idea, behavior or style that spreads within a culture

A meme (/mm/ MEEM) is an idea or belief which spreads because one person copies it from another.

One idea is that culture builds in a way similar to living things. An example would be how viruses spread to different organisms. Memes change as they go, creating controversy, and sculpting society. Just as a virus would, memes evolve from their state, being photoshopped, and exaggerated. Memes can be about anything.

Biologist and evolutionary theorist Richard Dawkins invented the word meme in 1976.[1] He said that tunes, catch-phrases, beliefs, clothing fashions, ways of making pots, and the technology of building arches were all examples of memes.

Examples of memes



  1. Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene, 11. Memes:the new replicators, Oxford University, 1976, second edition, December 1989, ISBN 0-19-217773-7; April 1992, ISBN 0-19-857519-X; trade paperback, September 1990, ISBN 0-19-286092-5


  1. Aunger, Robert: The Electric Meme: A New Theory of How We Think. Free Press, 2002, hardcover ISBN 0-7432-0150-7
  2. Aunger, Robert: Darwinizing culture: the status of memetics as a science. Oxford University Press, 2000, New-York ISBN 0-19-263244-2
  3. Blackmore, Susan: The Meme Machine. Oxford University Press, 1999, hardcover ISBN 0-19-850365-2, trade paperback ISBN 0-9658817-8-4, May 2000, ISBN 0-19-286212-X
  4. Fog, Agner: Cultural Selection. Dordrecht: Kluwer 1999. ISBN 0-7923-5579-2.
  5. Henson, H. Keith: "Sex, Drugs, and Cults. An evolutionary psychology perspective on why and how cult memes get a drug-like hold on people, and what might be done to mitigate the effects", The Human Nature Review 2002 Volume 2: 343-355 [1]
  6. Henson, H. Keith: "Evolutionary Psychology, Memes and the Origin of War."
  7. Lanier, Jaron: "The Ideology of Cybernetic Totalist Intellectuals", an essay which criticises "meme totalists" who assert memes over bodies.
  8. "Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission" Archived 2001-12-21 at the Wayback Machine Journal of Memetics
  9. Principia Cybernetica holds a lexicon of memetics concepts, comprising a list of different types of memes.
  10. A list of memetics publications on the web Archived 2004-12-24 at the Wayback Machine

Other websites

English Wiktionary
The English Wiktionary has a dictionary definition (meanings of a word) for: meme