Etymology
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mimicry (n.)

"an act of imitation in speech, manner, or appearance," 1680s; see mimic (adj.) + -ry. The zoological sense of "the external simulation of something else in form, color, etc." is from 1861.

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aping (n.)
"imitation, mimicry," 1680s, verbal noun from ape (v.). Apery in the same sense is attested from 1610s.
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ethology (n.)

late 17c., "mimicry, art of depicting characters by mimic gestures," from Latin ethologia, from Greek ēthologia, from ēthos "character" (see ethos). Taken by Mill as "science of character formation" (1843); as a branch of zoology, "study of instincts," from 1897. Related: Ethological.

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mimic (adj.)

"acting as a mime, practicing imitation, consisting of or resulting from mimicry," 1590s, from Latin mimicus, from Greek mimikos "of or pertaining to mimes," verbal adjective from mimeisthai "to mimic, represent, imitate, portray," in art, "to express by means of imitation," from mimos "mime" (see mime (n.)).

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mimesis (n.)

in rhetoric, "imitation or reproduction of the words of another," especially in order to represent his character, 1540s, from Greek mimēsis "imitation, representation, representation by art," from mimeisthai "to mimic, represent, imitate, portray," in art, "to express by means of imitation," from mimos "mime" (see mime (n.)). In zoology, "mimicry," by 1845.

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mimetic (adj.)

1630s, "having an aptitude for mimicry," from Greek mimētikos "imitative, good at imitating," from mimētos, verbal adjective of mimeisthai "to mimic, represent, imitate, portray," in art, "to express by means of imitation," from mimos "mime" (see mime (n.)) Originally of persons, of animals or plants by 1851. Related: Mimetical (1610s); mimetically.

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mime (n.)

c. 1600, "a buffoon who practices gesticulations" [Johnson], from French mime "mimic actor" (16c.) and directly from Latin mimus, from Greek mimos "imitator, mimic, actor, mime, buffoon," a word of unknown origin.  In reference to a performance, 1932 as "a pantomime," earlier (1640s) in a classical context: The ancient mimes of the Italian Greeks and Romans were dramatic performances, generally vulgar, with spoken lines, consisting of farcical mimicry of real events and persons.

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ape (n.)

Old English apa (fem. ape) "an ape, a monkey," from Proto-Germanic *apan (source also of Old Saxon apo, Old Norse api, Dutch aap, German affe), probably a borrowed word, perhaps from Celtic (compare Old Irish apa, Welsh epa) or Slavic (compare Old Bohemian op, Slovak opitza), and the whole group probably is ultimately from an Eastern or non-Indo-European language.

The common word until the emergence of monkey in 16c. More technically, in zoology, "a simian; tail-less, man-like monkey" 1690s. The only native apes in Europe are the Barbary apes of Gibraltar, intelligent and docile, and these were the showman's apes of the Middle Ages. Apes were noted in medieval times for mimicry of human action, hence, perhaps, the other figurative use of the word, to mean "a fool" (c. 1300).

To go ape "go crazy" is by 1953 (unsanitized or emphatic go apeshit is by 1954), American English; early attestations suggest armed forces slang. To lead apes in hell (1570s) was the fancied fate of one who died an old maid. Middle English plural was occasionally apen. Middle English also had ape-ware "deceptions, tricks."

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magpie (n.)

popular name of a common bird of Europe, Asia, and America, known for its chattering, acquisitiveness, curiosity, and mimicry, c. 1600, earlier simply pie (mid-13c.).

The first element is Mag, nickname for Margaret, long used in proverbial and slang English for qualities associated generally with women, especially in this case "idle chattering" (as in Magge tales "tall tales, nonsense," early 15c.; also compare French margot "magpie," from Margot, pet form of Marguerite). The name Margaret, and its reduced forms Mag, Madge, diminutive Maggie, also has long been familiarly applied to birds. Pies were proverbial since Middle English for chattering (as were jays), hence the application of pie to a prattling gossip or tattler, also "sly person, informer" (late 14c.) and in 15c.-16c. a wily pie (or wyly pye) was "a cunning person."

The second element, pie, is the earlier name of the bird, from Old French pie, from Latin pica "magpie" (source also of Spanish pega), fem. of picus "woodpecker," from PIE root *(s)peik- "woodpecker, magpie" (source also of Umbrian peica "magpie," Sanskrit pikah "Indian cuckoo," Old Norse spætr, German Specht "woodpecker"); possibly from PIE root *pi-, denoting pointedness, of the beak. The application to pies might be because the magpie also has a long, pointed tail.

The birds are proverbial for pilfering and hoarding and for their indiscriminate appetites (see pica (n.2)); they can be taught to speak, and have been regarded since the Middle Ages as ill omens.

Whan pyes chatter vpon a house it is a sygne of ryghte euyll tydynges. [1507]

Divination by numbering magpies is attested from c. 1780 in Lincolnshire; the rhyme varies from place to place, the only consistency being that one is bad, two are good.

The councils which magpies appear to hold together, at particular seasons, commonly called "folkmotes," are associated in the minds of many with superstitious and ominous notions. The innocent objects of terror, while meeting together most probably for the purpose of choosing mates, are supposed to be conspiring and clubbing their wits, for the weal or woe of the inhabitants of the neighbouring village. If they are of an even number and carry on their cheerful, noisy chatter, it is supposed to betoken good to old and young—but if there is an odd magpie perched apart from the rest, silent, and disconsolate, the reverse of this is apprehended, and mischievous consequences are inevitably expected. [The Saturday Magazine, Jan. 23, 1841]
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