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Old 03-08-2009, 07:48 AM   #1
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Why is this term so popular?

I know it comes from the Greek, meaning “with, across, or after.” In English it has generally combined with other words as a modifier that generally conveys its original Greek meaning:
  • It means change, as in (metamorphosis).
  • Or relative physical position (metatarsal).
  • Or a higher or secondary order of something (metaphysics).
  • In computer parlance it turns up in metafile, a format that can be used by different software or platforms.
  • And it refers to keyboard keys that perform a function with simultaneous use of a second key (metakey).
  • And it is used to describe a cancer that has moved from its source to other organs (metastasize).

Busy little prefix, but I get all that.

But “meta” all by itself? As in the sidebar of a WordPress theme? As in the name of a large type family by Erik Spiekermann? As in the title of a book review in today’s New York Times?

It is kind of ambiguous to stand on its own, n’est-ce pas?


Last edited by ktinkel; 03-08-2009 at 11:13 AM. Reason: fixed my error
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