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meta- +‎ (uni)verse. In the sci-fi sense coined by writer Neal Stephenson in 1992.[1]


  • IPA(key): /ˈmɛtəvɜː(ɹ)s/
  • (file)


metaverse (plural metaverses)

  1. (science fiction, Internet) A hypothetical future (counterpart or continuation of the) Internet, created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical reality and physically persistent virtual space.
    • 1997 July 7, Zina Moukheiber, “The geeks have inherited the earth”, in Forbes, ISSN 0015-6914, pages 354–356:
      It is closer, in other words, to another science fiction vision, the “metaverse” Neal Stephenson envisioned in his 1992 Snow Crash. That particular moniker has not caught on, but many of Stephenson's ideas about what the on-line world can look like are driving a new generation of entrepreneurs to try to match it.
    • 2020 May 15, Keith Stuart, “Fortnite Party Royale is the most fun you can have in the metaverse”, in The Guardian[1]:
      But now, with 350 million players who are used to hanging out in a vibrant, ridiculous online world filled with dancing bananas and cartoon skirmishes, Party Royale could be the experience that finally realises the idea of a playful, mass participation online metaverse.
    • 2021 July 10, John Herrman; Kellen Browning, “Are We in the Metaverse Yet?”, in The New York Times[2], ISSN 0362-4331:
      Video games like Roblox and Fortnite and Animal Crossing: New Horizons, in which players can build their own worlds, have metaverse tendencies, as does most social media. If you own a non-fungible token or even just some crypto, you’re part of the metaversal experience. Virtual and augmented reality are, at a minimum, metaverse adjacent.
    • 2021 July 30, Brian Merchant, “The Metaverse Has Always Been a Dystopian Idea”, in VICE[3]:
      In the world of Snow Crash, the metaverse is not viewed as particularly cool—it is necessary, because the real world has become so unbearable.
  2. A set or the composite of all universes.
    Synonym: multiverse
    • 2003, Ervin Laszlo, The Connectivity Hypothesis, page 108:
      A single-cycle universe comes to eternal rest. But further instabilities in the virtual energy domain may occur, and some of these may be potent enough to create new universes. The thesis of a metaverse giving rise to local universes is cogent, []

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  1. ^ Neal Stephenson (1992) Snow Crash, New York: Bantam Books, →ISBN, page 24: “So Hiro’s not actually here at all. He’s in a computer-generated universe that his computer is drawing onto his goggles and pumping into his earphones. In the lingo, this imaginary place is known as the Metaverse.”