an imitation, reproduction, or transcript of an original:
a copy of a famous painting.
one of the various examples or specimens of the same book, engraving, or the like.
written matter intended to be reproduced in printed form:
The editor sent the copy for the next issue to the printer.
the text of a news story, advertisement, television commercial, etc., as distinguished from related visual material.
the newsworthiness of a person, thing, or event (often preceded by good or bad):
The president is always good copy.
Compare news (def 4).
Computers. an exact duplicate of a file, program, etc.:
Keep a backup copy of the document.
Genetics. replication (def 7).
Printing. pictures and artwork prepared for reproduction.
British Informal. (in schools) a composition; a written assignment.
British. a size of drawing or writing paper, 16 × 20 inches (40 × 50 cm).
Archaic. something that is to be reproduced; an example or pattern, as of penmanship to be copied by a pupil.
to make a copy of; transcribe; reproduce:
to copy a set of figures from a book.
to receive and understand (a radio message or its sender).
to follow as a pattern or model; imitate.
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).
to make a copy or copies.
to undergo copying: It copied poorly.
I can’t install the program—one file won’t copy.
to hear or receive a radio message, as over a CB radio:
Do you copy?
Also, cocky. Newfoundland. to leap from one ice pan to another across open water.
copy the mail, Citizens Band Radio Slang. mail1 (def 5).
Contemporary Examples

Obviously, we do not have the right to copy books, movies and music and sell them.
When You Can’t Even ‘Unlock’ Your Cell Phone Justin Green February 11, 2013

And if they sold a valuable picture, they would always have a copy made.
Are Over Half the Works on the Art Market Really Fakes? Tom Sykes October 16, 2014

The company gave me a PS3 and they gave me a copy, but I left it in Europe.
Willem Dafoe Cuts Like a Blade Melissa Leon December 7, 2013

His first day back at the Lampoon, he showed a copy of it to Beard.
Doug Kenney: The Odd Comic Genius Behind ‘Animal House’ and National Lampoon Robert Sam Anson February 28, 2014

The initial collections displayed Cambodian menu photo rejects and paper found in copy machines.
New York’s Tiniest—and Weirdest—Museum Nina Strochlic May 28, 2014

Historical Examples

At the next Chapter a copy of the Rule was given to all the Brethren.
Brother Francis Eileen Douglas

The author has a copy of his first book before him as he writes.
Up the River Oliver Optic

Why, it is not stated, the officer not even producing the copy of a writ.
Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 1, September 5, 1841 Various

But that copy I sent down in charge of a certain person to Beechill.
The Opal Serpent Fergus Hume

It would have done Motte no harm, for no English copy has been sold, but the Dublin one has run prodigiously.
Life And Letters Of John Gay (1685-1732) Lewis Melville

noun (pl) copies
an imitation or reproduction of an original
a single specimen of something that occurs in a multiple edition, such as a book, article, etc

matter to be reproduced in print
written matter or text as distinct from graphic material in books, newspapers, etc

the words used to present a promotional message in an advertisement
(journalism, informal) suitable material for an article or story: disasters are always good copy
(archaic) a model to be copied, esp an example of penmanship
verb copies, copying, copied
when tr, often foll by out. to make a copy or reproduction of (an original)
(transitive) to imitate as a model
(intransitive) 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.


A subject for an article in a newspaper, magazine, etc: She knew that Miss Gould was good ”copy” (1880s+)


To send a copy of a message to someone other than the immediate addressee: Copy Tina and tell her the mag is fast turning to compost (1980s+)


Read Also:

  • Badman

    a bandit, outlaw, desperado, etc., especially in the early history of the western U.S. Historical Examples This man did his best to reclaim young badman, and was particularly kind to him. Bunyan James Anthony Froude Bankruptcy was not the only art by which badman piled up his fortune. Bunyan James Anthony Froude We then drew […]

  • Bad-tempered

    cross; cranky; surly; ill-tempered: a bad-tempered person. Contemporary Examples The result was therefore foul-mouthed and bad-tempered in proportion to the force it took to get through my wall of shyness. Francis Spufford on How Atheists Put Religion Through All the Wrong Tests Francis Spufford October 12, 2013 And still, the bad-tempered second half did not […]

  • Bada bing bada boom

    interjection an exclamation to emphasize that something will happen effortlessly and predictably; also written bada-bing, bada-boom Examples And bada bing, bada boom… the cake is done. Word Origin prob imitative of drum roll Usage Note slang

  • Bada-bing

    sentence substitute (US, slang) an expression used to suggest that something can be done with no difficulty or delay

Disclaimer: Copy definition / meaning should not be considered complete, up to date, and is not intended to be used in place of a visit, consultation, or advice of a legal, medical, or any other professional. All content on this website is for informational purposes only.