Definition of mimesis in English:



technical, formal
  • 1[mass noun] Imitation, in particular.

    1. 1.1Imitative representation of the real world in art and literature.
      ‘Barth has always detached his use of plot from mimesis’
      • ‘With modernism and the avant-garde, postmodernists reject realism, mimesis, and linear forms of narrative.’
      • ‘If Durer's art is one of representation, in which the role of mimesis is paramount, Grunewald's is an expressive art akin to poetry or music.’
      • ‘Dynamic repetition cannot be effectively portrayed, but can be performed in or by a literary text; in the place of mimesis, the literature of sensibility strives to develop such a performative aesthetic.’
      • ‘The founding discovery of modernism has often been defined as the detachability of art from representation, from mimesis in the Aristotelian sense of unproblematic imitation.’
      • ‘More than a sheer representation of nature, mimesis, as an integrating part of the poetic function in fables, adds a tangible and active dimension to human tragedy.’
    2. 1.2The deliberate imitation of the behaviour of one group of people by another as a factor in social change.
      ‘culture is organized in terms of mimesis and desire’
      • ‘For the Greeks and the Romans memory had an intellectual and cognitive function, and therefore mimesis, as a tool of social memory, relies on cognitive abilities, human or animal.’
      • ‘What impact mimesis might have on behaviour has been tendentious since Plato banished poets from the republic, yet we still lack a coherent theory for what exactly this impact would entail.’
      • ‘Firstly, she explores issues to do with authenticity and replication, then mimesis, and finally the connections between work, leisure, learning and pleasure.’
      • ‘The role of mimesis in constituting desire, however, is usually hidden from awareness, since humans like to think of their desires as original and spontaneous.’
      • ‘While Sartre is clear about the politics of U.S.A.'s style, though, he fails to examine the novel's psychology, even as he at least suggests the general predicament concerning its characters at large can be explained in terms of mimesis.’
    3. 1.3Zoology
      another term for mimicry
      • ‘Since the latter half of the 19th century different modes of floral mimesis have been identified within all major lineages of angiosperms pollinated by some members of the Orders Coleoptera, Diptera, Hymenoptera and Lepidoptera.’
      • ‘The mimesis of the Cuckoo egg in relation to host eggs was estimated from the slides.’


Mid 16th century: from Greek mimēsis, from mimeisthai to imitate.