1. A prefix meaning between, with, after, behind, over, about, reversely; as, metachronism, the error of placing after the correct time; metaphor, lit., a carrying over; metathesis, a placing reversely.

2. <chemistry> A prefix denoting other; duplicate, corresponding to; resembling; hence, metameric; as, meta-arabinic, metaldehyde.

3. <organic chemistry> 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; as, metacresol, etc. See ortho-, and para-.

4. <inorganic chemistry> Having less than the highest number of hydroxyl groups; said of acids; as, metaphosphoric acid. Also used adjectively.

5. A prefix meaning at a level above, as in metaphysics, metalanguage.

Origin: Gr. meta between, with, after; akin to AS. mid with, G. mit, Goth. mi\'ed, E. mid, in midwife.

(05 Feb 2009)

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