Now, I thought memes were the remit of the young folks, and always preceded by the word ‘internet’. But the word itself has actually been around since 1976. It was coined by Richard Dawkins and refers to how ideas can spread from person to person by repetition and replication. So things like fairytales, jokes, rhymes, and so on, are in fact memes. Interesting, right? Here’s the bit of text from ‘The Selfish Gene’ where Dawkins coined it:

‘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.’