imitate

verb
im·​i·​tate | \ ˈi-mə-ˌtāt How to pronounce imitate (audio) \
imitated; imitating

Definition of imitate

transitive verb

1 : to follow as a pattern, model, or example
2 : mimic, counterfeit can imitate his father's booming voice
3 : to be or appear like : resemble
4 : to produce a copy of : reproduce

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Other Words from imitate

imitator \ ˈi-​mə-​ˌtā-​tər How to pronounce imitator (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for imitate

Synonyms

ape, copy, copycat, emulate, mime, mimic

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Choose the Right Synonym for imitate

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, slavish, 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 imitate in a Sentence

Her style has been imitated by many other writers. He's very good at imitating his father's voice. She can imitate the calls of many different birds.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Smigel gets up to imitate the dance, keeping his feet in place while slightly swaying his hips and shimmying his arms with his fists clenched. Chris Boghossian, chicagotribune.com, "Da story behind Da Bears — and how the sausage-eating, Mike Ditka-obsessed, Chicago-aggrandizing Super Fans are still part of Chicago sports today," 3 Sep. 2019 Any twin mom knows that their kids tend to imitate each other. Charlotte Triggs, PEOPLE.com, "How PEOPLE's Deputy Editor (and Mom of Three!) Handled Potty Training Her 2-Year-Old Twins," 3 Sep. 2019 The snails flash different colors to imitate caterpillars to hungry birds, who then eat the snail. Fox News, "Creepy 'zombie snail' flashes green and orange, freaks out hiker," 16 Aug. 2019 And an imitation egg needs to imitate all of them — or at least a lot of them — to catch on with consumers. Kelsey Piper, Vox, "Meatless meat is having a moment. Will eggless eggs be next?," 23 July 2019 Turner encouraged the baptismal candidates to imitate Jesus Christ in their thoughts, speech and actions. Brieanna J. Frank, azcentral, "'Most powerful moment of your life': Large group of Jehovah's Witnesses get baptized at Chase Field," 10 Aug. 2019 Other students began joining her, or imitating her elsewhere, striking every Friday. Fortune, "Why Kids Are Skipping School to Fight Climate Change," 28 July 2019 After a long orchestral introduction, Day begins singing with a tenderness and directness that evoke a young Ella Fitzgerald, whose singing Day had imitated in her own youth. Howard Reich, chicagotribune.com, "Why Doris Day reigns as one of the great jazz singers," 30 June 2019 Nearby, her two little cubs also tore into the ground, imitating her. Douglas Main, National Geographic, "The most bizarre things grizzly bears eat, from elk to moths," 25 June 2019

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

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First Known Use of imitate

1534, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for imitate

borrowed from Latin imitātus, past participle of imitārī "to follow as a pattern, copy," frequentative derivative of a presumed verb *imā- "make a copy," perhaps going back to Indo-European *h2im-, whence also Hittite hima-, himma- "substitute, replica, toy"

Note: Aside from Hittite, evidence for an etymon *h2im- is lacking. See also etymology and note at emulous.

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Learn More about imitate

Statistics for imitate

Last Updated

14 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for imitate

The first known use of imitate was in 1534

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More Definitions for imitate

imitate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of imitate

: to make or do something the same way as (something else)
: to do the same thing as (someone)
: to copy (someone's or something's behavior, sound, appearance, etc.)

imitate

verb
im·​i·​tate | \ ˈi-mə-ˌtāt How to pronounce imitate (audio) \
imitated; imitating

Kids Definition of imitate

1 : to follow as a pattern, model, or example He tried to imitate the older boys.
2 : to be or appear like : resemble The vinyl imitates leather.
3 : to copy exactly : mimic She can imitate bird calls.

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More from Merriam-Webster on imitate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with imitate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for imitate

Spanish Central: Translation of imitate

Nglish: Translation of imitate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of imitate for Arabic Speakers

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