Skip to main content

Meme

/mēm/

[ coined on analogy with gene by Richard Dawkins ]

n. An idea considered as a replicator, esp. with the connotation that memes parasitize people into propagating them much as viruses do. Used esp. in the phrase meme complex denoting a group of mutually supporting memes that form an organized belief system, such as a religion.

This lexicon is an (epidemiological) vector of the hacker subculture meme complex; each entry might be considered a meme. However, meme is often misused to mean meme complex. Use of the term connotes acceptance of the idea that in humans (and presumably other tooland language-using sophonts) cultural evolution by selection of adaptive ideas has superseded biological evolution by selection of hereditary traits. Hackers find this idea congenial for tolerably obvious reasons.