plagiarism

noun
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

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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

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 Just as a note: In social science, this is not plagiarism. The Salt Lake Tribune, "Jana Riess: What the LDS Church wants to know from its young adult members," 22 Mar. 2021 Using modern plagiarism software and a sleuth’s keen eye, McCarthy has uncovered numerous examples of phrases written by the Bard that also appear in text attributed to North, a prolific writer, translator, soldier, diplomat and lawyer of his time. David Kindy, Smithsonian Magazine, "Did Shakespeare Base His Masterpieces on Works by an Obscure Elizabethan Playwright?," 6 Apr. 2021 The content generated by AI is entirely new and will pass a plagiarism detection system. Adam Geller, Forbes, "Can AI Computers Write Essays Better Than You?," 5 Apr. 2021 In the past, Rachel has been accused of plagiarism. Janice Gassam Asare, Forbes, "Your Allyship Is Performative If You Can’t Take Accountability," 5 Apr. 2021 Mysterious events plague a troubled author after a menacing stranger accuses him of plagiarism. Los Angeles Times, "Movies on TV this week: ‘An American in Paris’; ‘Ben-Hur’," 26 Mar. 2021 Mysterious events plague a troubled author after a menacing stranger accuses him of plagiarism. Los Angeles Times, "Movies on TV this week: ‘An American in Paris’; ‘Ben-Hur’," 26 Mar. 2021 The organizers scrapped their first logo after plagiarism accusations. New York Times, "Why ‘Cursed’ Olympics Are Pressing Ahead Amid a Pandemic," 24 Mar. 2021 Mysterious events plague a troubled author after a menacing stranger accuses him of plagiarism. Ed Stockly, Los Angeles Times, "Movies on TV this week: ‘The Searchers’; ‘Forrest Gump’," 12 Mar. 2021

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.

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First Known Use of plagiarism

1621, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for plagiarism

Time Traveler

The first known use of plagiarism was in 1621

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Statistics for plagiarism

Last Updated

5 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Plagiarism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/plagiarism. Accessed 15 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for plagiarism

plagiarism

noun

English Language Learners Definition of plagiarism

: the act of using another person's words or ideas without giving credit to that person : the act of plagiarizing something

plagiarism

noun
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

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about plagiarism

Comments on plagiarism

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