plagiarize

verb

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

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
plagiarizer noun

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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 Some of the stories and recipes had been plagiarized from a 2012 memoir by Sharon Wee, Wee had complained on social media. Emily Heil, Washington Post, 30 Jan. 2024 Imagine a student or a journalist who won’t promise not to plagiarize. Alex Reisner, The Atlantic, 29 Feb. 2024 The references to Harvey Weinstein are simply meant to inflame and appear to be plagiarized from prior cases against Mr. Weinstein. Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY, 17 Jan. 2024 The chances are that a cheap essay will be plagiarized or poorly written. Sponsored Content, The Mercury News, 9 Feb. 2024 And recall the histrionic bleating from academics when the Times and other papers started to take seriously the accusations from conservatives that Harvard president Claudine Gay had plagiarized much of her academic work. Christian Schneider, National Review, 8 Feb. 2024 Aoba had submitted a story to Kyoto Animation, which is a publisher of light novels as well as being a producer of animation series, in a competition and later claimed that the company had plagiarized his work. Patrick Frater, Variety, 25 Jan. 2024 Then Neri Oxman, a former star professor at M.I.T., was accused of plagiarizing from Wikipedia, among other sources, in her dissertation. Anemona Hartocollis, New York Times, 14 Jan. 2024 In mid-December, The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative online journal, reported that Gray plagiarized parts of her 1997 dissertation as well as other academic articles. Luisa Beltran, Fortune, 3 Jan. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'plagiarize.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

plagiary

First Known Use

1660, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of plagiarize was in 1660

Dictionary Entries Near plagiarize

Cite this Entry

“Plagiarize.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/plagiarize. Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

plagiarize

verb
pla·​gia·​rize ˈplā-jə-ˌrīz How to pronounce plagiarize (audio)
plagiarized; plagiarizing
: to steal and pass off (as the ideas or words of another) as one's own
plagiarized a classmate's homework
plagiarizer noun

Legal Definition

plagiarize

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

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
plagiarism noun
plagiarist noun
Etymology

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

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