[ pley-juh-riz-uhm, -jee-uh-riz- ]
See synonyms for: plagiarismplagiaristicplagiarist on

  1. 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.

  2. 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

Other words for plagiarism

Other words from plagiarism

  • pla·gia·rist, noun
  • pla·gia·ris·tic, adjective

Words Nearby plagiarism Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use plagiarism in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for plagiarism


/ (ˈpleɪdʒəˌrɪzəm) /

  1. the act of plagiarizing

  2. something plagiarized

Derived forms of plagiarism

  • 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

Cultural definitions for plagiarism


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.

Notes for plagiarism

Similar theft in music or other arts is also called plagiarism.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.