Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To use or follow as a model.
  • transitive v. To copy the actions, appearance, mannerisms, or speech of; mimic: amused friends by imitating the teachers.
  • transitive v. To copy or use the style of: brushwork that imitates Rembrandt.
  • transitive v. To copy exactly; reproduce.
  • transitive v. To appear like; resemble.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To follow as a model or a pattern; to make a copy, counterpart or semblance of.
  • v. To copy.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To follow as a pattern, model, or example; to copy or strive to copy, in acts, manners etc.
  • transitive v. To produce a semblance or likeness of, in form, character, color, qualities, conduct, manners, and the like; to counterfeit; to copy.
  • transitive v. To resemble (another species of animal, or a plant, or inanimate object) in form, color, ornamentation, or instinctive habits, so as to derive an advantage thereby; sa, when a harmless snake imitates a venomous one in color and manner, or when an odorless insect imitates, in color, one having secretion offensive to birds.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To use as a model or pattern; make a copy, counterpart, or semblance of.
  • To take example by, in action or manner; follow or endeavor to copy as an exemplar; act in the manner or character of; pattern after.
  • Synonyms Imitate, Counterfeit, Mimic, Ape, Mock. Imitate is the general word for the expression of the idea common to these five words. To counterfeit is to imitate exactly or as closely as possible, more often for a dishonest purpose; to mimic is to imitate in sport or ridicule, as to mimic one's affectations in speech or carriage; to ape is to imitate with servility. Mock, whose first meaning was to imitate in derision, has changed ground so as now generally to mean to deride by imitation, or, still more broadly, to treat with scorn, to tantalize.

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

  • v. appear like, as in behavior or appearance
  • v. make a reproduction or copy of
  • v. reproduce someone's behavior or looks

Etymologies

Latin imitārī, imitāt-.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin imitatus, past participle of imitari ("to copy, portray, imitate"), from a deponent frequentive root *im, whence also imago ("a copy, image"), see image. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • When the three deacons who sing the Passion have left, the deacon, subdeacon and acolytes follow the normal rites that precede the Gospel procession; on this day, however, the Mass which they imitate is the Solemn Requiem Mass.

    Compendium of the 1955 Holy Week Revisions of Pius XII: Part 4.1 - Mass of Presanctified, Good Friday, Mass of the Catechumens and the Solemn Prayers

  • It is easy to once again imitate without thinking about the reasoning, especially in the impressionable age of the students.

    Michoacan's rural education

  • All the while unbelievers laugh; men of weak faith are shaken; faith is uncertain; souls are drenched in ignorance, because adulterators of the word imitate the truth.

    NPNF2-08. Basil: Letters and Select Works

  • "I have a less medical, and more religious, idea: cultivate a liturgical garden and emblematic vegetables; make a kitchen and flower garden that may set forth the glory of God and carry up our prayers in their language; and, in short, imitate the purpose of the Song of the Three Holy Children in the fiery furnace, when they called on all Nature, from the breath of the storm to the seed buried in the field, to Bless the Lord!"

    The Cathedral

  • He Himself sets us the pattern, which to imitate is to be the children of 'our

    Expositions of Holy Scripture : St. Matthew Chaps. IX to XXVIII

  • But Sharif said Egypt would not "imitate" other countries.

    Mubarak addresses nation, calls on government to resign but vows to remain in power himself

  • By the end of the hour we were laughing so hard tears were coming out of our eyes -- M.s. would call out the names of people we know and I would "imitate" their dance moves, either the ones we have witnessed and know to be accurate, or my interpretations of how a certain person would most likely dance based on his or her other characteristics.

    Fun, Childish Fun

  • For a polymer to be electrically conductive it must "imitate" a metal – the electrons in the bonds must be freely mobile and not bound fast to the atoms.

    Nobelprize.org, The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2000

  • Something very similar, the neglect of a distinction in the text, happens when Mr. Cameron cannot "make sense" of my remark that the nuclear processes which we are now able to initiate on earth and which before went on only in the universe surrounding us, for instance in the sun, signify that we no longer "imitate" but "make nature."

    Distinctions

  • The notes are printed on specially prepared paper, to imitate which is regarded as a counterfeit.

    Business Hints for Men and Women

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