Etymology
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metacarpus (n.)

"the middle bones of the hand," 1650s, Modern Latin, from Greek metakarpion, from meta "between; next after" (see meta-) + karpos "wrist" (see carpus). In humans, the part of the hand between the wrist and the fingers or thumb (corresponding to the metatarsus of the foot). Related: Metacarpal.

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metatarsal (adj.)

"of or pertaining to the metatarsus," 1739, from metatarsus "middle bones of the foot" (early 15c.), from Medieval Latin metatarsus, from meta "between, next after" (see meta-) + tarsus (see tarsus (n.)). As a noun, "a metatarsal bone," by 1854.

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metic (n.)

"resident alien in an ancient Greek state," 1808, from Late Latin metycus, from Greek metoikos, literally "one who has changed his residence," from meta "change" (see meta-) + oikos "dwelling," from oikein "to dwell" (from PIE root *weik- (1) "clan"). Generally they bore the burdens of a citizen and had some of a citizen's privileges.

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metabolism (n.)

1878 in the physiology sense of "the sum of the chemical changes within the body by which the protoplasm is renewed, changed, or prepared for excretion," from French métabolisme, from Greek metabole "a change," from metaballein "to change," from meta "change" (see meta-) + ballein "to throw" (from PIE root *gwele- "to throw, reach"). The word also has been used in theology, poetics, and entomology.

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metathesis (n.)

1570s, in grammar, "transposition of letters in a word;" c. 1600, "rhetorical transposition of words," from Late Latin metathesis, from Greek metathesis "change of position, transposition, change of opinion," from stem of metatithenai "to transpose," from meta "change" (see meta-) + tithenai "to place, to set," from reduplicated form of PIE root *dhe- "to set, put." Plural is metatheses. Related: Metathetic; metathetical.

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metaphrastic (adj.)

"close or literal in translation," 1752, from Greek metaphrastikos "paraphrastic," from metaphrasis "paraphrase," from metaphrazein "to paraphrase, translate," from meta- "change" (see meta-) + phrazein "to tell, declare, point out, show" (see phrase (n.)). Metaphrasis as "a translation," especially one done word-by-word, is in English from 1560s. Related: Metaphrastical; metaphrastically (1570s).

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metastasis (n.)

"change of substance, conversion of one substance into another," 1570s, originally in rhetoric, from Late Latin metastasis "transition," from Greek metastasis "a removing, removal; migration; a changing; change, revolution," from methistanai "to remove, change," from meta, here indicating "change" (see meta-) + histanai "to place, cause to stand," from PIE root *sta- "to stand, make or be firm." A rhetorical term in Late Latin for "a sudden transition in subjects," medical use for "shift of disease from one part of the body to another" dates from 1660s in English. Related: Metastatic.

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metempsychosis (n.)

1580s, "passing of the soul at death into another body, human or animal," from Late Latin metempsychosis, from Greek metempsychosis, from meta, here indicating "change" (see meta-) + empsykhoun "to put a soul into," from en "in" (see in- (2)) + psychē "soul" (see psyche). A Pythagorean word for transmigration of souls at death. Related: Metempsychose (v.) "transfer from one body to another" (1590s).

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metamorphosis (n.)

1530s, "change of form or structure, action or process of changing in form," originally especially by witchcraft, from Latin metamorphosis, from Greek metamorphōsis "a transforming, a transformation," from metamorphoun "to transform, to be transfigured," from meta, here indicating "change" (see meta-) + morphē "shape, form," a word of uncertain etymology.

The biological sense of "extensive transformations an animal (especially an insect) undergoes after it leaves the egg" is from 1660s. As the title of Ovid's work, late 14c., Metamorphoseos, from Latin Metamorphoses (plural).

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metonymy (n.)

in rhetoric, a trope or figure of speech in which the name of one thing is substituted for that of another that is suggested by or closely associated with it (such as the bottle for "alcoholic drink," the Kremlin for "the Russian government"); 1560s, from French métonymie (16c.) and directly from Late Latin metonymia, from Greek metōnymia, literally "change of name," related to metonomazein "to call by a new name; to take a new name," from meta "change" (see meta-) + onyma, dialectal form of onoma "name" (from PIE root *no-men- "name"). It often serves to call up associations not suggested by the literal name. Related: Metonymic; metonymical; metonymically.

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