Definition of mimic in English:



  • 1 Imitate (someone or their actions or words), especially in order to entertain or ridicule.

    ‘she mimicked Eileen's pedantic voice’
    • ‘When he was a kid he loved mimicking people which had us in stitches.’
    • ‘He started mimicking someone using a machine gun.’
    • ‘His first disc, while enjoyable, mimicked his late father's style but not the muscle, majesty and political bite.’
    • ‘I've just mimicked him all my life, so he was a herpetologist, one who studies reptiles…’
    • ‘He began to laugh, and then raised his voice about an octave higher to mimic my mom.’
    • ‘Since I appeared on the A.B.C. my 8 year old grandson Joshua has started mimicking me, I think it's great!’
    • ‘Shatrughan Sinha had heard for several months that some guy called Johnny Lever mimics him in stage shows.’
    • ‘Born in Lancashire, Jon realised his talent for impersonations as a child - mimicking the teachers at school!’
    • ‘There was also some more material when we see Sellers mimicking other people, like the director Blake Edwards or his mother, Peg.’
    • ‘Mary screams in horror and the girls mimic her every word.’
    • ‘His stunt mimics magician David Blaine's attempt to survive 72 days in a glass box above London but Michael decided he would use the idea to raise cash for charity.’
    • ‘I found myself mimicking her sobbing-plus-laughing routine in the auditorium.’
    • ‘Hundreds of Elvis impersonators mimic the late King's suggestive pelvic thrust and wear the now-iconic blue suede shoes.’
    • ‘Angie, Kasie, Nate and I all make a game of trying to mimic someone else's voice and hoping Dad does not recognize us.’
    • ‘Lambert doesn't believe in mimicking real-life characters he plays.’
    • ‘You can get ideas for some cool moves without totally mimicking someone.’
    • ‘Ustinov was performing at the age of three, mimicking politicians of the day when his parents invited Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie for dinner.’
    • ‘Also appearing is Jeremy London, the '90s teen heartthrob with a bad accent mimicking the guests of Jerry Springer.’
    • ‘‘He mimics me and my style,’ Jayaram says about his son, just like what I used to do in my childhood.’
    • ‘It sounded like they had just heard this kid crying and they were kind of laughing at what had happened, mimicking him.’
    imitate, copy, impersonate, do an impression of, take off, do an impersonation of, do, ape, caricature, mock, make fun of, parody, satirize, lampoon, burlesque, travesty
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    1. 1.1(of an animal or plant) resemble or imitate (another animal or plant) to deter predators or for camouflage.
      ‘wild potatoes mimic an aphid alarm signal’
      ‘tiger beetles are mimicked by grasshoppers’
      • ‘It mimics birds, bats or pterodactyls of the dinosaur era, and has membranous wings.’
      • ‘The supposedly sterile farm fish would mimic spawners, and pair up with fertile wildies, negating that year's reproductive cycle.’
      • ‘Flower extract and mandibular gland secretion both contained geraniol, nerol, and E, E-farnesol, indicating that the orchid mimics the bee's secretion.’
      • ‘A variety of insects, including some beetles and moths, mimic bees and wasps.’
      • ‘Weeds mimic plants, viruses trick the immune system, birds build nests and predators stalk - all engaging in strategies so successful that they look, but cannot possibly be, intentional.’
      • ‘There is no denying that they are manipulative - they are famous for their ability to mimic moths, wasps and bees to cheat insects into having sex with them.’
      • ‘The caterpillars, which mimic the larva of M. sabuleti, are carried into the nest by the workers, where they then feed on the ant larvae.’
      • ‘When mimicking a mantis shrimp, for example, the octopus sits in a burrow with only the eyes and part of the head exposed, and wraps one tentacle around its head to resemble the folded raptorial appendages of the mantis shrimp.’
      • ‘The value of defenses such as spines or sticky hairs, the regurgitation of plant toxins on an enemy, and the ability to mimic a snake is easy to imagine.’
      • ‘An Australian orchid uses pheromones mimicking a female wasp to attract male wasps - but not all of them are fooled.’
      • ‘The study suggests that Luna also mimicked other killer whales he occasionally came across.’
      • ‘The ruse works so successfully that some 30 other non-venomous snakes have mimicked the coral snake and share similar color patterns.’
      • ‘Insects mimic twigs and flower parts, the sexual partners or foods of their prey, whatever is poisonous to those for whom they themselves are prey.’
      • ‘Thus, several kinds of king snakes mimic the venomous coral snake's distinctive pattern of alternating red, black, and yellow or white bands.’
      • ‘The mimic finally stumbled upon a vacant hole and squeezed inside; in a last ditch effort at threat display, it extended two sinuous tentacles 180 degrees apart, mimicking a snake!’
      • ‘The orchid Chiloglottis trapeziformis belongs to a group of about 300 species that lure pollinators by mimicking a female insect.’
      resemble, look like, have on the appearance of, take on the appearance of, simulate, mirror, echo
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    2. 1.2(of a drug) replicate the physiological effects of (another substance)
      ‘the drug ephedrine mimics noradrenaline’
      • ‘Some of these chemicals may mimic hormones, thereby disrupting the endocrine system.’
      • ‘Another exceptionally useful trace mineral to combat diabetes is vanadium, which lowers blood sugar by mimicking insulin and improving the cells' sensitivity to insulin.’
      • ‘Treatment with the histidine modifying reagent DEPC largely mimics the effects of low pH i.’
      • ‘New research has found that buckwheat extract contains a powerful ingredient called chiroinositol, which mimics the effects of insulin.’
      • ‘Caffeine might mimic a stimulating antidepressant such as fluoxetine (Prozac).’
      • ‘Environmental groups also want the FDA to require companies to disclose the use of phthalates and compounds that mimic hormones on plastic container labels.’
      • ‘Exendin - 4 mimics a mammalian hormone known as glucagon-like peptide, which regulates insulin release and glucose uptake from the blood after a meal.’
      • ‘That's because one of the ways it achieves its healthful effects is by mimicking the female sex hormone.’
      • ‘The responses of roots of both cultivars to mechanical probing and to exoenzymes, used to mimic nematode chemical secretions, were also examined.’
      • ‘Sometimes mimicking natural hormones like estrogen, they alter other hormone concentrations.’
      • ‘Once extracted from these natural sources, the hormones are refined to mimic the human hormone molecule.’
      • ‘Many manufactured chemicals mimic natural hormones and send false messages.’
      • ‘Why the absence of a motor protein should mimic the effects of a drug that presumably inhibits F-actin assembly remains a mystery.’
      • ‘In an extreme case of sex fakery, an orchid produces oddball chemicals that mimic a female wasp's allure so well that males prefer the floral scents to the real thing, scientists say.’
      • ‘Nonylphenol is an alkylphenol that mimics estrogen and disrupts sexual development in some invertebrates.’
      • ‘We have long known that a variety of species are responsive to pheromones produced by plants to mimic sex pheromones.’
      • ‘To take the guesswork out of timing spray applications, Trece designed a trap with a kairomone - a scent that mimics the adult beetle's favorite food.’
      • ‘They can also be molecular (when, for example, a compound that mimics a hormone alters gene expression) or social.’
      • ‘Further tests showed that eleutherobin mimics taxol's very unusual method of blocking cell division.’
      • ‘This is unlikely given that the ATP effect was mimicked by ADP, and was also completely insensitive to oligomycin.’
    3. 1.3(of a disease) exhibit symptoms that bear a deceptive resemblance to those of (another disease)
      ‘bacterial meningitis can present with acute disturbance of behaviour which may closely mimic substance abuse’
      • ‘There are fears that BSE in sheep could mimic scrapie, which passes easily by horizontal infection from sheep to sheep.’
      • ‘Hantavirus infections can appear clinically uncharacteristic and may mimic other syndromes.’
      • ‘Mentioning that other conditions, such as thyroid disease, can mimic the symptoms of depression may help further persuade your loved one to seek treatment.’
      • ‘Recent research has demonstrated the toxicity of aluminium; in fact many of the symptoms of aluminium toxicity can mimic Alzheimer's disease.’
      • ‘The thyroid-stimulating hormone level should be checked routinely because hypothyroidism can mimic the symptoms of fibromyalgia.’
      • ‘The symptoms are many and varied, and the illness often seems to mimic other diseases.’
      • ‘Fungal or mycobacterial infections usually have an indolent and protracted course but can mimic bacterial arthritis.’
      • ‘Hansen's disease can mimic tinea corporis by presenting as one or more annular, sometimes scaly, plaques.’
      • ‘Pulmonary KS may cause radiographic infiltrates and respiratory symptoms that mimic a variety of other infectious and neoplastic processes.’
      • ‘There are a couple of things which can present with massive splenomegaly in the context of granulomatous disorders and may occasionally mimic other syndromes.’
      • ‘Gastroduodenal tuberculosis may mimic peptic ulcer disease with a shorter duration of history and non response to anti-secretary therapy 18.’
      • ‘A cavitating tumor or post obstructive pneumonitis mimics a primary infection or abscess and can produce symptoms of fever, chills and productive cough.’
      • ‘Asthma symptoms vary widely and may mimic other childhood diseases.’
      • ‘Because other entities may mimic tinea infection, treatment should not be initiated on the basis of clinical presentation alone.’
      • ‘Other conditions that may mimic pancreatic cancer include chronic pancreatitis and choledocholithiasis.’
      • ‘This is a complicated issue for the elderly because HIV and AIDS are often misdiagnosed in this population, as symptoms often mimic other illnesses.’
      • ‘Congenital toxoplasmosis can mimic disease caused by organisms such as herpes simplex virus, cytomegalovirus, and rubella virus.’
      • ‘It is common, benign, and may mimic other common illnesses.’
      • ‘Acute eosinophilic pneumonia, a rare and often fatal form of the disease that has developed in soldiers serving in and near Iraq, mimics community-acquired pneumonia.’
      • ‘Rarely, human immunodeficiency virus infection and opportunistic infections can mimic MS.’


  • 1A person skilled in imitating the voice or actions of others in an entertaining way.

    ‘he has great ability as a mimic’
    • ‘Ryan [her actor husband, Ryan Philipe] is a natural mimic so it took three days for him to learn his Scottish accent for Gosford Park, while it took me two months.’
    • ‘She says just - I mean, she repeats everything, like a little mimic.’
    • ‘Prasad rues that during the nascent stages of mimics, a well-appreciated performance on the stage was the ultimate dream of a mimicry artiste.’
    • ‘Of course the Zambian public has seen great mimics in the likes of the late Cletus Chanda, Ben Phiri and the hyper-talented Ozzias Banda, and would therefore not consider the former Kabanana actor as a great mimic.’
    • ‘I was always a mimic as a child, and that was my dream; to be in - you know, I wished I was in Vaudeville or something, doing different sketches.’
    • ‘The sheer multitude of vocal tones that a gifted mimic like Roth (the author) is able to conjure up is extraordinary.’
    • ‘Hopkins imitates other actors - he's a genius mimic - Sean Connery, Richard Burton, Pierce Brosnan.’
    • ‘And his friends knew him as a highly entertaining mimic and raconteur.’
    • ‘His ability as a mimic enabled him to copy Gandhi's voice intonations virtually perfectly.’
    • ‘As a gifted mimic and notorious perfectionist, she would later become the most respected female actor of her generation.’
    • ‘Nor did we expect him to be so talented a mimic; he can imitate both of us, just as he can imitate break dancers and gymnasts and snakes and lemurs.’
    • ‘Sedellah, of Hope Street, beat off competition from young mimics from all over the country to reach the grand final of the 2002 Haribo search for the best young impressionist.’
    • ‘In fact, entertainers have become versatile mimics of accents they weren't born with.’
    • ‘A great mimic of voice and gesture, Mogulesco could impersonate anyone: rich, poor, male, female, elder, youth.’
    • ‘The mimics, however, have hotly defended their artistic freedom to lampoon anyone, however big.’
    • ‘He had a wonderful ear for detail in people's voices and was an excellent mimic.’
    • ‘Comedy genius Sellers, famed for his talent as a mimic, gets the lofty laurel of ‘the most accurate’ Scottish accent captured on film.’
    • ‘She described Brian as a great mimic, who hilariously had shown a remarkable ability to imitate anyone, including his mum and dad.’
    • ‘The main problem is that unlike, say, Billie Holiday, Joe Henry is more a faithful mimic than the genuine article.’
    • ‘But just as Rush delights in mimicking a mimic this movie remains all on the surface of things - in love with only the simulacrum of Sellers and his life.’
    impersonator, impressionist, imitator, mimicker
    parodist, caricaturist, lampooner, lampoonist
    copier, copyist
    ape, zany
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    1. 1.1An animal or plant that mimics another.
      ‘how did these insects evolve to become such perfect mimics?’
      • ‘Thus, the similarity of the mimic O. israelitica to the model was higher with regard to the display size than those of O. boryi and O. caspia.’
      • ‘‘There should be a larger cone of protection around more toxic species,’ which gives mimics room to evolve new color patterns.’
      • ‘Pfennig, the University of North Carolina biologist, added that this aversion to mimics has been seen in other species as the result of genetics.’
      • ‘Rettenmeyer was keen to find the beetles again, to take their photographs, to watch their behavior - in short, to understand how and why they came to be such exquisite mimics.’
      • ‘The best known mimics in the animal world are birds.’
      • ‘The ashy drongo does a wonderful call imitation of the shikra, but one such mimic spoilt the effect somewhat by hunting down a butterfly and making a messy job of de-winging it before breakfasting.’
      • ‘Tui are of course mimics, and on Tiri they copy bellbirds.’
      • ‘Yellow-throated sneaker males are female mimics and cuckold orange males at a high rate.’
      • ‘One notable and prized attribute of these little black and yellow beauties is they are brilliant mimics.’
      • ‘Besides the chance of spotting a wombat, Girraween also is home to that ultimate mimic, the lyrebird, and the wonderful powerful owl, which eats whole possums and throws away their tails.’
      • ‘This female mimic swims between a mating pair just as the dominant male is about to fertilize the female's eggs and fertilizes some of them himself.’
      • ‘In particular, one widely held belief is that there should always be strong selection pressure on mimics to resemble their models as closely as possible.’
      • ‘A lone killer whale near a Canadian fishing village was a skilled mimic that barked just like a sea lion, a new study reveals.’
      • ‘These two ideas have been remarkably powerful in explaining animal behaviour, particularly that of the social insects (and their creepy mammalian mimics, the naked mole rats).’
      • ‘As a member of the mynah family, it is a skilled mimic.’
      • ‘Researchers say ongoing analyses of the recordings have not yet enabled them to rule out other potential sound sources, such as the calls of blue jays, which are notorious mimics.’
      • ‘Starlings are intelligent and adaptable, and are capable mimics.’
      • ‘Magpies have long been known as clever mimics, not afraid to tackle the call of another species of bird, or even the sound of a tractor, but Gisela Kaplan has enormous respect for them for other reasons.’
      • ‘A similar explanation has been proposed for other animal mimics that show evidence of vocal learning.’
      • ‘The mimic dips on his side and quivers just as the female does when she discharges her eggs.’


  • [attributive] Imitative of something.

    ‘they were waging mimic war’
    • ‘A few yards away, the remainder of the group was kneeling in a semicircle, worshipping the god among cephalopods - the mimic octopus!’
    • ‘The contours show combinations of mimic phenotypes that are attacked by predators with equal probability.’
    • ‘The question was, what was the mimic octopus pretending to be?’
    • ‘Yes well you're probably thinking of the mimic cleaner wrasse there.’
    • ‘Each household became a mimic republic, in which slaves held first rank.’
    • ‘A large mimic octopus [right] was sitting at the centre of a perfect round skirt made of its arms.’
    • ‘They were around us throughout the dive at such close distance, making it impossible for us to concentrate on searching for the mimic octopus.’
    • ‘If the competitor strategy is strong, the mimic strategy will inevitably be second best.’
    • ‘‘Yes, sir, here they are,’ Dirga's first officer handed out the mimic devices to the units.’
    • ‘Michael spoke in a mimic English accent as the lights began to dim.’
    simulated, mock, imitation, make-believe, sham, imitative, mimetic
    pretend, copycat
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Late 16th century (as noun and adjective): via Latin from Greek mimikos, from mimos mime.