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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.
Origin of mimesis
1540-50; < 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
Historical Examples
  • The enemy that eats you is not the only one to be deceived; mimesis must also play its colour-tricks on him whom you have to eat.

    The Mason-bees J. Henri Fabre
  • Even Plato, the supposed father of idealism, does not make the mimesis absolutely unreal.

  • What they felt was not mimesis but “participation,” unity, and community.

    Ancient Art and Ritual Jane Ellen Harrison
  • Neither Plato nor Mr. Emerson recognizes any causative force in the mimesis.

  • Never, never in my life before did I dream that dramatic art, poetry, and mimesis could attain to such ideal splendour.

    Memoirs Charles Godfrey Leland
  • Now go and practice your mimesis in order to receive a welcome from the Anthophora or the Chalicodoma!

    The Mason-bees J. Henri Fabre
  • The habit of this mimesis of the thing desired, is set up, and ritual begins.

    Ancient Art and Ritual Jane Ellen Harrison
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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