Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun One that closely imitates or mimics another.
  • intransitive verb To act as an imitator or mimic.
  • intransitive verb To imitate closely; mimic.
  • adjective Closely imitating or following another.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun someone who copies the words or behavior of another.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun informal One who imitates others' work without adding ingenuity.
  • adjective Imitative; unoriginal.
  • verb To act as a copycat; to copy in a shameless or derivative way

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun someone who copies the words or behavior of another

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From copy + cat ("person"). It has been in use since at least 1896, in Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs.

Examples

  • One is that they didn't want to give people ideas -- here's a new, neat, you know, weapon you can build from the Internet, so we get a bunch of people out there that are, to use the term copycat, who say, you know, I'll do something similar.

    CNN Transcript Sep 4, 2003

  • Of course, the term copycat is too harsh a term for creating a game that already has a rival in the market.

    VentureBeat

  • Of course, the term copycat is too harsh a term for creating a game that already has a rival in the market.

    VentureBeat

  • Law enforcement officials said the unrest — including nightly arson and what they described as copycat attacks — was spreading more rapidly than their ability to respond to it.

    Paris Burning

  • Even if you can't live up to "Iron Jim", all you had to do was pay attention to the past movies and copycat from the future war scenes and make it into a 2 hour movie.

    The Co-Screenwriter of Terminator 1 and 2 Has Written Treatments For Terminator 5 and 6 | /Film

  • Contrary to the goal of improving public perceptions, the announcement of a Microsoft-branded chain of stores screams "copycat" - historically one of the worst knocks against it.

    Blog updates

  • Contrary to the goal of improving public perceptions, the announcement of a Microsoft-branded chain of stores screams "copycat" - historically one of the worst knocks against it.

    Blog updates

  • Zheng was executed by firing squad a month later -- and on the day of his execution, another school assailant, Chen Kangbing, a mentally ill 33-year-old man, wounded 18 children in a primary school in Leizhou, in Guangdong province, in what authorities called a copycat crime.

    Man kills 3 children, 1 teacher in latest in series of Chinese school attacks

  • Zheng was executed by firing squad a month later -- and on the day of his execution, another school assailant, Chen Kangbing, a mentally ill 33-year-old man, wounded 18 children in a primary school in Leizhou, in Guangdong province, in what authorities called a copycat crime.

    Man kills 3 children, 1 teacher in latest in series of Chinese school attacks

  • Zheng was executed by firing squad a month later -- and on the day of his execution, another school assailant, Chen Kangbing, a mentally ill 33-year-old man, wounded 18 children in a primary school in Leizhou, in Guangdong province, in what authorities called a copycat crime.

    Latest Chinese school attack leaves 4 dead, dozen wounded at Zibo kindergarten

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