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The META tag can be used for many things. It's used for giving info on a website, or for autmatically refreshing pages. All the META tags go between the HEAD statements, before or after the TITLE tags. There are six main types of META tags used, as outlined below:

<META http-equiv="refresh" content="#; url=http://www.zzz.com">

# is the number of seconds to wait before it auto refreshes. It tells the browser to go to http://www.htmlshop.com in that # of seconds. So if you had content="4; url="http://www.blah.com" then the page it's on would take four seconds to reload to www.blah.com.
<META name="keywords" content="keyword keyword2 keyword3">

This tag tells search engines what keywords are present in your page, instead of just looking at the title of your page. Only a few engines support this tag, such as Altavista and Excite. Also, some of these engines have blockers that if you include too many of the same keywords it will disregard your page. content="html meta center tutorials" is an example of keywords that this page might use.
<META name="description" content="Enter a description here">

A search engine that can pick up the keywords in your site also can use this area to put in its description area. The description attribute can contain up to 1,000 letters. content="This site is an HTML resource center." could be a description for this page.
<META name="generator" content="The generator">

This tag is mainly used so the HTML editor used to create the page can say so.

<META name="author" content="author's name">

A tag to display who the author of the site is.

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