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 ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.