Meme definition: What is a meme?

Everyone knows them, everyone loves them – memes! They express moods, comment on current events and are created in no time at all. Some memes have become legends in a very short time.

But where does the phenomenon come from and what does “meme” actually mean? A correct meme definition is not that easy, because memes are more than just pictures, they are a statement and an expression of an art form at the same time. Nevertheless, let’s try to analyze more closely what is really behind it.

Attempting to define the meme

Put simply, a meme is an insider joke that spreads across the internet and goes “viral.” The meme is just a little picture, a snippet of something that can be placed as a comment under all kinds of posts. Every image, every depiction has the chance to become a meme, whether it’s a photo of a politician, a sleeping cat or a company slogan.

The aim of the meme is almost always to make fun of other things and say enough with an image or video snippet to save a written comment. For example, a meme by the actor Leonardo di Caprio, who toasts with a martini glass, is legendary. It is often used in social networks as an expression of approval for a well-done posting.

Meme – Where does this strange name actually come from?

Why meme and how the hell is it pronounced? Is it “Mimi” or “Miem”? The latter is correct, the pronunciation is [mi:m], put simply: Miem! The word ancestry can be found in Greek usage, meme derives from the word mimema. This in turn stands for “imitation”.

Fun Meme

The question of what the first meme on the internet was was hotly debated. Many experts are sure that the creation of memes began before the internet even took off. However, there was an agreement that the meme “Dancing Baby” should have the status of the grandfather. It was a small clip with a three-dimensional baby that danced and moved and spread rapidly on social networks. Although there are now millions of different memes, the dancing baby is still used today and is considered a “retro milestone”.

The importance of memes goes beyond the fun factor

Once upon a time, memes were created to make others laugh, to make a statement, or to turn a seemingly harmless situation into an unforgettable moment. Many meme fans remember when soccer player Jerome Boateng was catapulted into the goal during the game against Ukraine. It didn’t take long for the meme with the slogan “maybe I’m not Jerome, I’m Manuel Neuer,” which is still known today, to go viral on networks like Twitter and Facebook.

Today, such memes can also be used wonderfully in the field of marketing. You can attract attention and that in the smallest area. Memes stick, and when a company manages to lure their potential customers with funny memes, the reverberation effect is big. Many marketing campaigns today are built around memes because they can be sent, distributed, and disseminated faster than any other form of advertising.

Memes are now a part of net culture

Even if it’s hard to find an exact definition for “the meme”, the small pictures and video clippings have become an indispensable part of the internet today. Hardly any discussion on social media can do without the use of the funny and often so apt pictures.


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