[ mi-mee-sis, mahy- ]
See synonyms for mimesis on Thesaurus.com
  1. Rhetoric. imitation or reproduction of the supposed words of someone else, as in order to represent their character.

  2. (in literature, film, art, etc.)

    • 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 (def. 1).

  1. Zoology. mimicry (def. 2).

  2. Also mimosis .Pathology.

    • the simulation, due to hysteria, of the symptoms of a disease.

    • the simulation of the symptoms of one disease by another.

Origin of mimesis

First recorded in 1540–50; from Greek mī́mēsis “imitation,” equivalent to mīmē- (variant stem of mīmeîsthai “to copy”) + -sis noun suffix (see -sis)

Words Nearby mimesis

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use mimesis in a sentence

  • Yet, at the same time, the emphasis on extreme mimesis highlights the artifice of the robot, how it is emphatically not-born.

    Ancient robots were objects of fantasy and fun | E. R. Truitt/MIT Press Reader | November 30, 2021 | Popular-Science
  • In some instances, extreme mimesis of biological characteristics highlights the desire for a perfect copy, indistinguishable from the born original.

    Ancient robots were objects of fantasy and fun | E. R. Truitt/MIT Press Reader | November 30, 2021 | Popular-Science
  • 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
  • The habit of this mimesis of the thing desired, is set up, and ritual begins.

    Ancient Art and Ritual | Jane Ellen Harrison
  • This is the true mimesis—the re-creation or fresh creation of fictitious reality.

    The English Novel | George Saintsbury

British Dictionary definitions for mimesis


/ (mɪˈmiːsɪs) /

  1. art literature the imitative representation of nature or human behaviour

    • any disease that shows symptoms of another disease

    • a condition in a hysterical patient that mimics an organic disease

  1. biology another name for mimicry (def. 2)

  2. rhetoric representation of another person's alleged words in a speech

Origin of mimesis

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