A couple weeks ago, weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz sent an email to Ben Zimmer, a language columnist at the Boston Globe.
"Ben," he wrote, "Every 20-something on my staff uses the word 'meta' all the time — as in 'That's so meta.' Did I miss something?"
Zimmer responded with a 400-word mini-essay affirming that, yes, "meta" has indeed been working its way to more popular usage over the last decade or so.
"Everything in the culture, it seems, can instantly become self-referential, self-conscious, and self-parodying, increasingly driven by the frenzied feedback loop of social networking and electronic communication," Zimmer wrote. "Your young staffers take all of this for granted."