One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1An element of a culture or system of behavior that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, especially imitation.
- ‘While genes compete to get copied when plants and animals reproduce, memes compete to get stored in our memories and passed on to someone else.’
- ‘The gene explains natural evolution and survival, while the meme explains cultural evolution and survival.’
- ‘As the building blocks of culture, memes influence every aspect of human behaviour.’
- ‘As people's skill at imitation increased, those memes that were good at getting copied would have spread far and wide.’
- ‘Benzon is dismissive of accounts of evolution of culture that rely on memes being intentional states.’
- 1.1 A humorous image, video, piece of text, etc., that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users.
- ‘Tracks tech memes, and people play the game of jumping on the hottest stories to try to build traffic.’
- ‘The Shaun Squad site of itself is not a meme, and never could be a meme, because it is inherently unlinkable.’
- ‘The "news" was often flippant, being about internet memes and strange events, and the "newscaster" was flippant, too.’
- ‘He says the appeal of the biggest memes is simple, basic humour.’
- ‘What if you could get the originator of every major internet meme in the same room?’
- ‘The latest meme to infect the internet features footage of Fatso the keyboard-playing cat.’
- ‘It's forum has spawned many memes and more than its fair share of trolls.’
- ‘A string of empty government slogans, meanwhile, was parodied in a popular meme known as "the river crab wears three watches".’
- ‘Rogue vendors attempted to capitalize from the growing interest in the Kenny Glenn meme and searching for Glenn directed to rogue sites.’
- ‘Wasn't there a meme a couple of years ago about giving people ownership of their personal data?’
- ‘Although it didn't win first prize, this one unleashed one of the most viral memes in the history of the Net.’
- ‘Adds a little context that makes particular sense if you have been following related memes in blogspace.’
- ‘Since these crazes can draw millions of internet users, advertisers and marketers are increasingly desperate to understand what makes a meme successful so that they can replicate it for profit.’
- ‘Here's a great post at The Community Engine on spreading and tracking your meme using tags.’
1970s: from Greek mimēma ‘that which is imitated’, on the pattern of gene.
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