What Does Meta Mean?

Meta refers to an active conceptual or functional component that is not visible. Programming languages, especially HTML, use the meta prefix to describe related terms. HTML defines meta as structural coding elements that are used extensively to provide detailed Web page information, like breaking down the structure of a Web page for understanding and clarity.


The Greek meta prefix translates as "hidden" in the English language.

Techopedia Explains Meta

In programming, meta is used to define postfix notations, related words, different types of Web page elements or HTML meta tags denoted by meta identifiers. Metadata defines data that is about data, including production origin, time and format.

The meta prefix is noted in HTML-based Web pages to delineate a page’s different components. According to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), HTML meta tag elements define the description, keywords, author and other details related to a Web page. Meta tags always reside in the head element section, which is used to describe a Web page.

Meta tag implementation components include meta keywords, meta descriptions and meta owners.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.