Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • Later in time: metestrus.
  • At a later stage of development: metanephros.
  • Situated behind: metacarpus.
  • Change; transformation: metachromatism.
  • Alternation: metagenesis.
  • Beyond; transcending; more comprehensive: metalinguistics.
  • At a higher state of development: metazoan.
  • Having undergone metamorphosis: metasomatic.
  • 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: meta-dibromobenzene.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • transcending, encompassing
  • Pertaining to a level above or beyond. For example, metadata is data that describes data, metalanguage is language that describes language, etc.
  • Having analogies with metaphysics
  • Consequent on
  • Behind
  • Later or subsequent
  • Analogies and derivatives of metamorphism
  • Having fewer molecules of water than the ortho- equivalent
  • in isomeric benzene derivatives, having the two substituents in alternate positions; contrasted with ortho- and para-

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • A prefix meaning between, with, after, behind, over, about, reversely
  • Other; duplicate, corresponding to; resembling; hence, metameric.
  • That two replacing radicals, in the benzene nucleus, occupy the relative positions of 1 and 3, 2 and 4, 3 and 5, 4 and 6, 5 and 1, or 6 and 2; See Ortho-, and Para-.
  • Having less than the highest number of hydroxyl groups; -- said of acids. Also used adjectively.
  • A prefix meaning at a level above, as in metaphysics, metalanguage.

Etymologies

Greek, from meta, beside, after.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Ancient Greek μετά (meta). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Apparently the vagus nerve is sort of a meta- nerve that transits much of the longitudinal axis of the body.

    Like Counting Raindrops

  • It's an exercise in meta- and all the other pseudo-intellectual, self-referential terms that critics toss around when a movie isn't actually about anything.

    Marshall Fine: HuffPost Review: Rubber

  • The prefix meta- means “higher” or “more comprehensive.”

    Now What?

  • The extreme bending of light that makes spatial cloaking possible requires optical meta- materials made through nanotechnology.

    www.startribune.com

  • The increase in the risk of cancer was based on a meta- analysis of the 26 epidemiological studies.

    BusinessWeek.com -- Top News

  • Because I am fascinated by form and the various funny meta- languages it can speak in a poem, I’ve always found a natural ars poetica in the practice of yoga.

    The Best American Poetry 2010

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