Meaning of imitation in English:


Pronunciation /ɪmɪˈteɪʃ(ə)n/

See synonyms for imitation

Translate imitation into Spanish


  • 1mass noun The action of using someone or something as a model.

    ‘a child learns to speak by imitation’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Genuinely angry, our model imitator and model for imitation copies the rhetorical form naturally used by angry men.’
    • ‘The deliberate imitation of classical models was a central part of the English grammar-school education.’
    • ‘The popularity of this model of imitation is reflected in the various metaphors that Renaissance and Baroque authors generated to describe the process.’
    • ‘Humans learn to speak by imitation, and are astonishingly good at it.’
    • ‘Mimicry is imitation and imitation is the best form of flattery.’
    • ‘The model nature of Windsor involved imitation, as of the Tudor style, to make a statement with a lot of leisure about it.’
    • ‘Is the model a worthy or deserving target of prankish imitation?’
    • ‘They're used in imitation and imitation is a crucial part of being able to build a model that allows us to anticipate what somebody else would do in a certain circumstance.’
    • ‘These actions are then imitated, because imitation is both common to and necessary for the species, and this leads to the behaviour spreading.’
    • ‘Aristotle asserted the value of poetry by focusing on imitation rather than rhetoric.’
    • ‘There is a difference, he observes, between intelligent decentralized decisionmaking and slavish imitation.’
    • ‘I've seen no convincing evidence of any slavish imitation, at least until now.’
    • ‘His works have inspired countless imitations the world over.’
    • ‘If ruthlessness is allowed to triumph on the island, it will spawn imitations elsewhere.’
    • ‘In the imitation of nature, as in nature itself, balance is important.’
    • ‘Repeatedly, he stressed that the imitation of general nature was the highest aim of art.’
    • ‘His theory of music was an unbridled acceptance of realism - the imitation of nature in myriad ways.’
    emulation, copying, following, echoing, parroting
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    1. 1.1An act of imitating a person's speech or mannerisms, especially for comic effect.
      ‘he attempted an atrocious imitation of my English accent’
      • ‘‘Like, duh,’ I rolled my eyes in a valley girl imitation, flipping my hair for good effect.’
      • ‘Let's take a look at some of the best celebration imitations.’
      • ‘His imitations of well-known people are spot on.’
      • ‘I use it all when I'm doing voices and imitations for animated movies and my stand up comedy.’
      • ‘I would often try to do imitations of characters like Bugs Bunny and Homer Simpson, and it wouldn't sound good.’
      • ‘For all the amusing videos of aspiring comedians doing celebrity imitations, it's not often that you have a singer who can impersonate his peers.’
      • ‘The stars have all picked on each other over the years with some impressive imitations.’
      • ‘At least twice, he dropped an imitation of one of the show's main hosts.’
      • ‘She even did an imitation of her nine years old self for the benefit of the audience.’
      • ‘He doesn't attempt an imitation of his real-life counterpart.’
      • ‘He sounded like a sketch comic doing an imitation of himself.’
      impersonation, impression, parody, mockery, caricature, burlesque, travesty, lampoon, pastiche
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    2. 1.2Music mass noun The repetition of a phrase or melody in another part or voice, usually at a different pitch.
      ‘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.’
      • ‘The piece has imitation throughout, and the two piano parts are evenly dispersed thematically and in difficulty level.’
      • ‘He relished the opportunities inherent in the imitative style, especially what happens when imitation is allowed to lose its usually rigid tonal control.’
  • 2A thing intended to simulate or copy something else.

    as modifier ‘an imitation sub-machine gun’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Devices designed to distinguish between diamond and imitations rely on these properties.’
    • ‘Painted imitations were a cheap and easy version of this complex and expensive art form.’
    • ‘This one was definitely real, not the cheap imitations the tourists go to.’
    • ‘Sometimes one product hits, and there's money to be made off of imitations and homologues.’
    • ‘In one robbery, the gang used an imitation firearm to threaten their victims.’
    • ‘Without such protection, cheap imitations of your products can quickly eat up profits.’
    • ‘Make sure that you're buying the real thing and not a cheap imitation.’
    • ‘We've seen these tubs framed in to make poor imitations of modern tubs.’
    • ‘He was searched and a blue plastic imitation handgun costing £1.50 was found in his tracksuit pocket.’
    • ‘Five imitation handguns including a fake M16 machine gun and four fake handguns were also seized during the swoop.’
    • ‘Officers will distribute posters and leaflets about the dangers of selling and using imitation weapons.’
    • ‘People should not take imitation weapons to an international airport hotel and leave them lying around unattended.’
    • ‘A jacket made of black imitation leather was preventing the midnight chill.’
    • ‘The chairs were tailored with cheap imitation leather and had many slits.’
    • ‘Oh you studied creatures, you flimsy confections of powder and resin, set in tinsel and imitation leather!’
    copy, simulation, reproduction, replica
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    imitation is the sincerest form of flattery
    • Copying someone or something is an implicit way of paying them a compliment.

      ‘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?’
      • ‘Sure, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.’
      • ‘After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.’
      • ‘However, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery; when I met the director he said ‘do you mind if I call you God?’’
      • ‘If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then all the celebrity yogis of Manhattan and Beverly Hills prove that they are definitely enamored of India.’
      • ‘Nor does he now think that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.’
      • ‘If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then this is an exceptionally sincere film.’
      • ‘The seed of the disaster book boom may have been planted by the success of the late '90s hits ‘In Thin Air’ and ‘The Perfect Storm’ - as you know, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.’


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