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.
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Also especially before a vowel, met-.
Origin of meta-
< 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. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for meta-
sometimes before a vowel met-
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
Medicine definitions for meta-
Later in time:metestrus.
At a later stage of development:metanephros.
Beyond; transcending; more comprehensive:metapsychology.
At a higher state of development:metazoan.
Having undergone metamorphosis:metamyelocyte.
Derivative or related chemical substance:metaprotein.
Of or relating to one of three possible isomers of a benzene ring with two attached chemical groups, in which the carbon atoms with attached groups are separated by one unsubstituted carbon atom. Usually used in italic:meta-dibromobenzene.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.