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Origin of word

"Meme" is a word coined by evolutionary biologist and zoologist Richard Dawkins (in his book The Selfish Gene) as the unit of cultural inheritance, analogous to a gene (the unit of biological inheritance). The word is pronounced to sound like "gene". In the book, Dawkins argued that ideas behaved analogously to selfish biological replicators, being passed down from generation to generation and occasionally experiencing a change (mutation) which made them more popular.

The term was soon used to describe the meme-like fashion in which various internet jokes come and go.

The theory of memetics is controversial, and not everyone accepts that the analogy is entirely fitting.

Memes and fads

There are two ways of looking at memes in regards to YTMND fads. The first is that all fads are memes, and that 'fad' is merely a word for memes used on YTMND. The other is that fads and memes are two separate entities, though there are often some memes that turn into fads.

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