pla·​gia·​rize | \ ˈplā-jə-ˌrīz How to pronounce plagiarize (audio) also -jē-ə- \
plagiarized; plagiarizing

Definition of plagiarize

transitive verb

: to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own : use (another's production) without crediting the source

intransitive verb

: to commit literary theft : present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source

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Other Words from plagiarize

plagiarizer noun

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 plagiarize in a Sentence

He plagiarized a classmate's report. She plagiarized from an article she read on the Internet.
Recent Examples on the Web This is to ensure that the content isn't plagiarized, offensive, non-scientific or pose a health or safety risk, according to the servers' websites. Dr. Minali Nigam And Michael Nedelman, CNN, "Science speeds up during coronavirus pandemic -- but at what cost?," 15 May 2020 The remainder of the book is plagiarized verbatim from articles on and The Guardian, according to a copy seen by NBC News. NBC News, "Coronavirus books plagiarized from news outlets dominate Amazon search results," 11 Mar. 2020 In late 2016, King's ex-wife Bonnie King was surprised when she was contacted by a writer complaining that American Herald Tribune had been plagiarizing his work. Donie O'sullivan, CNN, "Exclusive: 'American' news site with ties to Iran sheds new light on Tehran's information war," 24 Jan. 2020 Some of the top results were plagiarized from news sources and published under the names of doctors who didn't exist. Washington Post, "The Technology 202: Here's how Silicon Valley is helping Washington respond to coronavirus," 11 Mar. 2020 Each of the book’s chapters were directly plagiarized from other parts of the web. NBC News, "Coronavirus books plagiarized from news outlets dominate Amazon search results," 11 Mar. 2020 Around the same time, Raval published an academic paper that was later revealed to be plagiarized. Dan Garisto/undark, Popular Science, "YouTube science videos are riddled with scams, plagiarism, and misinformation," 9 Mar. 2020 Many of the examples involved Russian scientists plagiarizing from other scientific articles while others involved the same scientists publishing more than one paper with substantially the same data. Robyn Dixon, Washington Post, "Putin wanted Russian science to top the world. Then a huge academic scandal blew up.," 17 Jan. 2020 Warren plagiarized her contribution to a book of Native American home recipes, Pow Wow Chow, from a French cookbook. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "Lying Liz," 17 Jan. 2020

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

1660, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for plagiarize


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Time Traveler for plagiarize

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The first known use of plagiarize was in 1660

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Cite this Entry

“Plagiarize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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How to pronounce plagiarize (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of plagiarize

: to use the words or ideas of another person as if they were your own words or ideas


pla·​gia·​rize | \ ˈplā-jə-ˌrīz How to pronounce plagiarize (audio) \
plagiarized; plagiarizing

Legal Definition of plagiarize

transitive verb

: to copy and pass off (the expression of ideas or words of another) as one's own : use (another's work) without crediting the source the book contained plagiarized materialSmith v. Little, Brown & Co., 265 F. Supp. 451 (1965)

intransitive verb

: to present as new and original an idea or work derived from an existing source

Other Words from plagiarize

plagiarism \ -​ˌri-​zəm How to pronounce plagiarism (audio) \ noun
plagiarist \ -​rist How to pronounce plagiarist (audio) \ noun

History and Etymology for plagiarize

from plagiary plagiarist, from Latin plagiarius, literally, kidnapper, from plagium netting of game, kidnapping, from plaga net

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More from Merriam-Webster on plagiarize

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for plagiarize

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with plagiarize

Spanish Central: Translation of plagiarize

Nglish: Translation of plagiarize for Spanish Speakers

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