noun, plural cop·ies, for 1, 2, 8, 10.

  1. an imitation, reproduction, or transcript of an original: a copy of a famous painting.
  2. one of the various examples or specimens of the same book, engraving, or the like.
  3. written matter intended to be reproduced in printed form: The editor sent the copy for the next issue to the printer.
  4. the text of a news story, advertisement, television commercial, etc., as distinguished from related visual material.
  5. the newsworthiness of a person, thing, or event (often preceded by good or bad): The president is always good copy.Compare news(def 4).
  6. Computers. an exact duplicate of a file, program, etc.: Keep a backup copy of the document.
  7. Genetics. replication(def 7).
  8. Printing. pictures and artwork prepared for reproduction.
  9. British Informal. (in schools) a composition; a written assignment.
  10. British. a size of drawing or writing paper, 16 × 20 inches (40 × 50 cm).
  11. Archaic. something that is to be reproduced; an example or pattern, as of penmanship to be copied by a pupil.

verb (used with object), cop·ied, cop·y·ing.

  1. to make a copy of; transcribe; reproduce: to copy a set of figures from a book.
  2. to receive and understand (a radio message or its sender).
  3. to follow as a pattern or model; imitate.
  4. Computers. to make an exact duplicate of (a file, selected text, etc.) and store in another location or in temporary memory: Can I copy the program to another computer? Copy the selected paragraph to the clipboard.Compare cut(def 24), paste(def 13).

verb (used without object), cop·ied, cop·y·ing.

  1. to make a copy or copies.
  2. to undergo copying: It copied poorly. I can’t install the program—one file won’t copy.
  3. to hear or receive a radio message, as over a CB radio: Do you copy?
  4. Also cocky. Newfoundland. to leap from one ice pan to another across open water.
  1. copy the mail, Citizens Band Radio Slang. mail1(def 9).

noun plural copies

  1. an imitation or reproduction of an original
  2. a single specimen of something that occurs in a multiple edition, such as a book, article, etc
    1. matter to be reproduced in print
    2. written matter or text as distinct from graphic material in books, newspapers, etc
  3. the words used to present a promotional message in an advertisement
  4. journalism informal suitable material for an article or storydisasters are always good copy
  5. archaic a model to be copied, esp an example of penmanship

verb copies, copying or copied

  1. (when tr, often foll by out) to make a copy or reproduction of (an original)
  2. (tr) to imitate as a model
  3. (intr) to imitate unfairly

early 14c., “written account or record,” from Old French copie (13c.), from Medieval Latin copia “reproduction, transcript,” from Latin copia “plenty, means” (see copious). Sense extended 15c. to any specimen of writing (especially MS for a printer) and any reproduction or imitation. Related: Copyist.


late 14c., from Old French copier (14c.), from Medieval Latin copiare “to transcribe,” originally “to write in plenty,” from Latin copia (see copy (n.)). Hence, “to write an original text many times.” Related: Copied; copying. Figurative sense of “to imitate” is attested from 1640s.

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