Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. One that closely imitates or mimics another.
  • intransitive v. To act as an imitator or mimic.
  • transitive v. To imitate closely; mimic.
  • adj. Closely imitating or following another: a copycat version of a successful product; a copycat crime.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. One who imitates others' work without adding ingenuity.
  • adj. Imitative; unoriginal.
  • v. To act as a copycat; to copy in a shameless or derivative way

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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

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

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

Etymologies

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

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

  • 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

  • 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

  • VITAL STATSWorries About Littleton CopycatsMore than two weeks after Littleton, so-called copycat threats haven't abated, likely because students are pulling more hoaxes -- but definitely because officials are unwilling to take chances.

    The Lee Case: 'No Smoking Gun', Gender Isn't The

  • At this point, you don't wanna just immediately go in for the finger kiss because someone else just did it, and while being called a copycat isn't as bad as being called a corpse kisser, you're still going to be the main topic of conversation in the various cars other than your own as they're pulling out of the funeral home parking lot.

    unclebob Diary Entry

  • The copycat is a person who is watching this broadcast, who is that person who is fascinated by the person who is responsible for this, who identifies with him and at some point, if his life really is going nowhere, and he experiences himself as enough of a failure, he may consider this as an option.

    CNN Transcript Oct 21, 2002

  • Nine police were injured in what police called "copycat criminality" in several parts of London on Sunday night, although the damage appeared to be on a much smaller scale than Saturday's rioting in Tottenham, in the north of the capital.

    Yahoo! News: Business - Opinion

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