position, but the terms that are showing up in search result page for your title your meta descriptions are appealing to consumers,” she said.Why marketers should break SEO strategies into pre- and post-purchase|The Content Studio @ Search Engine Land|August 17, 2020|Search Engine Land
They should appear on URLs, copy, and meta content of your site if you have them.10 Tips to perform in depth local SEO for your business|Jackson Keil|July 20, 2020|Search Engine Watch
The ability to optimize specific elements of the page—page title, URL, meta description, headings, and image alt text—is key.
Many studies have suggested that comics can engage a wide and diverse audience with science subjects, according to a 2018 meta-analysis in the Journal of Science Communication.Real-life scientists inspire these comic book superheroes|Kyle Plantz|June 14, 2020|Science News
Or perhaps Franco, meta-celeb extraordinaire, could star in the movie himself?Kim Jong Un, Avert Your Eyes: Sony’s ‘The Interview’ Gets the Porn Parody Treatment|Aurora Snow|December 20, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Optimization techniques allow people to discover you, just like the meta-text of a website.
Now, in a slightly meta moment, Brunt and Sky News are being harassed by the online community who blame them for her death.Outed Madeleine McCann Troll Kills Herself. But Millions Live On Online.|Barbie Latza Nadeau|October 6, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The clickbait backlash on various forms of social media is not only incredibly meta, but perhaps on first glance, overly dramatic.Saving Us From Ourselves: The Anti-Clickbait Movement|Emily Shire|July 14, 2014|DAILY BEAST
At that point, the call first got meta as those remaining read tweets about the ongoing conference call.
"How very good she must be," said little Meta, quickly and softly; and a tear was sparkling on her eyelashes.
Meta tried to say "thank you," but not succeeding, looked imploringly at her governess, who spoke for her.
Just then a carriage stopped, and from it stepped the pretty little figure of Meta Rivers.
Music followed; Flora played nicely, Meta like a well-taught girl; Ethel went on musing over the engravings.
It was cheerful, and his voice sounded well pleased as he greeted Meta; then resumed an animated talk with Mr. Rivers.