(Greek, after-physics). The disciples of Aristotle thought that matter or nature should be studied before mind. The Greek for matter or nature is physics, and the science of its causes and effects physics. Meta-physics is the Greek for “after-physics.” Sir James Mackintosh takes a less intentional view of the case, and says the word arose from the mere accident of the compilers who sorted the treatises of Aristotle, and placed that upon mind and intelligence after that upon matter and nature. The science of metaphysics is the consideration of things in the abstract- that is, divested of their accidents, relations, and matter.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894