Origin: 1525–35; Related forms
< Latin imitātus
past participle of imitārī
to copy, presumably a frequentative akin to the base of imāgō image
o·ver·im·i·tate, verb (used with object), o·ver·im·i·tat·ed, o·ver·im·i·tat·ing.
pre·im·i·tate, verb (used with object), pre·im·i·tat·ed, pre·im·i·tat·ing.
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.