im·​i·​ta·​tive | \ ˈi-mə-ˌtā-tiv How to pronounce imitative (audio) , especially British -tə-tiv\

Definition of imitative

1a : marked by imitation acting is an imitative art
b : reproducing or representing a natural sound : onomatopoeic "hiss" is an imitative word
c : exhibiting mimicry
2 : inclined to imitate
3 : imitating something superior : counterfeit

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from imitative

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

Denney then chose Stop Predatory Gambling Idaho to argue against the instant racing imitative. Kimberlee Kruesi, The Seattle Times, "Idaho election chief selects arguments for initiatives," 24 July 2018 The third movement’s opening is announced by Minimalist harp figures and muted tones — suggestive of jazz, but not imitative — in the brasses. Seth Colter Walls, New York Times, "Review: The New York Philharmonic Gets Audacious, With Ease," 10 June 2018 The KidsMatter’s imitative ParentsMatterToo also provides a multitude of videos offering parents advice on a variety of childhood issues. Suzanne Baker, Naperville Sun, "See something, say something a rule for parents, too, when it comes to school threats, experts say," 15 May 2018 So too did the artists bring out the Mendelssohnian grace of the allegro molto from Opus 8, the imitative figures bouncing from one instrument to the next. John Von Rhein,, "Yo-Yo Ma and friends prove their mastery in Brahms; MOB ventures rare Handel oratorio," 28 Feb. 2018 In February, the council directed staff to collaborate with legal service providers and launch a coordinated imitative to provide access to legal representation to Santa Ana residents at risk of removal who cannot afford an attorney. Jessica Kwong, Orange County Register, "Santa Ana wants to create legal defense fund for immigration detainees facing deportation," 17 May 2017 Instead, the lamp’s popularity in offices, libraries and homes gave rise to several rip-offs, some with names as brazenly imitative as Verdelite and... Tim Gavan, WSJ, "The Classic Banker’s Desk Lamp, Updated for 2017," 23 Feb. 2017 Burroughs was interrogating the universe with scissors and a paste pot, and the least imitative of authors was no plagiarist at all. William Gibson, WIRED, "God’s Little Toys," 1 July 2005

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'imitative.' 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 imitative

1584, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for imitative

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about imitative

Statistics for imitative

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for imitative

The first known use of imitative was in 1584

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for imitative



English Language Learners Definition of imitative

formal : made or done to be like something or someone else


im·​i·​ta·​tive | \ ˈi-mə-ˌtā-tiv How to pronounce imitative (audio) \

Kids Definition of imitative

: made or done to be like something or someone else imitative sounds

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on imitative

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with imitative

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for imitative

Spanish Central: Translation of imitative

Nglish: Translation of imitative for Spanish Speakers

Comments on imitative

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


not constant or steady

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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