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meta- (also met- before a vowel or h) • comb. form 1. denoting a change of position or condition: metamorphosis metathesis. 2. denoting position behind, after, or beyond: metacarpus. 3. denoting something of a higher or second-order kind: metalanguage metonym. 4. Chem. denoting substitution at two carbon atoms separated by one other in a benzene ring, e.g., in 1,3 positions: metadichlorobenzene. Compare with ortho- and para-1 . 5. Chem. denoting a compound formed by dehydration: metaphosphoric acid.

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meta- From the Greek meta meaning ‘with’ or ‘after’, a prefix implying change and meaning ‘behind’, ‘after’, or ‘beyond’. The prefix may be attached to the name of any rock which has undergone metamorphism. For instance, a basalt which has been metamorphosed may be termed a metabasalt, and a pelitic rock (see PELITE) which has suffered metamorphism may be termed a metapelite.

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meta-, before a vowel usu. met-, before h meth-, repr. Gr. meta-, met-, meth-, comb. form of Gr. metá with, after denoting chiefly sharing, joint action, pursuit, quest, (and esp.) change, corr. to L. TRANS-; used freely (and not always in accordance with Gr. analogy) in scientific terms since c.1850.

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meta- The Greek meta, meaning ‘with’ or ‘after’, used as a prefix implying change and meaning ‘behind’, ‘after’, or ‘beyond’.