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[mi-mee-sis, mahy-] /mɪˈmi sɪs, maɪ-/
Rhetoric. imitation or reproduction of the supposed words of another, as in order to represent his or her character.
  1. imitation of the real world, as by re-creating instances of human action and events or portraying objects found in nature:
    This movie is a mimesis of historical events.
  2. the showing of a story, as by dialogue and enactment of events.
Compare diegesis.
Biology, imitation.
Zoology, mimicry.
Also, mimosis. Pathology.
  1. the simulation, due to hysteria, of the symptoms of a disease.
  2. the simulation of the symptoms of one disease by another.
1640-50; < Greek mī́mēsis ‘imitation’, equivalent to mīmē- (variant stem of mīmeîsthai ‘to copy’) + -sis -sis Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for mimesis
  • But the mimesis is perhaps less in them than in our seeing of them.
  • Autistic children have difficulty with mimesis and imaginative play.
  • There is no attempt to depict three dimensionality or any kind of real-world mimesis.
  • Not realism but the fabulous is the aim, not literature as mimesis but literary activity as ironic cultural commentary.
  • mimesis also refers to imitation, especially relating to the arts.
British Dictionary definitions for mimesis


(art, literature) the imitative representation of nature or human behaviour
  1. any disease that shows symptoms of another disease
  2. a condition in a hysterical patient that mimics an organic disease
(biology) another name for mimicry (sense 2)
(rhetoric) representation of another person's alleged words in a speech
Word Origin
C16: from Greek, from mimeisthai to imitate
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 mimesis

1540s, in rhetoric, from Greek mimesis "imitation, representation, representation by art," from mimeisthai "to imitate" (see mimeograph).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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mimesis in Medicine

mimesis mi·me·sis (mĭ-mē'sĭs, mī-)

  1. The appearance of symptoms of a disease not actually present, often caused by hysteria.

  2. Symptomatic imitation of one organic disease by another.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Article for mimesis

basic theoretical principle in the creation of art. The word is Greek and means "imitation" (though in the sense of "re-presentation" rather than of "copying"). Plato and Aristotle spoke of mimesis as the re-presentation of nature. According to Plato, all artistic creation is a form of imitation: that which really exists (in the "world of ideas") is a type created by God; the concrete things man perceives in his existence are shadowy representations of this ideal type. Therefore, the painter, the tragedian, and the musician are imitators of an imitation, twice removed from the truth. Aristotle, speaking of tragedy, stressed the point that it was an "imitation of an action"-that of a man falling from a higher to a lower estate. Shakespeare, in Hamlet's speech to the actors, referred to the purpose of playing as being " . . . to hold, as 'twere, the mirror up to nature." Thus, an artist, by skillfully selecting and presenting his material, may purposefully seek to "imitate" the action of life.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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