pla·​gia·​rism | \ ˈplā-jə-ˌri-zəm How to pronounce plagiarism (audio) also -jē-ə- \

Definition of plagiarism

1 : an act or instance of plagiarizing
2 : something plagiarized

Other Words from plagiarism

plagiarist \ ˈplā-​jə-​rist How to pronounce plagiarism (audio) also  -​jē-​ə \ noun
plagiaristic \ ˌplā-​jə-​ˈri-​stik How to pronounce plagiarism (audio) also  -​jē-​ə-​ \ adjective

Common Misspellings

plagarism, plagerism, plagirism

The Kidnapping Roots of Plagiarize

If schools wish to impress upon their students how serious an offense plagiarism is, they might start with an explanation of the word’s history. Plagiarize (and plagiarism) comes from the Latin plagiarius “kidnapper.” This word, derived from the Latin plaga (“a net used by hunters to catch game”), extended its meaning in Latin to include a person who stole the words, rather than the children, of another. When plagiarius first entered English in the form plagiary, it kept its original reference to kidnapping, a sense that is now quite obsolete.

Examples of plagiarism in a Sentence

The student has been accused of plagiarism.
Recent Examples on the Web Far from putting meaningful distance between Trump and himself, this verges on plagiarism. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 1 Apr. 2022 These tools will clean up your writing by detecting grammar and spelling mistakes, plagiarism and contextual errors. Caroline Castrillon, Forbes, 12 Sep. 2021 As opposed, of course, to the result of plagiarism. Washington Post, 3 May 2022 The man is accused of assaulting a rival author who accused him of plagiarism. Tom Nolan, WSJ, 22 Apr. 2022 After being accused of plagiarism, Wilson dropped out of school at the age of 15. Susan Glaser, cleveland, 21 Apr. 2022 This week, the Iranian court decided both suits in Masihzadeh’s favor, throwing out the defamation case and finding Farhadi guilty of plagiarism. Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter, 4 Apr. 2022 The film is based on the biography of 19th-century actor and playwright Eduardo Scarpetta, who lived a lavish lifestyle, was accused harshly of plagiarism, but had a tremendous impact on the development of Italian theater. Sam Boyer, cleveland, 11 Mar. 2022 The person behind @NFTTheft, a Twitter account devoted to exposing plagiarism on OpenSea and other NFT stores, is scathing. Gian M. Volpicelli, Wired, 10 Feb. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of plagiarism

1621, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of plagiarism was in 1621

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Statistics for plagiarism

Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Plagiarism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for plagiarism


pla·​gia·​rism | \ ˈplā-jə-ˌri-zəm How to pronounce plagiarism (audio) \

Kids Definition of plagiarism

: an act of copying the ideas or words of another person without giving credit to that person

More from Merriam-Webster on plagiarism

Nglish: Translation of plagiarism for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of plagiarism for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about plagiarism


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