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.

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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)