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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+)


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