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See also: copy-cat and copy cat


Alternative forms[edit]


From copy + cat (person). It has been in use since at least 1896, in Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs.


copycat (plural copycats)

  1. (informal) One who imitates others' work without adding ingenuity.
  2. A criminal who imitates the crimes of another; specifically, a criminal who commits the same crime, especially a highly-publicized one, that has just been or recently committed by someone else.
    a copycat strangler



copycat (comparative more copycat, superlative most copycat)

  1. Imitative; unoriginal.
    • 1997, “The Atlantic monthly”, in (Please provide the book title or journal name):
      "Because of my size, I was a natural leader in junior high school. Gangs are the most copycat of subcultures. It used to be zoot suits; now it's tattoos. When I was thirteen, I got a tattoo"
    • 1997, Daniel Miller, Capitalism: an ethnographic approach:
      As one executive put it: Now in the beverage market we are to a great extent very copycat.
    • 2009, Alan Cole, Fathering your father: the Zen of fabrication in Tang Buddhism:
      It was that very copycat kind of "grandfather stealing" that makes Jinjue's text look like the son of Du Fei's Record, even as it works to push Du Fei's "father-text" out of the way.


copycat (third-person singular simple present copycats, present participle copycatting, simple past and past participle copycatted)

  1. To act as a copycat; to copy in a shameless or derivative way
    • 2007 September 3, Janet Maslin, “His Girl Friday Meets a Sadistically Chic Serial Killer”, in New York Times[1]:
      In a genre that is rife with copycatting, Ms. Cain deserves some credit for having gotten a potentially interesting new series off the ground.