1 of 2


plural copies
: an imitation, transcript, or reproduction of an original work (such as a letter, a painting, a table, or a dress)
: one of a series of especially mechanical reproductions of an original impression
also : an individual example of such a reproduction
archaic : something to be imitated : model
: matter to be set especially for printing
: something considered printable or newsworthy
used without an article
remarks that make good copyNorman Cousins
: text especially of an advertisement
: duplicate sense 1a
a copy of a computer file
a copy of a gene


2 of 2


copied; copying; copies

transitive verb

: to make a copy or duplicate of
copy a document
Please copy and paste the link into your browser.
For players who are holdovers from last year's ballot, I just copied and pasted what I wrote a year ago.Dave Cameron
: to model oneself on
in radio/military communications : to acknowledge receipt of (a message)
The operator of the Titanic was busy figuring his accounts and did not bother to copy the message. A little later in the afternoon, another ship named the Baltic called the Titanic to tell her about icebergs that were in her way.Rev. Robert P. Lawrence

intransitive verb

: to make a copy
: to undergo copying
the map did not copy well
in radio/military communications : to acknowledge receipt and understanding of a message
"Block the road with your car. Take no other action. … No resistance, do you copy? Over."Stephen King
Choose the Right Synonym for copy


reproduction, duplicate, copy, facsimile, replica mean a thing made to closely resemble another.

reproduction implies an exact or close imitation of an existing thing.

reproductions from the museum's furniture collection

duplicate implies a double or counterpart exactly corresponding to another thing.

a duplicate of a house key

copy applies especially to one of a number of things reproduced mechanically.

printed 1000 copies of the lithograph

facsimile suggests a close reproduction often of graphic matter that may differ in scale.

a facsimile of a rare book

replica implies the exact reproduction of a particular item in all details

a replica of the Mayflower

but not always in the same scale.

miniature replicas of classic cars


copy, imitate, mimic, ape, mock mean to make something so that it resembles an existing thing.

copy suggests duplicating an original as nearly as possible.

copied the painting and sold the fake as an original

imitate suggests following a model or a pattern but may allow for some variation.

imitate a poet's style

mimic implies a close copying (as of voice or mannerism) often for fun, ridicule, or lifelike imitation.

pupils mimicking their teacher

ape may suggest presumptuous, unoriginal, or inept imitating of a superior original.

American fashion designers aped their European colleagues

mock usually implies imitation with derision.

mocking a vain man's pompous manner

Examples of copy in a Sentence

Noun The novel has sold more than a million copies. She got a job writing advertising copy. All copy must be submitted by 5 p.m. Verb She copied the design on a piece of paper. Copy the file to your hard drive. The bills are designed to prevent copying by counterfeiters. We caught him copying the answers out of the book. We caught him copying out of the book. The speech was copied word for word. His music was copied widely. Their competitors soon copied the idea.
Recent Examples on the Web
Currently, Costco—which has more than 610 U.S. locations—buys books in bulk quantities, ordering tens of thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands, of copies at a time. Abigail Wilt, Southern Living, 7 June 2024 Through distribution points across Europe, the U.S. also sent millions of copies of anti-communist literature, including 1984, to Poland. Anne Wallentine, Smithsonian Magazine, 6 June 2024
But some investors think lawmakers are doing one thing right — picking stocks — and this has prompted a whole new class of products to copy their trades. Deirdre Walsh, NPR, 6 June 2024 Wired writer says Google’s AI Overviews copied his original work. Rachel Ventresca, Fortune, 6 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for copy 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'copy.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English copie, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin copia, from Latin, abundance — more at copious

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of copy was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near copy

Cite this Entry

“Copy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
plural copies
: something that is made to look exactly like something else : duplicate
a copy of a letter
a copy of a painting
: one of the total number of books, magazines, or papers printed at one time
: written or printed material to be set in type


2 of 2 verb
copied; copying
: to make a copy : duplicate

More from Merriam-Webster on copy

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