Synonym Chooser

How is the word imitate distinct from other similar verbs?

Some common synonyms of imitate are ape, copy, mimic, and mock. While all these words mean "to make something so that it resembles an existing thing," imitate suggests following a model or a pattern but may allow for some variation.

imitate a poet's style

When is ape a more appropriate choice than imitate?

The words ape and imitate are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, ape may suggest presumptuous, slavish, or inept imitating of a superior original.

American fashion designers aped their European colleagues

Where would copy be a reasonable alternative to imitate?

The synonyms copy and imitate are sometimes interchangeable, but copy suggests duplicating an original as nearly as possible.

copied the painting and sold the fake as an original

When is it sensible to use mimic instead of imitate?

The words mimic and imitate can be used in similar contexts, but mimic implies a close copying (as of voice or mannerism) often for fun, ridicule, or lifelike imitation.

pupils mimicking their teacher

When could mock be used to replace imitate?

The meanings of mock and imitate largely overlap; however, mock usually implies imitation with derision.

mocking a vain man's pompous manner

Thesaurus Entries Near imitate

Cite this Entry

“Imitate.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Dec. 2023.

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