[mi-mee-sis, mahy-]
Rhetoric. imitation or reproduction of the supposed words of another, as in order to represent his or her character.
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.
the showing of a story, as by dialogue and enactment of events.
Compare diegesis.
Biology, imitation.
Zoology, mimicry.
Also, mimosis. Pathology.
the simulation, due to hysteria, of the symptoms of a disease.
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

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

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1540s, from Gk. mimesis "imitation," from mimeisthai "to imitate."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

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 Britannica


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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Example sentences
But the mimesis is perhaps less in them than in our seeing of them.
There is no attempt to depict three dimensionality or any kind of real-world
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.
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