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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In 1925, when Grange left the University of Illinois to play with the Chicago Bears, the NFL was a pale imitation of the college game and struggled to attract crowds. The Si Staff, SI.com, "100 Figures Who Shaped the NFL’s First Century," 28 Aug. 2019 The imitation was crude and cruel, but the point was again to make a woman sound stupid, too clueless to make her own decisions. Glamour, "Tucker Carlson Said Furious Women Should Watch Him. Here’s What I See.," 19 Mar. 2019 When Instagram and Yelp are crowded with 300 pictures of your latest dish or cutting-edge bar decor, imitation isn't just a form of flattery; it's intellectual theft that is entirely legal and impossible to prevent. Laura Reiley | The Washington Post, oregonlive.com, "The golden age of restaurants is ending, new book argues," 18 July 2019 That includes the capacity for nonverbal movement imitation, a tendency to form long-term social bonds, the ability to learn complex sequences of actions, and attentiveness to communicative movements. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "What This Head-Banging, Body-Rolling Cockatoo Teaches Us About the Evolution of Dance," 11 July 2019 Kutcher tweeted Saturday that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and cited Oscar Wilde for the quote. Fox News, "Principal accused of copying Kutcher speech is suspended," 12 June 2019 As the years passed, evidence poured in for a similar mechanism in humans, and mirror neurons became implicated in a long list of phenomena, including empathy, imitation, altruism and autism spectrum disorder, among others. Raleigh Mcelvery, WIRED, "How the Brain Links Gestures, Perception, and Meaning," 31 Mar. 2019 In France, the boy performed his Napoleon imitation only once, at the request of King Louis-Philippe, during a private show at the royal country palace. Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker, "What P. T. Barnum Understood About America," 29 July 2019 Fans — both men and women alike — participating in the event were encouraged to share their imitations on social media by using the hashtags #katzsdeli, #fakeitlikemeg and #whenharrymetsally. Alexia Fernandez, PEOPLE.com, "Rob Reiner Says Harry and Sally Were Not Supposed to End Up Together in When Harry Met Sally," 15 July 2019

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.

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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

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Learn More about imitation

Statistics for imitation

Last Updated

17 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for imitation

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

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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

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Comments on imitation

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