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See also: mémé, même, and mëmë


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Coined by Richard Dawkins in his book The Selfish Gene (1976). Shortened (after gene) from mimeme, from Ancient Greek μίμημα (mímēma, imitation, copy).



meme (plural memes)

  1. Any unit of cultural information, such as a practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another in a comparable way to the transmission of genes.
    • 1976, Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene:
      Examples of memes are tunes, ideas, catch-phrases, clothes fashions, ways of making pots or of building arches.
    • 2002, Rita Carter, Exploring Consciousness, p. 242:
      Related memes tend to form mutually supporting meme-complexes such as religions, political ideologies, scientific theories, and New Age dogmas.
  2. (Internet, slang) Something that is copied and circulated online with slight adaptions, including quizzes, basic pictures, video templates etc. A meme can be a photo or artwork, usually with text, often codified with a distinct white block lettering text on the image. If a particular, standardized image is used, there is a protocol to how it should be used
    • 2005, "darklily", OT: Livejournal (discussion on Internet newsgroup soc.sexuality.general)
      I do...but my journal is a mess. It's mostly filled with memes and my bitching about a house I am building.
    • 2012, Greg Jarboe, You Tube and Video Marketing, 2nd edition:
      The idea was to append Keyboard Cat to the end of a blooper video to "play" that person offstage after a mistake or gaffe, like getting the hook in the days of vaudeville. The meme became popular, Ashton Kutcher tweeted about it to more than 1 million followers, and more than 4,000 such videos have now been made.
    • 2013, The Guardian, (headline), 8 Feb 2013:
      Harlem Shake meme: the new Gangnam Style?

Derived terms[edit]

See also[edit]




meme m (plural memi)

  1. meme



meme m (plural memes)

  1. meme (unit of cultural information)

Tok Pisin[edit]


Reduplication of English meh (onomatopoeia for the sound a goat makes)



  1. goat



meme (definite accusative memeyi, plural memeler)

  1. (anatomy) breast