I saw some expression like the following : "I met a design problem in .... ", is it a right usage of the word "meet". It just sounds odd to me. I would rather use "ran into" or "encountered" instead. Any advice ?
Met a problem is a right usage of meet:
1. to come upon; come into the presence of; encounter: I would meet him on the street at unexpected moments.
That said, encountered a problem or ran into a problem would be more common. Meet simply sounds more reciprocal, where the other two choices only connote activity on your part. Ngrams shows the following:
It is certainly correct to use meet a problem to mean to experience a problem.
I met a problem
sounds a little odd but is perfectly fine. It's metaphorical, an example of personification.
So now you have three choices with different stylistic connotations: - 'met' for metaphorical - 'encountered' is more formal - 'ran in to' is informal (and slightly metaphorical, you problem didn't make physical contact)
"I met a design problem in .... ":
"ran into" or "encountered"
does not make a difference, at least to me, in the meaning conveyed or in sentence construction.
Agreed, the use of meet in such a context may be relatively rare, making it appear out of place. It is not due to a grammatical error. In that sense, it is certainly odd, though not wrong.