[im-i-tey-shuh n]
  1. a result or product of imitating.
  2. the act of imitating.
  3. a counterfeit; copy.
  4. a literary composition that imitates the manner or subject of another author or work.
  5. Biology. mimicry.
  6. Psychology. the performance of an act whose stimulus is the observation of the act performed by another person.
  7. Sociology. the copying of patterns of activity and thought of other groups or individuals.
  8. Art.
    1. (in Aristotelian aesthetics) the representation of an object or an action as it ought to be.
    2. the representation of actuality in art or literature.
  9. Music. the repetition of a melodic phrase at a different pitch or key from the original or in a different voice part.
  1. designed to imitate a genuine or superior article or thing: imitation leather.
  2. Jewelry. noting an artificial gem no part of which is of the true gemstone.Compare assembled, synthetic(def 5).

Origin of imitation

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin imitātiōn- (stem of imitātiō). See imitate, -ion
Related formsim·i·ta·tion·al, adjectivenon·im·i·ta·tion·al, adjectiveo·ver·im·i·ta·tion, nounpre·im·i·ta·tion, nounself-im·i·ta·tion, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for overimitation


  1. the act, practice, or art of imitating; mimicry
  2. an instance or product of imitating, such as a copy of the manner of a person; impression
    1. a copy or reproduction of a genuine article; counterfeit
    2. (as modifier)imitation jewellery
  3. (in contrapuntal or polyphonic music) the repetition of a phrase or figure in one part after its appearance in another, as in a fugue
  4. a literary composition that adapts the style of an older work to the writer's own purposes
Derived Formsimitational, 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

Word Origin and History for overimitation



c.1400, "emulation; act of copying," from Old French imitacion, from Latin imitationem (nominative imitatio) "a copying, imitation," from past participle stem of imitari "to copy, portray, imitate," from PIE *im-eto-, from root *aim- "copy" (cf. Hittite himma- "imitation, substitute"). Meaning "an artificial likeness" is from c.1600. As an adjective, from 1840.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper