imitation

noun
im·​i·​ta·​tion | \ ˌi-mə-ˈtā-shən How to pronounce imitation (audio) \

Definition of imitation

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an act or instance of imitating
2 : something produced as a copy : counterfeit
3 : a literary work designed to reproduce the style of another author
4 : the repetition by one voice of a melody, phrase, or motive stated earlier in the composition by a different voice
5 : the quality of an object in possessing some of the nature or attributes of a transcendent idea
6 : the assumption of behavior observed in other individuals

imitation

adjective

Definition of imitation (Entry 2 of 2)

: resembling something else that is usually genuine and of better quality : not real imitation leather

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of imitation in a Sentence

Noun

Children learn by imitation of adults. The restaurant was designed in imitation of a Japanese temple. He did a hilarious imitation of his father. The real diamonds are in a museum. These are just imitations.

Adjective

the stage production uses only imitation diamonds, as real gems would be prohibitively expensive
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Mies died in 1969, and by the 1970s his acolytes were cranking out uninspired imitations of his buildings. Fred A. Bernstein, New York Times, "Stanley Tigerman, Architect of Puckish Postmodernism, Dies at 88," 4 June 2019 Those disposable 3-cent imitation tools are meant for people who've just had their Pop-a-Shot delivered to Disappointment Island in the South Pacific and don't have any other tools. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "Please Never Ever Assemble Something With the Tools That Came With It," 31 Dec. 2018 This impressive imitation captures the nuanced colors of a real air plant. The Editors, Good Housekeeping, "7 of the Best-Looking Fake Plants You Can Buy," 28 Dec. 2018 But substituting animal proteins for imitation versions can come with nutritional trade-offs, companies say. Anne Marie Chaker, WSJ, "Fish: The Final Frontier in Fake Meat," 15 Oct. 2018 It has been assumed that chimpanzees and other non-human primates did not engage in imitation games. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Here are your 2018 Ig Nobel Prize winners," 13 Sep. 2018 There are other, smaller investors who also think that Endless West can produce profitable imitation alcoholic beverages. Alan Goldfarb, The Verge, "Artificial whiskey is coming, and one company is betting you’ll drink up," 23 Aug. 2018 The next decade will reveal whether these imitations were a series of brilliant moves or large-scale financial engineering. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Has Snapchat peaked? And understanding Alex Jones’ platform bans," 7 Aug. 2018 Video footage from the scene showed that the assailants wore what appeared to be imitations of U.S. military uniforms. Washington Post, "Afghan forces repel Islamic State attack at Kabul ministry," 30 May 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of imitation

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1818, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for imitation

Noun

Middle English ymytacyoun "emulation," borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French imitacion, borrowed from Latin imitātiōn-, imitātiō "action of copying, copy," from imitārī "to follow as a pattern, imitate" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of verbal action

Adjective

from attributive use of imitation entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about imitation

Statistics for imitation

Last Updated

11 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for imitation

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for imitation

imitation

noun

English Language Learners Definition of imitation

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the act of copying or imitating someone or something
: something that is made or produced as a copy

imitation

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of imitation (Entry 2 of 2)

: made to look like something that is valuable : not genuine

imitation

noun
im·​i·​ta·​tion | \ ˌi-mə-ˈtā-shən How to pronounce imitation (audio) \

Kids Definition of imitation

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the act of copying someone or something She does great imitations of celebrities.
2 : copy entry 1 sense 1 These diamonds are just imitations.

imitation

adjective

Kids Definition of imitation (Entry 2 of 2)

: made to look like something else and especially something valuable imitation pearls

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on imitation

What made you want to look up imitation? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a device or gadget

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!