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[im-i-tey-shuh n] /ˌɪm ɪˈteɪ ʃən/
a result or product of imitating.
the act of imitating.
a counterfeit; copy.
a literary composition that imitates the manner or subject of another author or work.
Biology, mimicry.
Psychology. the performance of an act whose stimulus is the observation of the act performed by another person.
Sociology. the copying of patterns of activity and thought of other groups or individuals.
  1. (in Aristotelian aesthetics) the representation of an object or an action as it ought to be.
  2. the representation of actuality in art or literature.
Music. the repetition of a melodic phrase at a different pitch or key from the original or in a different voice part.
designed to imitate a genuine or superior article or thing:
imitation leather.
Jewelry. noting an artificial gem no part of which is of the true gemstone.
Compare assembled, synthetic (def 5).
Origin of imitation
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin imitātiōn- (stem of imitātiō). See imitate, -ion
Related forms
imitational, adjective
nonimitational, adjective
overimitation, noun
preimitation, noun
self-imitation, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for imitation
  • But imitation facing brick, sold at home centers, looks almost exactly the same and is easily applied.
  • For any scholar contemplating an imitation of my method, choose a group or subject you find essentially repulsive.
  • Zircons are heavy, durable minerals related to the synthetic cubic zirconium used for imitation diamonds and costume jewelry.
  • imitation is thought to be the sincerest form of flattery-even when the mimic and model are unaware of the mimicry.
  • Both canid species will respond to imitation calls from humans.
  • They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
  • imitation in this case is not a form of flattery but of subtle persuasion.
  • The expressive aspects of distortion frequently move us more than the awe that accompanies accurate imitation.
  • If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the iPod must be blushing its scroll wheel off right now.
  • Boon argues that originality is more complicated than it seems, and that imitation may be the sincerest form of being human.
British Dictionary definitions for imitation


the act, practice, or art of imitating; mimicry
an instance or product of imitating, such as a copy of the manner of a person; impression
  1. a copy or reproduction of a genuine article; counterfeit
  2. (as modifier): imitation jewellery
(in contrapuntal or polyphonic music) the repetition of a phrase or figure in one part after its appearance in another, as in a fugue
a literary composition that adapts the style of an older work to the writer's own purposes
Derived Forms
imitational, adjective
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 imitation

c.1400, "emulation; act of copying," from Old French imitacion, from Latin imitationem (nominative imitatio) "a copying, imitation," from past participle stem of imitari "to copy, portray, imitate," from PIE *im-eto-, from root *aim- "copy" (cf. Hittite himma- "imitation, substitute"). Meaning "an artificial likeness" is from c.1600. As an adjective, from 1840.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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