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13 Essential Literary Terms

imitate

[im-i-teyt] /ˈɪm ɪˌteɪt/
verb (used with object), imitated, imitating.
1.
to follow or endeavor to follow as a model or example:
to imitate an author's style; to imitate an older brother.
2.
to mimic; impersonate:
The students imitated the teacher behind her back.
3.
to make a copy of; reproduce closely.
4.
to have or assume the appearance of; simulate; resemble.
Origin
1525-1535
1525-35; < Latin imitātus past participle of imitārī to copy, presumably a frequentative akin to the base of imāgō image
Related forms
imitator, noun
nonimitating, adjective
overimitate, verb (used with object), overimitated, overimitating.
preimitate, verb (used with object), preimitated, preimitating.
unimitated, adjective
unimitating, adjective
well-imitated, adjective
Synonyms
2. ape, mock. 3. Imitate, copy, duplicate, reproduce all mean to follow or try to follow an example or pattern. Imitate is the general word for the idea: to imitate someone's handwriting, behavior. To copy is to make a fairly exact imitation of an original creation: to copy a sentence, a dress, a picture. To duplicate is to produce something that exactly resembles or corresponds to something else; both may be originals: to duplicate the terms of two contracts. To reproduce is to make a likeness or reconstruction of an original: to reproduce a 16th-century theater.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for imitate
  • He changed my fly from a pink one to a green one, to imitate the fruit.
  • And even when they have attempted to imitate marine life, they have tended to consider it through mammalian eyes.
  • In other words, babies listen to the words adults use and the situations in which they use them and imitate accordingly.
  • The children dance and pose to imitate the sculptures.
  • In addition to simulating exercise protocols, the device may be used to imitate the physiological effects of spacewalking.
  • Humpback whales not only sing, they imitate the singing of other whales.
  • They have little choice but to imitate the natural sciences.
  • One approach being pursued by researchers is to imitate nature.
  • If you're looking for a role model in a world of complexity, you could do worse than to imitate a bee.
  • When they're older, they start to imitate the sounds they hear.
British Dictionary definitions for imitate

imitate

/ˈɪmɪˌteɪt/
verb (transitive)
1.
to try to follow the manner, style, character, etc, of or take as a model: many writers imitated the language of Shakespeare
2.
to pretend to be or to impersonate, esp for humour; mimic
3.
to make a copy or reproduction of; duplicate; counterfeit
4.
to make or be like; resemble or simulate: her achievements in politics imitated her earlier successes in business
Derived Forms
imitable, adjective
imitability, imitableness, noun
imitator, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin imitārī; see image
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for imitate
v.

1530s, a back-formation from imitation or imitator, or else from Latin imitatus. Related: Imitated; imitating. An Old English word for this was æfterhyrigan.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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