The word ‘meme’ was coined by Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene (1976). Dawkins coined it by shortening ‘mimeme’ from the Greek root μίμημα (’imitation, copy’) by modeling it after the word ‘gene’, thus creating the monosyllabic meme.
States Dawkins in The Selfish Gene:
I hope my classicist friends will forgive me if I abbreviate mimeme to meme…
It should be pronounced to rhyme with ‘cream’. Examples of memes are
tunes, ideas, catch-phrases, clothes fashions, ways of making pots or of