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meme

[meem] /mim/
noun
1.
  1. a cultural item that is transmitted by repetition and replication in a manner analogous to the biological transmission of genes.
  2. a cultural item in the form of an image, video, phrase, etc., that is spread via the Internet and often altered in a creative or humorous way.
verb (used without object), memed, memeing or meming.
2.
to create and spread memes:
He spends a lot of time memeing and sharing his videos with friends.
verb (used with object), memed, memeing or meming.
3.
to make the subject of a meme:
cute cats that get memed.
Origin
1976
1976; < Greek mīmeîsthai ‘to imitate, copy’; coined by R. Dawkins, British biologist
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for meme
  • The meme that 'if each of us does a little we will achieve a lot' is nothing but wishful thinking.
  • Your meme needs a place to do business.
  • The "psycho veteran" meme is alive and well.
  • Normalcy returning, seems to be the meme reporters are repeating in the press today.
  • Today, the current meme of the internet hive-mind is washing machines.
  • Take for example the mindlessly repeated meme of "We are in a cooling trend".
  • But he certainly did not invent the idea of a meme.
  • One might be tempted to say it is a meme that ensures its own existence.
  • And that meme has rolled downhill to the current generation because it makes good copy.
  • As long as the viral meme can propagate faster than the host humans die, it is successful.
British Dictionary definitions for meme

meme

/miːm/
noun
1.
an idea or element of social behaviour passed on through generations in a culture, esp by imitation
Word Origin
C20: possibly from mimic, on the model of gene
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for meme
n.

1976, introduced by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in "The Selfish Gene," coined by him from Greek sources, e.g. mimeisthai "to imitate" (see mime), and intended to echo gene.

We need a name for the new replicator, a noun that conveys the idea of a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation. 'Mimeme' comes from a suitable Greek root, but I want a monosyllable that sounds a bit like 'gene'. I hope my classicist friends will forgive me if I abbreviate mimeme to meme. If it is any consolation, it could alternatively be thought of as being related to 'memory', or to the French word même. It should be pronounced to rhyme with 'cream'. [Richard Dawkins, "The Selfish Gene," 1976]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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meme in Technology

philosophy
/meem/ [By analogy with "gene"] Richard Dawkins's term for an idea considered as a replicator, especially with the connotation that memes parasitise people into propagating them much as viruses do.
Memes can be considered the unit of cultural evolution. Ideas can evolve in a way analogous to biological evolution. Some ideas survive better than others; ideas can mutate through, for example, misunderstandings; and two ideas can recombine to produce a new idea involving elements of each parent idea.
The term is used especially in the phrase "meme complex" denoting a group of mutually supporting memes that form an organised belief system, such as a religion. However, "meme" is often misused to mean "meme complex".
Use of the term connotes acceptance of the idea that in humans (and presumably other tool- and language-using sophonts) cultural evolution by selection of adaptive ideas has become more important than biological evolution by selection of hereditary traits. Hackers find this idea congenial for tolerably obvious reasons.
See also memetic algorithm.
[Jargon File]
(1996-08-11)

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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