Word of the Day Archive
Thursday February 8, 2001
mimetic \mim-ET-ik\ , adjective:
1. Apt to imitate; given to mimicry; imitative.
2. Characterized by mimicry; -- applied to animals and plants; as, "mimetic species; mimetic organisms."
It is as preposterous to believe that all entertainment is hypodermic, directly injecting bad ideas into the innocent bloodstream of the passive masses, as it is to pretend that all behavior is mimetic and that our only models are Eliot Ness or Dirty Harry.
-- John Leonard, Smoke and Mirrors
As a young man, Charles Dickens dreamed of becoming a great actor, and though he never realized that ambition, he put his mimetic genius to good use in his novels.
-- Michiko Kakutani, "Before There Were Movies, There Were Dickenses", New York Times, August 10, 1981
I was not the only scientist to reason that the vocal ability of mimetic birds, coupled with their considerable intelligence, should enable them to learn to communicate with humans using speechlike sounds.
-- Irene Maxine Pepperberg, The Alex Studies
Mimetic comes from Greek mimetikos, from mimesis, "imitation," from mimos, a kind of drama; also, "an imitator, a copyist, an actor." Related words include mimic and mime.