From Biology-Online Dictionary | Biology-Online Dictionary


1. To follow as a pattern, model, or example; to copy or strive to copy, in acts, manners etc. Despise wealth and imitate a dog. (Cowlay)

2. To produce a semblance or likeness of, in form, character, colour, qualities, conduct, manners, and the like; to counterfeit; to copy. A place picked out by choice of best alive The natures work by art can imitate. (Spenser) This hand appeared a shining sword to weild, And that sustained an imitated shield. (Dryden)

3. (Science: biology) to resemble (another species of animal, or a plant, or inanimate object) in form, colour, ornamentation, or instinctive habits, so as to derive an advantage thereby; sa, when a harmless snake imitates a venomous one in colour and manner, or when an odorless insect imitates, in colour, one having secretion offensive to birds.

Origin: L. Imitatus, p. P. Of imitari to imitate; of unknown origin. Cf. Image.