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 Fake sites plagiarize all their content, or have no content at all. Dr. Augustine Fou, Forbes, "Marketers, Be Prepared For Severe Pushback When You Do This," 18 Apr. 2021 On the black market, enterprising art criminals regularly exploited a lack of official documentation, or provenance, to plagiarize and resell forged copies of works. Nora Mcgreevy, Smithsonian Magazine, "Why a German Museum Is Displaying Fake Paintings From Its Collections," 26 Oct. 2020 The Browns seemed to plagiarize that strategy on Sunday. Scott Patsko, cleveland, "Browns use Washington template to get a win: 3 Quick Thoughts," 27 Sep. 2020 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

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

Time Traveler

The first known use of plagiarize was in 1660

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Statistics for plagiarize

Last Updated

24 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Plagiarize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for plagiarize



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 plagiarize (audio) \ noun
plagiarist \ -​rist How to pronounce plagiarize (audio) \ noun

History and Etymology for plagiarize

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

More from Merriam-Webster on plagiarize

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for plagiarize

Nglish: Translation of plagiarize for Spanish Speakers

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