Meningiomas are the most frequent intracranial tumors. The majority is benign slow-growing tumors but they can be difficult to treat depending on their location and size. While meningiomas are well delineated on magnetic resonance imaging by their uptake of contrast, surgical limitations still present themselves from not knowing the extent of invasion of the dura matter by meningioma cells. The development of tools to characterize tumor tissue in real or near real time could prevent recurrence after tumor resection by allowing for more precise surgery, i.e. removal of tumor with preservation of healthy tissue. The development of ambient ionization mass spectrometry for molecular characterization of tissue and its implementation in the surgical decision-making workflow carry the potential to fulfill this need. Here, we present the characterization of meningioma and dura mater by desorption electrospray ionization mass spectrometry to validate the technique for the molecular assessment of surgical margins and diagnosis of meningioma from surgical tissue in real-time. Nine stereotactically resected surgical samples and three autopsy samples were analyzed by standard histopathology and mass spectrometry imaging. All samples indicated a strong correlation between results from both techniques. We then highlight the value of desorption electrospray ionization mass spectrometry for the molecular subtyping/subgrouping of meningiomas from a series of forty genetically characterized specimens. The minimal sample preparation required for desorption electrospray ionization mass spectrometry offers a distinct advantage for applications relying on real-time information such as surgical decision-making. The technology here was tested to distinguish meningioma from dura mater as an approach to precisely define surgical margins. In addition we classify meningiomas into fibroblastic and meningothelial subtypes and more notably recognize meningiomas with NF2 genetic aberrations.