Three expressions:

Someone meets someone

Someone meets something

Something meets someone

I can see that the first expression is commonly used by native speakers. I wonder if the second and the third are also widely use. If so, which one of those two are mostly used (which one is more standard)?

Specific Context:

Plato meets Heraclitus

Plato meets materialism

Materialism meets Plato

I checked a few dictionaries including Longman, Oxford, and Idioms dictionary in which "meet with something" is a correct phrase so I am less unsure about the correctness.

I am not sure if the phrase "someone meets something" is common.

  • 2
    The subject of meet has to be a person (or animal). People meet other people or 'meet' things (come across them for the first time), but things don't meet people. Dec 3, 2021 at 9:05
  • @KateBunting I would mostly agree but sometimes meet is used more generally to mean "encounter", so we have examples like "What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object", and it's not impossible to imagine an example like "When the movie industry met Joe Schmoe."
    – stangdon
    Dec 3, 2021 at 12:30
  • It's "not impossible" to imagine utterances like When the movie industry met Joe Schmoe, but I think that in almost all cases that "inverted" usage would be intended facetiously - implying that Joe Schmoe is of even higher status that "Mighty Muhammad" (If the mountain will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain, but the movie industry must go to meet Joe Schmoe, because he's too big to dance to their tune). Dec 3, 2021 at 14:04
  • In music reviews, it is common to describe a band or a style as "this meets that". Dec 3, 2021 at 14:22
  • @FumbleFingers What about something like: "Only hunger and fear met the refugees upon their arrival in the new country." Or with passive: "When I entered the bakery, I was met by the smell of fresh bread." Those sentences seem correct to me. Dec 3, 2021 at 17:02

1 Answer 1


Usually, when "something meets someone", the writer is personifying the something, usually to be somewhat artistic in their prose.

"The weight of the situation met Alan in that moment and worried him instantly."

Or, more plainly,

"In that moment, the weight of the situation worried Alan."

Most writers would prefer the latter.

  • I think for your first example, it is "something meets someone" rather than "someone meets something"?
    – High GPA
    Dec 4, 2021 at 2:13
  • Yes, thanks, you're right of course. Fixed it. Dec 4, 2021 at 3:02
  • So, what I should learn is that "something meets someone" is uncommon while "someone meets something" is very common?
    – High GPA
    Dec 4, 2021 at 5:31

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