Words to Bring Back: “Meme”

– Definition: n. an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture.

– Used in a sentence: Charles MacKay’s Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds is perhaps the Western World’s first serious catalog of memes.

– Why: I am a semiotic and purist dinosaur who thinks the term’s au courant application shortchanges its original meaning. Memes are the heavy-hitters of enculturation. Let’s not confuse them for “captioned graphics,” shall we?

6 comments for “Words to Bring Back: “Meme”

  1. Kathryn Lynn Hildebrandt
    2021.03.29 at 1122

    What is a good example of a meme? How does it differ from an archetype?

  2. Hildebrandt, Kathryn Lynn
    2021.03.29 at 2140

    Hmm. I think I get it. Slippery concept.

    • 2021.03.29 at 2237

      It is that.

    • 2021.03.30 at 1620

      A concisifying thought just struck me; tell me what you think:

      A meme is an idea.

      An archetype is an embodied idea.


      • Kathryn Lynn Hildebrandt
        2021.03.30 at 2314

        I like it. Memes are more fluid, and archetypes are more solid, so it fits.

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