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meta

1
[ met-uh ]
/ ˈmɛt ə /
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adjective
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.
pertaining to or noting an abstract, high-level analysis or commentary, especially one that consciously references something of its own type.
noun
a consciously and playfully self-referential story, conversation, etc.: That dialogue was an example of meta at its best.
an abstract, high-level analysis or commentary: writing a meta to explain the character’s motivation.
verb (used without object)
to analyze or comment on something in a meta way: I spend more time metaing about the show than actually watching it.
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Origin of meta

1
First recorded in 2010–15; adjective and noun use of meta-

Other definitions for meta (2 of 5)

meta2
[ mee-tuh ]
/ ˈmi tə /

noun, plural me·tae [mee-tee]. /ˈmi ti/.
(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

2
First recorded in 1580–90; from Latin mēta “cone, turning post”

Other definitions for meta (3 of 5)

meta3
[ met-uh ]
/ ˈmɛt ə /

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

Origin of meta

3
First recorded in 1875–80; independent use of meta-

Other definitions for meta (4 of 5)

Meta
[ mee-tuh ]
/ ˈmi tə /

noun
a female given name.

Other definitions for meta (5 of 5)

meta-

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.
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.
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.
Chemistry.
  1. (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-.
  2. a prefix designating the meta position in the benzene ring. Abbreviation: m-.Compare ortho-, para-1.
Also especially before a vowel, met- .

Origin of meta-

From Greek, prefix and preposition; cognate with Old English mid “with,” German mit, Gothic mith
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use meta in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for meta (1 of 2)

Meta
/ (ˈmeɪtə, Spanish ˈmeta) /

noun
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)

meta-

sometimes before a vowel met-


prefix
indicating change, alteration, or alternationmetabolism; metamorphosis
(of an academic discipline, esp philosophy) concerned with the concepts and results of the named disciplinemetamathematics; meta-ethics See also metatheory
occurring or situated behind or aftermetaphase
(often in italics) denoting that an organic compound contains a benzene ring with substituents in the 1,3-positionsmetadinitrobenzene; meta -cresol Abbreviation: m- Compare ortho- (def. 4), para- 1 (def. 6)
denoting an isomer, polymer, or compound related to a specified compound (often differing from similar compounds that are prefixed by para-)metaldehyde
denoting an oxyacid that is a lower hydrated form of the anhydride or a salt of such an acidmetaphosphoric acid Compare ortho- (def. 5)

Word Origin for 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

Medical definitions for meta

meta-

pref.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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