\ ˈkä-pē How to pronounce copy (audio) \
plural copies

Definition of copy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an imitation, transcript, or reproduction of an original work (such as a letter, a painting, a table, or a dress)
2 : one of a series of especially mechanical reproductions of an original impression also : an individual example of such a reproduction
3 archaic : something to be imitated : model
4a : matter to be set especially for printing
b : something considered printable or newsworthy used without an article remarks that make good copy— Norman Cousins
c : text especially of an advertisement
5 : duplicate sense 1a a copy of a computer file a copy of a gene


copied; copying; copies

Definition of copy (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : 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
2 : to model oneself on
3 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

1 : to make a copy
2 : to undergo copying the map did not copy well
3 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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Having one copy of the gene puts people over the age of 65 in danger, while having two copies is considered the strongest risk factor for the future development of Alzheimer's in that age group. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, 31 July 2022 Reading Recitatif online as a PDF or on flimsy copy paper alienates us from the experience. Natasha Gural, Forbes, 31 July 2022 Here's your chance to grab a physical copy for the Switch. Gear Team, Wired, 30 July 2022 Strayed sent Witherspoon an advance copy of her 2012 memoir, which the actress shopped around to studios. Patrick Ryan, USA TODAY, 29 July 2022 The document or a digital copy of it must include your name and current address. Michael Woch, Detroit Free Press, 28 July 2022 Others address technologies of reproduction which, with ever-increasing ease, turn one image into a copy of itself, a double. Sebastian Smee, Washington Post, 28 July 2022 In the copy-cat world of volleyball, teams tried to emulate the Soviets or Japan. John Maffei, San Diego Union-Tribune, 28 July 2022 The plan, a copy of which was acquired by WZVN, is to be filled out between a student and their counselor. Kiara Alfonseca, ABC News, 27 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb His father once tried to teach him out of a workbook, but rather than try to solve the problems, Huh would copy the solutions from the back. Quanta Magazine, 5 July 2022 Developers periodically copy other studios’ successful game concepts, tweak them enough to avoid intellectual property disputes, and upload their own versions with similar names and descriptions. Katie Deighton, WSJ, 27 June 2022 Often, scammers will copy email templates from trusted companies and even stand up duplicate websites, all to collect your personal information. Expert Panel®, Forbes, 10 June 2022 Audio is never saved or shared with anyone; to save your answers, copy and past the text into a separate document, or download the full transcript at the end of the interview. Stephanie Mlot, PCMAG, 18 May 2022 As Procaccia noted, competitors could copy and roll out Twitter’s algorithms. Rachel Metz, CNN, 19 Apr. 2022 Or copy Jennifer Aniston's cool-girl-next-door vibe with the cognac espadrilles paired with a flirty summer skirt and tank top. Brittany Vanderbill,, 18 Apr. 2022 Those staff did not copy or forward their official messaging counts, as required by the Presidential Records Act. Farnoush Amiri,, 18 Feb. 2022 Those staff did not copy or forward their official messaging counts, as required by the Presidential Records Act. Farnoush Amiri, ajc, 18 Feb. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'copy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of copy


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


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

History and Etymology for copy


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

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

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Last Updated

4 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Copy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for copy


\ ˈkä-pē How to pronounce copy (audio) \
plural copies

Kids Definition of copy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : something that is made to look exactly like something else : duplicate a copy of a letter a copy of a painting
2 : one of the total number of books, magazines, or papers printed at one time She owns a copy of a popular atlas.
3 : written material to be published


copied; copying

Kids Definition of copy (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to make a duplicate of

Choose the Right Synonym for copy


copy, imitate, and mimic mean to make something so that it resembles something else. copy means trying to duplicate a thing as much as possible. Copy this drawing exactly. imitate means that a person uses something as an example but does not try to make an exact copy. They imitated the actions of their parents. mimic means carefully copying something (as a person's voice) often for the purpose of making fun of it. The comedian mimicked a popular singer.

More from Merriam-Webster on copy

Nglish: Translation of copy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of copy for Arabic Speakers


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