meme (n.) Look up meme at
1976, introduced by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in "The Selfish Gene," coined by him from Greek sources, such as mimeisthai "to imitate" (see mime), and intended to echo gene.
We need a name for the new replicator, a noun that conveys the idea of a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation. 'Mimeme' comes from a suitable Greek root, but I want a monosyllable that sounds a bit like 'gene'. I hope my classicist friends will forgive me if I abbreviate mimeme to meme. If it is any consolation, it could alternatively be thought of as being related to 'memory', or to the French word même. It should be pronounced to rhyme with 'cream'. [Richard Dawkins, "The Selfish Gene," 1976]
memento (n.) Look up memento at
c. 1400, "Psalm cxxxi in the Canon of the Mass" (which begins with the Latin word Memento and in which the dead are commemorated), from Latin memento "remember," imperative of meminisse "to remember, recollect, think of, bear in mind," a reduplicated form, related to mens "mind," from PIE root *men- (1) "to think." Meaning "reminder, object serving as a warning" is from 1580s; sense of "keepsake" is first recorded 1768.
memento mori (n.) Look up memento mori at
"reminder of death," 1590s, Latin, literally "remember that you must die."
memo (n.) Look up memo at
1889, shortening of memorandum (q.v.).
memoir (n.) Look up memoir at
early 15c., "written record," from Anglo-French memorie "note, memorandum, something written to be kept in mind" (early 15c., Old French memoire), from Latin memoria (see memory). Meaning "person's written account of his life" is from 1670s.
Biography, Memoir. When there is a difference between these words, it may be that memoir indicates a less complete or minute account of a person's life, or it may be that the person himself records his own recollections of the past, especially as connected with his own life; in the latter case memoir should be in the plural. [Century Dictionary]
memoirs (n.) Look up memoirs at
"personal record of events," 1650s, plural of memoir.
memorabilia (n.) Look up memorabilia at
"things worth remembering," 1806, from Latin memorabilia "notable achievements," noun use of neuter plural of memorabilis "worthy of being remembered" (see memorable).
memorability (n.) Look up memorability at
1660s, from memorable + -ity.
memorable (adj.) Look up memorable at
mid-15c., from Middle French mémorable, from Latin memorabilis "that may be told; worthy of being remembered, remarkable," from memorare "to bring to mind," from memor "mindful of" (see memory). Related: Memorably.
memorandum (n.) Look up memorandum at
early 15c., from Latin memorandum "(thing) to be remembered," neuter singular of memorandus "worthy of remembrance, noteworthy," gerundive of memorare "to call to mind," from memor "mindful of" (see memory). Originally a word written at the top of a note, by 1540s it came to stand for the note itself. The Latin plural is memoranda. Compare also agenda.
memorial (adj.) Look up memorial at
late 14c., "memorable, excellent; remembered, committed to memory," from Old French memorial "mindful of, remembering," from Latin memorialis (adj.) "of or belonging to memory," from memoria "memory" (see memory).
memorial (n.) Look up memorial at
late 14c., "fame, renown, reputation," also "commemorative gesture, monument, or rite;" in general, "something by which the memory of a person, thing, or event is preserved," from Old French memorial "record, report," and directly from Late Latin memoriale "a memorial," noun use of neuter of Latin memorialis (adj.) "of or belonging to memory," from memoria "memory" (see memory). Meaning "memorial act, commemoration" is from mid-15c.
Memorial Day Look up Memorial Day at
used in a general sense is from 1830s; as a specific holiday commemorating U.S. war dead (originally Northern soldiers killed in the Civil War) it began informally in late 1860s. officially from 1869 among veterans' organizations.
memorialize (v.) Look up memorialize at
1798, from memorial + -ize. Related: Memorialized; memorializing. Earlier verb was simply memorial (1731).
memorious (adj.) Look up memorious at
1590s, from French memorieux or directly from Medieval Latin memoriosus, from Latin memoria (see memory).
memorise (v.) Look up memorise at
chiefly British English spelling of memorize; for suffix, see -ize. Related: Memorised; memorising; memorisation.
memorization (n.) Look up memorization at
1823 "memorialization," 1857 as "action of committing to memory;" noun of action from memorize (v.).
memorize (v.) Look up memorize at
1590s, "commit to writing;" see memory + -ize. The meaning "commit to memory" is from 1838. Related: Memorized; memorizing.
memory (n.) Look up memory at
mid-13c., "recollection (of someone or something); awareness, consciousness," also "fame, renown, reputation," from Anglo-French memorie (Old French memoire, 11c., "mind, memory, remembrance; memorial, record") and directly from Latin memoria "memory, remembrance, faculty of remembering," noun of quality from memor "mindful, remembering," from PIE root *(s)mer- (1) "to remember" (Sanskrit smarati "remembers," Avestan mimara "mindful;" Greek merimna "care, thought," mermeros "causing anxiety, mischievous, baneful;" Serbo-Croatian mariti "to care for;" Welsh marth "sadness, anxiety;" Old Norse Mimir, name of the giant who guards the Well of Wisdom; Old English gemimor "known," murnan "mourn, remember sorrowfully;" Dutch mijmeren "to ponder"). Meaning "faculty of remembering" is late 14c. in English.
I am grown old and my memory is not as active as it used to be. When I was younger I could remember anything, whether it had happened or not; but my faculties are decaying now and soon I shall be so I cannot remember any but the things that never happened. It is sad to go to pieces like this, but we all have to do it. [Mark Twain, "Autobiography"]
Computer sense, "device which stores information," is from 1946. Related: Memories.
Memphis Look up Memphis at
ancient city of Egypt, from Greek form of Egyptian Mennefer, literally "his beauty," from men "his" + nefer "beauty" (as in Queen Nefertiti, literally "Beauty has Come"). A reference to pharaoh Pepi I (24c. B.C.E.). The city in Tennessee, U.S., was so named 1826 for obscure reasons. Related: Memphian (1590s); Memphitic (1580s).
men (n.) Look up men at
plural of man (n.). To separate the men from the boys in a figurative sense is from 1943; earliest uses tend to credit it to U.S. aviators in World War II.
One of the most expressive G.I. terms to come out of the late strife was "that's where they separate the men from the boys" -- so stated by American aviators leaning from their cockpits to observe a beach-landing under fire on some Pacific island far below. ["Arts Magazine," 1947]
menace (n.) Look up menace at
c. 1300, "declaration of hostile intent," also "act of threatening," from Old French menace "menace, threat" (9c.), from Vulgar Latin minacia "threat, menace" (also source of Spanish amenaza, Italian minaccia), singular of Latin minaciæ "threatening things," from minax (genitive minacis) "threatening," from minari "threaten; jut, project," from minæ "threats; projecting points," from PIE root *men- (2) "to project" (see mount (n.1)). Applied to persons from 1936.
menace (v.) Look up menace at
c. 1300, from Old French menacer "threaten, urge" (11c.), Anglo-French manasser, from Vulgar Latin *minaciare "to threaten," from minacia "menace, threat" (see menace (n.)). Related: Menaced; menacing.
menacing (adj.) Look up menacing at
1540s, present participle adjective from menace (v.). Related: Menacingly.
menage (n.) Look up menage at
1690s, "management of a household, domestic establishment," from French ménage, from Old French manage "household, family dwelling" (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *mansionaticum "household, that which pertains to a house," from Latin mansionem "dwelling" (see mansion). Now generally used in suggestive borrowed phrase ménage à trois (1891), literally "household of three." Borrowed earlier as mayngnage, maynage and in the sense "members of a household, a man's household" (c. 1300); but this was obsolete by c. 1500.
menage a trois (n.) Look up menage a trois at
1891, see menage.
menagerie (n.) Look up menagerie at
"collection of wild animals kept in captivity," 1712, from French ménagerie "housing for domestic animals" (16c.), from Old French manage (see menage).
menarche (n.) Look up menarche at
1896, from German menarche (1895), from Greek men (genitive menos) "month" (see moon (n.)) + arkhe "beginning" (see archon).
mend (v.) Look up mend at
c. 1200, "to repair," from a shortened form of Old French amender (see amend). Meaning "to put right, atone for, amend (one's life), repent" is from c. 1300; that of "to regain health" is from early 15c. Related: Mended; mending.
mend (n.) Look up mend at
early 14c., "recompense, reparation," from mend (v.). Meaning "act of mending; a repaired hole or rip in fabric" is from 1888. Phrase on the mend attested from 1802.
mendable (adj.) Look up mendable at
1530s, from mend (v.) + -able.
mendacious (adj.) Look up mendacious at
1610s, from Middle French mendacieux, from Latin mendacium "a lie, untruth, falsehood, fiction," from mendax (genitive mendacis) "lying, deceitful," from menda "fault, defect, carelessness in writing," from PIE root *mend- "physical defect, fault" (see amend (v.)). The sense evolution of Latin mendax was influenced by mentiri "to speak falsely, lie, deceive." Related: Mendaciously; mendaciousness.
mendacity (n.) Look up mendacity at
"tendency to lie," 1640s, from Middle French mendacité and directly from Late Latin mendacitas "falsehood, mendacity," from Latin mendax "lying; a liar" (see mendacious).
mendelevium (n.) Look up mendelevium at
1955, Modern Latin, in honor of Russian chemist Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev (1834-1907). With metallic element ending -ium.
Mendelism (n.) Look up Mendelism at
1903, in reference to the work of Gregor Johann Mendel (1822-1884), Austrian biologist who enunciated the laws of heredity. Related: Mendelian.
mender (n.) Look up mender at
late 14c., agent noun from mend (v.).
mendicancy (n.) Look up mendicancy at
"state or condition of beggary," 1790, from mendicant + -cy. Also in this sense was mendicity (c. 1400), from Old French mendicité "begging," from Latin mendicitatem (nominative mendicitas) "beggary, mendicity."
mendicant (adj.) Look up mendicant at
late 14c., from Latin mendicantem (nominative mendicans) present participle of mendicare "to beg, ask alms," from mendicus "beggar," originally "cripple" (connection via cripples who must beg), from menda "fault, physical defect" (see mendacious). As an adjective from 1540s. Also in Middle English was mendinant (mid-14c.), from Old French mendinant, present participle of mendiner "to beg," from the same Latin source.
mendicant (n.) Look up mendicant at
"a beggar," mid-15c., from mendicant (adj.) or from Latin mendicantem (nominative mendicans), noun use of present participle of mendicare.
Menelaus Look up Menelaus at
king of Sparta, husband of Helen, brother of Agamemnon, Latinized form of Greek Menelaos, literally "restraining the people," from menein "to stay, abide, remain" + laos "people" (see lay (adj.)).
menfolk (n.) Look up menfolk at
also men-folk "the male sex, men generally," 1802, from men + folk (n.).
menhaden (n.) Look up menhaden at
kind of herring, 1792, from Algonquian (probably Narragansett) munnawhateaug (noted from 1643), literally "they fertilize," because the abundant little fishes were used by the Indians as fertilizer.
menhir (n.) Look up menhir at
"upright monumental stone," 1834, literally "long stone," from French menhir (19c.), from Breton men "stone" + hir "long," from PIE *se-ro-, from root *se- "long, late" (see soiree). Cognate with Welsh maen hir, Cornish medn hir.
menial (adj.) Look up menial at
late 14c., "pertaining to a household," from Anglo-French meignial, from Old French mesnie "household," earlier mesnede, from Vulgar Latin *mansionata, from Latin mansionem "dwelling" (see mansion). Sense of "lowly, humble, suited to a servant" is recorded by 1670s.
menial (n.) Look up menial at
"domestic servant," late 14c., meynyal; see menial (adj.).
meningeal (adj.) Look up meningeal at
1829, from Modern Latin meningeus, from meninx "membrane of the brain" (1610s; see meningitis) + -al (1).
meninges (n.) Look up meninges at
plural, 1610s, "the three membranes enveloping the brain and spinal cord," from Middle French meninges (1530s) or directly from medical Latin, plural of meninx, from Greek meninx (see meningitis).
meningitis (n.) Look up meningitis at
"inflammation of the meninges," 1825, coined from Modern Latin meninga, from Greek meninx (genitive meningos) "membrane," in medical Latin especially that of the brain (see member) + -itis "inflammation." Related: Meningitic.
meniscus (n.) Look up meniscus at
"crescent-shaped body," 1690s in reference to lenses, c. 1812 in reference to liquid surfaces, Modern Latin meniscus, from Greek meniskos "lunar crescent," diminutive of mene "moon" (see moon (n.)). Related: Meniscoid.
Mennonite (n.) Look up Mennonite at
member of an Anabaptist sect, 1560s, from name of Menno Simons (1492-1559), founder of the sect in Friesland, + -ite (1). As an adjective by 1727. Alternative form Mennonist (n.) attested from 1640s.