Word of the day – mimesis

mimesis, noun = 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; representation of another person’s alleged words in a speech.

Origin: from the Greek μιμεισθαι (mimeisthai) – to imitate.

Related words include mime, mimic, mimicry and mimetic.

I came across this word in a post on No-sword about the crazy-sounding Japanese sport of Sports Chanbara (スポーツチャンバラ). When discussing the origin of the word chanbara, which is an abbreviation of chanchan barabara (チャンチャンバラバラ), No-sword says the the chanchan part “is mimesis for the sound of swords clashing”. I hadn’t seen this word before so had to look it up in the dictionary, and I like the sound of it. This is also an example of onomatopeia, something that’s quite common in Japanese.

This entry was posted in English, Language, Words and phrases.

One Response to Word of the day – mimesis

  1. Matt says:

    Thanks for the link! “Mimesis” is one of my favorite words these days because it allows me to completely sidestep the issue of whether a particular word represents an actual sound or just a state of being. (I’m not sure whether “onomatopoeia” technically includes the latter)

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