AskDefine | Define copycat

Dictionary Definition

copycat n : someone who copies the words or behavior of another [syn: imitator, emulator, ape, aper]

User Contributed Dictionary


Alternative spellings


From copy + cat


  1. One who imitates others' work without adding ingenuity.


one who imitates others' work without adding ingenuity
  • Finnish: matkija, jäljittelijä
  • Portuguese: macaquice


  1. Imitative; unoriginal.

Extensive Definition

For other uses of the word copycat, see Copycat (disambiguation)
A copycat (also copy-cat or copy cat) is a person (or animal, or computer program) that mimics or repeats the behavior of another. The expression may derive from kittens that learned by imitating the behaviors of their mothers. It has been in use since at least 1896, in Sarah Orne Jewett's "The Country of the Pointed Firs". The term is often derogatory, suggesting a lack of originality.
A copycat website is a website that was spoofed, with the intention of misleading readers with fraudulent objectives often associated with phishing or e-mail spoofing.
Copycat crimes are the waves of similar crimes that are sometimes committed shortly after a particularly notorious or unusual crime is reported; they range from shoplifting of particular items to copycat suicides and murders.
The "copycat effect" refers to the tendency of sensational publicity about a violent murder or suicide to cause more of the same.
In Victoria, Australia, and elsewhere, the word is well-known from an anonymous schoolchildren's poem describing corporal punishment as a consequence of schoolroom plagiarism.
"Copy cat from Ballarat,
Went to school and got the strap,
Came home with a broken back"
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