im·​i·​ta·​tive ˈi-mə-ˌtā-tiv How to pronounce imitative (audio)
 especially British  -tə-tiv
: marked by imitation
acting is an imitative art
: reproducing or representing a natural sound : onomatopoeic
"hiss" is an imitative word
: exhibiting mimicry
: inclined to imitate
: imitating something superior : counterfeit
imitatively adverb
imitativeness noun

Examples of imitative in a Sentence

The architecture is imitative of a Japanese temple. your writing style tends to be imitative of whichever author you've recently read
Recent Examples on the Web The Emory oak restoration imitative to preserve groves in the region recently marked its fifth anniversary, Peacey said. The Arizona Republic, 29 Feb. 2024 Girard drew from his early-career studies of literary figures such as Proust the insight that desire is essentially imitative (or mimetic) rather than straightforwardly directed toward its apparent objects. Michelle Orange, Harper's Magazine, 13 Dec. 2023 Mae’s life aligns with the repetitive, imitative work of Warhol, showing us that the story of growing into an adult — becoming a woman — is a story of aesthetic creation. Bekah Waalkes, Washington Post, 10 July 2023 The crowded true-crime space tends to be an imitative one—a quality that can work in victims’ favor, as with this docuseries, which builds on the empathy-building of its predecessors. Inkoo Kang, The New Yorker, 1 Mar. 2023 The mystery account behind the AI song, identifying as Ghostwriter, left no clues about how the imitative track was brought into being, or what information was fed into programs to create it. Chris Willman, Variety, 17 Apr. 2023 Chapter 4 is a triumph of consistent style — a rare distinction among blockbusters usually dependent on conventional, imitative effects. Armond White, National Review, 24 Mar. 2023 As the main arc of Dream’s captivity and artifact quest closes in The Sandman’s middle episodes, the series gives way to an anthological structure, imitative of the comics and allowing viewers to meet characters only briefly featured in the series’ source material. Josh St. Clair, Men's Health, 8 Aug. 2022 The light bulb, after all, is a supreme specimen of imitative technology, a mechanized candle. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, 1 Mar. 2023

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

Word History


borrowed from Late Latin imitātīvus, from Latin imitātus, past participle of imitārī "to follow as a pattern, imitate" + -īvus -ive

First Known Use

1584, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of imitative was in 1584

Dictionary Entries Near imitative

Cite this Entry

“Imitative.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


im·​i·​ta·​tive ˈim-ə-ˌtāt-iv How to pronounce imitative (audio)
: involving imitation
: given to imitating
: imitating something better
imitatively adverb

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