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[meem] /mim/


verb (used without object), memed, memeing or meming.
to create and spread memes:
He spends a lot of time memeing and sharing his videos with friends.
verb (used with object), memed, memeing or meming.
to make the subject of a meme:
cute cats that get memed.
an idea or element of social behaviour passed on through generations in a culture, esp by imitation

1976, introduced by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in “The Selfish Gene,” coined by him from Greek sources, e.g. mimeisthai “to imitate” (see mime), and intended to echo gene.

We need a name for the new replicator, a noun that conveys the idea of a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation. ‘Mimeme’ comes from a suitable Greek root, but I want a monosyllable that sounds a bit like ‘gene’. I hope my classicist friends will forgive me if I abbreviate mimeme to meme. If it is any consolation, it could alternatively be thought of as being related to ‘memory’, or to the French word même. It should be pronounced to rhyme with ‘cream’. [Richard Dawkins, “The Selfish Gene,” 1976]


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  • Memetic algorithm

    algorithm A genetic algorithm or evolutionary algorithm which includes a non-genetic local search to improve genotypes. The term comes from the Richard Dawkin’s term “meme”. One big difference between memes and genes is that memes are processed and possibly improved by the people that hold them – something that cannot happen to genes. It is […]

  • Memetics

    philosophy /me-met’iks/ The study of memes. As of mid-1993, this is still an extremely informal and speculative endeavor, though the first steps toward at least statistical rigor have been made by H. Keith Henson and others. Memetics is a popular topic for speculation among hackers, who like to see themselves as the architects of the […]

  • Memex

    hypertext Vannevar Bush’s original name for hypertext, which he invented in the 1930s. Fantastic article (http://jefferson.village.virginia.edu/elab/hfl0051.html). (2000-01-09)

  • Memling

    [mem-ling] /ˈmɛm lɪŋ/ noun 1. Hans [hahns] /hɑns/ (Show IPA), c1430–94? German painter of the Flemish school. /ˈmɛmlɪŋ/ noun 1. Hans (hɑns). ?1430–94, Flemish painter of religious works and portraits

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