Definition of mimesis in US English:



  • 1technical, formal Representation or imitation of the real world in art and literature.

    • ‘With modernism and the avant-garde, postmodernists reject realism, mimesis, and linear forms of narrative.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 1.1 The deliberate imitation of the behavior of one group of people by another group as a factor in social change.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Firstly, she explores issues to do with authenticity and replication, then mimesis, and finally the connections between work, leisure, learning and pleasure.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 2Zoology

    another term for mimicry
    • ‘The mimesis of the Cuckoo egg in relation to host eggs was estimated from the slides.’
    • ‘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.’


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