Metanira was the wife of Celeüs, king of Eleusis in Attica. If we take the first element of her name Meta- to mean 'in the midst of ' (meta) we then have the problem of 'in the midst of what' or 'in the midst of whom'.

Robert Graves, without any supporting evidence, interprets her name as 'she who lives among maidens', from meta, 'among', a-, 'not' and aner, 'man' (i.e. 'among those who are without a husband').