In the 1976 book, The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins coined the word “meme”. It was the cultural analog of the gene, an idea that makes copies of itself, or a replicator. Dawkins wrote, “We need a name for the new replicator, a noun that conveys the idea of a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation. ‘Mimeme’ comes from a suitable Greek root, but I want a monosyllable that sounds a bit like ‘gene’. I hope my classicist friends will forgive me if I abbreviate mimeme to meme. If it is any consolation, it could alternatively be thought of as related to ‘memory’, or the French word même. It should be pronounced to rhyme with cream.
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