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Bad copy

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).
Historical Examples

We possess in the Vatican a copy of the original head of the Jupiter, and what a master-piece even this bad copy is!
A Manual of the Historical Development of Art G. G. (Gustavus George) Zerffi

Although not an open word has been said to connect him with the bad copy of his own map!
The Crime Doctor Ernest William Hornung

When he stood up he was by no means a bad copy of the truculent individual who had first greeted him at the entrance of the city.
Under the Chinese Dragon F. S. Brereton

The representation of Orpheus is ‘a bad copy from Raphael’s picture of Orpheus charming the beasts’.
Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official William Sleeman

A tout prendre, I must do this pretty young fellow the justice to say that he was not at all a bad copy of higher originals.
Tour in England, Ireland, and France, in the years 1826, 1827, 1828 and 1829. Hermann Pckler-Muskau

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+)


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