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[pley-juh-riz-uh m, -jee-uh-riz-] /ˈpleɪ dʒəˌrɪz əm, -dʒi əˌrɪz-/
an act or instance of using or closely imitating the language and thoughts of another author without authorization and the representation of that author's work as one's own, as by not crediting the original author:
It is said that he plagiarized Thoreau's plagiarism of a line written by Montaigne.
a piece of writing or other work reflecting such unauthorized use or imitation:
“These two manuscripts are clearly plagiarisms,” the editor said, tossing them angrily on the floor.
Origin of plagiarism
First recorded in 1615-25; plagiar(y) + -ism
Related forms
plagiarist, noun
plagiaristic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for plagiarist
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Yet, neither the one nor the other, as far as we know, was a plagiarist.

    The Book of Khalid Ameen Rihani
  • They are on a level with 'Punch's' proofs that Alexander Smith was a plagiarist.

  • The strawberry is no more a plagiarist than the smilax, nor the grape than the nettle.

    The Foot-path Way Bradford Torrey
  • To this I reply that I borrow facts from every accessible source, and am not a plagiarist.

    A Simpleton Charles Reade
  • He who borrows only from heterogeneous works is not a plagiarist.

    A Simpleton Charles Reade
  • It is as though I were a plagiarist of adventure—if that be a possible supposition.

    Tales of Fantasy and Fact Brander Matthews
  • The plagiarist in place of courage, will put force, constancy, or vigour.

  • Everyone who says anything at all similar is attacked as a plagiarist.

    Schopenhauer Margrieta Beer
  • I nowhere give him the name of a plagiarist; I would not appear so impolite.

    William Oughtred Florian Cajori
British Dictionary definitions for plagiarist


the act of plagiarizing
something plagiarized
Derived Forms
plagiarist, noun
plagiaristic, 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 plagiarist

1670s, from plagiary "plagiarist" (see plagiarism) + -ist. Related: Plagiaristic.



1620s, from -ism + plagiary (n.) "plagiarist, literary thief" (1590s), from Latin plagiarius "kidnapper, seducer, plunderer, one who kidnaps the child or slave of another," used by Martial in the sense of "literary thief," from plagiare "to kidnap," plagium "kidnapping," from plaga "snare, hunting net," perhaps from PIE *plag- (on notion of "something extended"), from root *plak- (1) "to be flat" (see placenta).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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plagiarist in Culture

plagiarism definition

Literary theft. Plagiarism occurs when a writer duplicates another writer's language or ideas and then calls the work his or her own. Copyright laws protect writers' words as their legal property. To avoid the charge of plagiarism, writers take care to credit those from whom they borrow and quote.

Note: Similar theft in music or other arts is also called plagiarism.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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