Definition of imitation in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌiməˈtāSH(ə)n/


1A thing intended to simulate or copy something else: [as modifier]: an imitation diamond
More example sentences
  • Surely, there could be imitations and really good reproductions, but these cannot be considered original art.
  • These works are often replicas or imitations of ancient Greek and Roman art.
  • It means even drinkers of cheap imitations of champagne pay an extra 50p a bottle.
copy, simulation, reproduction, replica;
artificial, synthetic, simulated, man-made, manufactured, ersatz, substitute;
mock, sham, fake, faux, bogus, knockoff, pseudo, phony
informal me-too
1.1The action of using someone or something as a model: a child learns to speak by imitation
More example sentences
  • We now have running turf wars by vested interests which place the welfare of the patient and the accession to treatment at the bottom of the system in supine imitation of the British model.
  • The imitation of classical models was less common than on the Continent and, except for Jonson, no important writer paid strict attention to the rules humanist critics had formulated.
  • Obedience cannot, moreover, be a matter for isolated preoccupation, in the search for models for our imitation.
emulation, copying, echoing, parroting
1.2An act of imitating a person’s speech or mannerisms, especially for comic effect: he attempted an atrocious imitation of my English accent
More example sentences
  • ‘Like, duh,’ I rolled my eyes in a valley girl imitation, flipping my hair for good effect.
  • In his show he exploited a talent for mimicry that manifested itself in a Moira Anderson imitation when he was seven, and then in wicked parodies of his teachers.
  • Here he employs an improbably effective Paul Lynde imitation for much of his delivery.
impersonation, impression, parody, mockery, caricature, burlesque, travesty, lampoon, pastiche;
mimicry, mimicking, imitating, aping
informal send-up, takeoff, spoof
1.3 Music The repetition of a phrase or melody in another part or voice, usually at a different pitch.
Example sentences
  • In this early work, moreover, Crawford still relies on traditional phrasing and contrapuntal imitation, so the listener has that rock to hold on to.
  • One could consider this a contrapuntal jeu d' esprit, with rapid lines of imitation and stretto, but for its character of psychological unease.
  • Parker's setting are starker, more monumental, more dependent on modes, open fifths, and contrapuntal imitation.


imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

proverb Copying someone or something is an implicit way of paying them a compliment.
Example sentences
  • Like I said, I've been trying not to completely copy from her, but as they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
  • Sure, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery - unless the imitator, dressed in sequins and feathers, belts out mutated lyrics to songs you made famous.
  • But, hey, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?


Late Middle English: from Latin imitatio(n-), from the verb imitari (see imitate).

  • image from Middle English:

    The word image goes back to Latin imago ‘imitation, likeness, idea’, also behind imitation (Late Middle English). Imagine (Middle English) is closely related, coming from a combination of Latin imaginare ‘form an image of, represent’ and imaginari ‘picture to oneself ’.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: im·i·ta·tion

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