Synonyms & Antonyms of imitate

1 to use (someone or something) as the model for one's speech, mannerisms, or behavior
  • teenage musicians who imitate whichever rock stars are hot

Synonyms for imitate

Words Related to imitate

2 to copy or exaggerate (someone or something) in order to make fun of
  • imitating someone's stutter and laughing at them is a cruel thing to do

Synonyms for imitate

Words Related to imitate

3 to make an exact likeness of
  • a second-rate artist who was notorious for imitating the works of other painters

Synonyms for imitate

Words Related to imitate

Near Antonyms for imitate

Antonyms for imitate

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Frequently Asked Questions About imitate

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

Learn More About imitate

Time Traveler for imitate

Time Traveler

The first known use of imitate was in 1534

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Cite this Entry

“Imitate.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on imitate

Nglish: Translation of imitate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of imitate for Arabic Speakers


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