Figure Name mimesis
Source Silva Rhetoricae (http://humanities.byu.edu/rhetoric/Silva.htm); Sherry (1550) 69 (#2 - "mimisis") Peacham (1577) O4r (#2); JG Smith (1665) ("m[...]mesis"); Peacham 1593; Macbeth (1876) ("mimesis," "mimicry"); Bullinger (1898) ("mimesis; or, description of sayings")
Earliest Source None
Synonyms mimisis, imitatio, description of sayings, mimicry
Etymology Gk. mi-mee-sis "imitation" from mimeisthai "to imitate"
Type Scheme
Linguistic Domain Orthographic

1. Greek name for the rhetorical pedagogy known as imitation. The imitation of another's gestures, pronunciation, or utterance. (Silva Rhetoricae)

2. Imitation: an imitating the language of others, &c.; Mimesis, imitatio, Imitation; derived from [mimeomai] imitor, to imitate or resemble. It is an Imitation or a using of the language of others, which is usual in the Scriptures. (JG Smith)

3. Mimesis is an imitation of speech whereby the Orator counterfaiteth not onely what one said, but also his utterance, pronunciation and gesture, imitating every thing as it was, which is alwaies well performed, and naturally represented in an apt and skilfull actor. The perfect Orator by this figure both causeth great attention, and also bringeth much delight to the hearers, for whether he imitateth a wise man, or a foole, a man learned or unlearned, isolent or modest, merrie or sorrowful, bold or fearfull, eloquent or rude, he reteineth the hearer in a diligent attention, and that for a threefold utilitie, in the imitated gesture a pleasure to the eie, in the voice a delight to the eare, and in the sense, a proft to the wit and understanding. (Peacham)

4. Mimesis, or Mimicry, consists in mimicking the mode of spelling and in the use of peculiar words of certain districts, periods, or individuals, in order through the spelling or use of such peculiar word or words to give a lively idea of certain characteristic modes of speaking. (Macbeth)

5. The name is used when the sayings (and sometimes motions and thoughts) of another are described or imitated by ways of emphasis. (Bullinger, 471)


1. The enemy said, "I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust shall be satisfied upon them; I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them." —Exodus 15:9 (Silva Rhetoricae)

2. So in 1 Cor. 15.32. Paul uses the words of Epicures, What advantages it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink, for to morrow we shall die. (JG Smith)

4. Thus Falconer, himself a seaman, doomed to a seaman's death in the storm, in his meritorious poem, " The Shipwreck;' which deserves a place in every sailor's library, fills many of his lines unmercifully with sea terms-as thus:
"Bow-lines and halyards are relax'd again, Clew-lines haul'd down, and sheets let fly amain,
Clewed up each top-sail, and by-braces squar'd,
The seamen climb aloft on either yard." (Macbeth)

5. See Ex. 15:9... Ps. 137:7; 144:12-15... Isa. 14:13, 14; 28:15. Hos. 14:2, 3. Ezek. 36:2. Micah 2:11; 3:11. So also 1 Cor. 15:35, and Phil. 3:4,5. (Bullinger, 471)

Kind Of Similarity
Part Of imitation, delivery
Related Figures progymnasmata
Confidence Unconfident
Last Editor Ioanna Malton
Confidence Unconfident
Editorial Notes Added Imitation and Delivery as two possible "Part of" categories - Nike
Reviewed No