meta- or met-
a. Later in time: metestrus.
b. At a later stage of development: metanephros.
2. Situated behind: metacarpus.
a. Change; transformation: metachromatism.
b. Alternation: metagenesis.
a. More comprehensive: meta-analysis.
b. Describing or showing an awareness of the activity that is taking place or being discussed; self-referential: metafiction.
c. At a higher state of development: metazoan.
5. Having undergone metamorphosis: metasomatic.
a. Derived from, as an acid, by dehydration: metaphosphoric acid.
b. 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.
[Greek, from meta, beside, after; see me-2 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.