mimesis

play
noun mi·me·sis \mə-ˈmē-səs, mī-\

Definition of mimesis

mimesis was our Word of the Day on 01/04/2014. Hear the podcast!

Did You Know?

Mimesis is a term with an undeniably classical pedigree. Originally a Greek word, it has been used in aesthetic or artistic theory to refer to the attempt to imitate or reproduce reality since Plato and Aristotle. "Mimesis" is derived from the Greek verb mimeisthai, which means "to imitate" and which itself comes from mimos, meaning "mime." The English word mime also descends from "mimos," as do "mimic" and "mimicry." And what about "mimeograph," the name of the duplicating machine that preceded the photocopier? We can't be absolutely certain what the folks at the A. B. Dick Company had in mind when they came up with "Mimeograph" (a trademark name that has since expired), but influence from "mimos" and its descendants certainly seems probable.

Origin and Etymology of mimesis

Late Latin, from Greek mimēsis, from mimeisthai


First Known Use: circa 1586


Learn More about mimesis


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up mimesis? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a brief usually trivial fact

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ