Definition of copy in English:



  • 1A thing made to be similar or identical to another.

    ‘the problem is telling which is the original document and which the copy’
    • ‘And how, if at all, did you indicate that this was a copy or an identical copy, how do you know that?’
    • ‘Why would Berger remove five identical copies of the same report, shred three of them with a pair of scissors, and return the other two to the archives?’
    • ‘And to make the leap from life to death less abrupt, the inhabitants have constructed an identical copy of their city, underground.’
    • ‘Wee Nit (the adorable) is an identical copy of her twin sister, Ying.’
    • ‘Someone had stolen ALL our furniture and left identical copies in the same spots.’
    • ‘The first thing to note is that it is apparent that the copy is an identical copy inasmuch as there is the same blank on the original.’
    • ‘It is now hoped that the horse-cloning technique can be used to produce identical copies of champion jumpers and show horses.’
    • ‘That sum is how much it would cost to create an identical copy of the parliament from scratch should the controversial original be obliterated in a disaster.’
    • ‘The only way another person could enjoy that particular painting was if an identical copy was made.’
    • ‘Thus, Jaffe commissioned an identical copy from Marco that was precisely one-half the size.’
    • ‘In the new host the necessary acids are floating around and they quickly join up with their complement acid, forming an identical copy.’
    • ‘Obviously, these are copies, fakes, pirate booty.’
    • ‘Did the files he was looking at contain multiple identical copies of each document?’
    • ‘For instance, reproductive cloning that produces many identical copies could make conventional police work much harder to do.’
    • ‘The industrial building, next to the villa, at first seemed to be an identical copy of the main villa.’
    • ‘Uncertain which of the three sons to give it to, he had two identical copies made, so that he could give a ring to each son.’
    • ‘There is one bookcase in the room, its shelves filled with identical copies of the dictionary.’
    • ‘The control room was an identical copy - to the eighth of an inch - of the Sound Factory.’
    • ‘The monumental tomb was an identical copy of the tomb of Lenin, which can still be seen in Moscow.’
    • ‘The church dates back to the medieval period, but the Lantern Tower was replaced with an identical copy in 1837.’
    replica, reproduction, replication, print, imitation, likeness, lookalike, representation, mock-up, dummy
    duplicate, duplication, reprint, facsimile, photocopy, carbon copy, carbon, mimeograph, mimeo
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  • 2A single specimen of a particular book, record, or other publication or issue.

    ‘the record has sold more than a million copies’
    • ‘The Daily Mail, a revolutionary departure from the leaden format of its contemporaries, sold a record breaking 300,000 copies of its first issue.’
    • ‘A number of newspapers and a broadcast network have asked to purchase extra copies of the special issue.’
    • ‘The prices for single copies and subscriptions were relatively high, but the elite audience was able to pay the price.’
    • ‘The book has sold more than 6.5 million copies since its publication last year, breaking sales records for a novel in its first 12 months, and is set to be made into a film.’
    • ‘The Enquirer sold a record 6.5 million copies of the issue containing that shot.’
    • ‘Under section 9 of the Copyright Act of 1994, the copyright owner has the right to issue to the public copies of sound recordings and films.’
    • ‘In a way it isn't the authenticity of the work that counts, I don't think you can just issue 20 copies of limited editions of your film to people.’
    • ‘Worldwide, 13 million copies of the book had rolled off the presses in a massive print run.’
    • ‘And on the verge of conquering radio and selling nearly a million copies of that record, they kept their promise.’
    • ‘Before, during and after World War II, honor systems were used to sell single copies of newspapers.’
    • ‘He had managed to ask the librarian to sell him cheap copies of the record books, and was headed towards the ship, books in hand and Laya at his side.’
    • ‘Again, the public's response was overwhelmingly positive; the single sold eight million copies.’
    • ‘It sold over 20 million copies in book form and sparked three sequels at the cinema.’
    • ‘These things sell like hot cakes, millions of copies per issue, which is amazing since very few people will ever admit to reading one.’
    • ‘Orders for the signed, numbered and limited edition copies of this new book go on sale December 26!’
    • ‘Their headquarters in Brooklyn, New York, produces millions of copies of books which expose the errors of evolution and give evidence for creation.’
    • ‘It is adapted from the first in the series of books by CS Lewis, which have sold millions of copies since their initial publication, 50 years ago.’
    • ‘Outside, the Bookmobile will be downloading, printing, binding, and giving away for free copies of public domain books.’
    • ‘And Guildford Library in Surrey claims it will be the only library in the country that will issue copies of the new book to fans at midnight.’
    • ‘They will also see regional authors reading from their latest publication and signing copies of their books.’
    edition, version, impression, imprint, issue
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  • 3[mass noun] Matter to be printed.

    ‘copy for the next issue must be submitted by the beginning of the month’
    • ‘Are you not just an aggrieved journalist whose copy has been sub-edited?’
    • ‘The newsroom typically handles both kinds of copy.’
    • ‘Many editors are editing print copy for print-plus web sites (loosely called shovelware).’
    • ‘Unfortunately, I suspect that your reporter awoke from his dream after his copy had been printed?’
    • ‘We're the people who catch errors, clean up copy, answer questions, massage egos, and punctuate sentences.’
    • ‘Writing stories, reading local news sources, and editing or filing copy were the most important aspects of news-gathering and news-processing.’
    • ‘At times, in all the last editing, all I wanted to do was bundle up every scrap of copy, every note I'd taken and carry it home, keep it safe with me.’
    • ‘It's bad writing and it takes up a full page in the print copy.’
    • ‘In addition, they added an eighth measure: the square inches of copy divided by the number of reporters listed with bylines.’
    • ‘Editorial insertions of stereotypes and fabrications into a Times reporter's copy extended at least into the 1980s.’
    • ‘In April of this year, 10 comics created nearly 200 pages of copy that was printed, bound, and ready for sale the next day.’
    • ‘As assistant managing editor for copy at the St. Petersburg Times, she sits in on news meetings.’
    • ‘Editors, meanwhile, began routinely winking at copy containing unfounded speculation, rumor, and unchecked facts.’
    • ‘The press always like that kind of thing as it gives them lots of cheap reprint copy, or photo montages.’
    • ‘He does all that in ways that do not fit into the traditional pattern of a reporter filing copy to an editor, who then approves and publishes.’
    • ‘Then we'll edit each other's copy and make the changes side by side at the computer.’
    • ‘Moreover, editors may directly alter or influence copy in ways not observable by examining only the stories.’
    • ‘However, this will allow you to maximise your print solution with less copy and more white space for a cleaner more effective advertisement.’
    • ‘Whether you're a reporter trying to beat a deadline or an editor grappling with late copy, the simplest solution may be one that seems the toughest.’
    • ‘It's not something editors talk about much, the ability to elevate subjects that strike a personal chord into copy for page 1.’
    1. 3.1Material for a newspaper or magazine article.
      ‘it is an unfortunate truth of today's media that bad news makes good copy’
      • ‘He has been supplying newspaper men with good copy for generations.’
      • ‘Unfortunately she started writing copy for women's magazines which was beyond parody.’
      • ‘Try to avoid redundant copy in the headline, sub-head, cutline, and lead.’
      • ‘Other newspapers ran equally dramatic copy, using military metaphors to show the growing rift between doctors and the health secretary.’
      • ‘How many times should you use your primary keyword in your web copy and your article submissions?’
      • ‘If you see a bit of lazy newspaper copy promoting our former favourite as some kind of internet sensation, you know where it came from.’
      • ‘Some journalists are fond of staging rescue operations that make great copy for newspapers.’
      • ‘Although it made great copy for the newspapers, it suggested the Rocket was in bad-tempered mode - and some felt he might be about to self-destruct.’
      • ‘We use allusions to popular songs in headlines and in copy and we tend not to get accused of violating copyright.’
      • ‘Newspaper editors happily confirm that Churchill stories make great copy, especially since in the UK one cannot sue for libel on behalf of the dead.’
      • ‘Mr Jones submits that it was right to look first at the criminal conduct of the investigatory journalists who spent money freely to provide copy for their newspaper.’
      • ‘You will also have to write copy (basically articles) that communicates when being spoken.’
      • ‘We hear that a group of freelance journalists in the US are suing a leading national newspaper for posting their copy on its Web site without permission.’
    2. 3.2The text of an advertisement.
      ‘‘No more stubble—no more trouble,’ trumpeted their ad copy’
      • ‘What can be done to make e-poetry better, less like advertising copy?’
      • ‘Anyway, it took about a day or so for my advertising copy to be approved, but it's now all ready to go.’
      • ‘But sheerly as an exercise in English composition, Kay's statement is as flimsy as advertising copy.’
      • ‘The advertising copy for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine uses the Dolby Digital 5.1 remix as a selling point.’
      • ‘We spent a year back in Perth where I wrote copy for advertising features at The West Australian.’
      • ‘Minda had already proven to be a skilled writer of political advertising copy.’
      • ‘During the 1920s, advertising copy and style names for all types of rings for men cast these items in a particularly manly light.’
      • ‘The way he tells it, the 23% of Australian children who are overweight or obese are passive victims of advertising copy.’
      • ‘The pioneers of persuasive advertising copy, however, were usually medicine makers.’
      • ‘Tailor the landing page text and use ad copy in the heading.’
      • ‘They make for great advertising copy, and in that category I include the purple prose that we motoring journalists write about them.’
      • ‘This is perhaps the most fraudulent use of advertising copy on a jacket of a DVD to date.’
      • ‘They probably thought making good money writing advertising copy was about as good as the writing life gets.’
      • ‘Advertising copy shall be dignified, strictly truthful and representative of the art of music and its responsibility to the community.’
      • ‘At this point, executives will be ready to begin writing advertising copy for the product.’
      • ‘Is killer online advertising simply shining copy and brilliant images?’
      • ‘Not bad for a guy who had been slogging through advertising copy before chucking it all to chase his dream.’
      • ‘After graduating, Grant dabbled briefly in advertising, writing copy for Brylcreem and Red Stripe beer, but plugged away at an acting career in regional theatre.’
      • ‘What we're witnessing now is a return to the days of 70s and 80s advertising copy.’
      • ‘Unlike the books of so many other writers, which might as well be advertising copy, Smith's work at many, many levels.’


  • 1Make a similar or identical version of; reproduce.

    ‘each form had to be copied and sent to a different department’
    • ‘This master tape is then copied and packed into special envelopes which are posted the following morning.’
    • ‘They are sponsoring legislation that will make it a felony ‘to use or attempt to use’ a video recording device to copy a film in a movie theater.’
    • ‘After copying the tape, she gets her friend, Noah, involved.’
    • ‘A third policeman - the one that had been sent to copy the tape - spoke up.’
    • ‘No, copying the tape and passing it around isn't really what happens in the sequels.’
    • ‘The footage was accidentally erased a few days later after Garda technicians attempted to copy it onto video format, he said.’
    • ‘Every time I switch on the TV, I see someone copying a video I did, sometimes frame by frame.’
    • ‘There is nothing better than watching us trying to reproduce and copy big money US network TV type shows.’
    • ‘During Champlain's short-lived career as a teacher, her pupils learned to paint by copying her own versions of floral wreaths, Fancy, and Cupid.’
    • ‘The tapes cannot be copied for commercial gain, he said.’
    • ‘‘Once the tapes have been copied, my solicitor will send them to top people in racing,’ he said.’
    • ‘Zhan Wang fashioned a reproduction of the meteorite, cast it in iron, then copied the iron version by pounding stainless steel sheets onto its surface.’
    • ‘This was the version actually copied by Qualtex.’
    • ‘I'm sure the tape will be extensively copied and distributed throughout the Norwegian police force - for training purposes, of course.’
    • ‘Users can copy video only from a PC, not directly from a television or DVD player.’
    • ‘As soon as is possible for me I will copy them and send them to you.’
    • ‘In particular, I really hated having to copy final versions out ‘in best’.’
    • ‘The tales were known long before the extant ballad versions began to be copied or printed in the mid-fifteenth century.’
    • ‘Twenty-one percent had actually copied the newsletter and sent it to beef cattle producers in their county.’
    • ‘We package this together on the DVD side and we are copying the edited version on the original VHS.’
    reproduce, replicate
    duplicate, photocopy, xerox, photostat, mimeograph, make a photocopy of, take a photocopy of, run off
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    1. 1.1Computing Reproduce (data stored in one location) in another location.
      ‘the command will copy a file from one disc to another’
      • ‘You'll have to accept the terms to continue at which point it will appear to be installing, but in actual fact the files are just being copied to the location you specified.’
      • ‘Once the ‘enhancement’ is accepted, an executable file named download.exe is copied to the system and executed automatically.’
      • ‘Remember that any time a file is viewable, the file can be copied, e-mailed and otherwise compromised.’
      • ‘A quick example: suppose I've got some software that needs to copy a file from one computer to another.’
      • ‘The final command copies the default configuration file to your home directory.’
    2. 1.2Write out information that one has read or heard.
      ‘he copied the details into his notebook’
      ‘I began to copy out the addresses’
      • ‘The discovery of two inkwells and a plastered table and bench strongly suggested that one of the rooms was a scriptorium, a room set apart for writing or copying manuscripts.’
      • ‘Not what I wanted to hear after copying the names of about one crore hundred people.’
      • ‘Even those monks who spent their days copying manuscripts could barely read or understand them.’
      • ‘My sister's a Special Ed teacher, so she had one of her students copy a letter I wrote.’
      • ‘Morse did not allow the students to copy information directly into their reports from the sources they had studied.’
      • ‘But you know what you could do is go to the site, copy the mathematical information and then just cut a piece of wood in the same shape!’
      • ‘After I wrote it, I copied it onto another piece of paper really quick so I could write it down in my diary.’
      • ‘She sits down and instructs the students to begin to copy the notes written on the overhead.’
      • ‘If his written submissions were written for or copied by him, it is unlikely that orally he could improve on them.’
      • ‘The other pilot would be responsible for maintaining an instrument scan and copying information from the crewman.’
      • ‘I read over and copy them, trying not to miss a few words.’
      • ‘They had asked me to climb on and read the information so they could copy it down.’
      • ‘It's as if he read the title, copied one of the figures, and didn't pay any attention at all to the conclusions of the paper, which contradict what he claims.’
      • ‘She gave it a rest & bent down to copy important information on genes.’
      • ‘Ali rolled her eyes, imagining being ordered to read and copy chapters about having proper posture.’
      • ‘They checked our week-old paperwork from a previous inspection in Los Roques and decided just copying the information was sufficient.’
      • ‘‘Excellent,’ Mr. Lively praised, too copying the information onto the board.’
      • ‘You'd copy out the relevant information and present it for the teacher.’
      • ‘I'll write the curriculum onto the blackboard - of course in French - and it would be advisable if you copy the information.’
      • ‘They learn to copy a formula written on a blackboard.’
    3. 1.3Send a copy of a letter or an email to (a third party)
      ‘I thought I'd copy to you this letter sent to the PR representative’
      • ‘The letter was not copied to WGI but it was not necessary to do so.’
      • ‘She has also condemned the change and has written to county transport bosses - copying the letter to GNER - expressing her concern.’
      • ‘Please copy your letters to’
      • ‘You will note that I have copied this letter to Alway Associates.’
      • ‘Failure to do so will result in my copying this letter to the Home Office Enforcement Section so that they may take necessary action against you to compel you to leave the United Kingdom.’
      • ‘Mr Beresford copied this letter to the appellant on 12 August.’
      • ‘You can tell that by the way they began the e-mail with ‘Dear Writer’, and copied it to 49 other people.’
      • ‘I wrote to the management of the cinema expressing profound concern and copied my letter to the editors of the three local newspapers.’
      • ‘And I'm going to copy the letter to the local trading standards office and to the Consumers Association.’
      • ‘The email server then copies the email to several different addresses including my personal Hotmail account.’
      • ‘Many organisations and individuals in the NHS are either already copying letters to patients, or keen to do so.’
      • ‘Because this letter is copied to Mr Markus, it says, ‘Dear Sir’.’
      • ‘I assume that you are quoting Derek accurately and I am copying this letter to him.’
      • ‘She copied the letter to the code of practice authority, where it was treated as a complaint.’
      • ‘If it is not doing so, then you should seek an urgent meeting with the head teacher, and, if he or she does not remedy the situation, write to the governing body, copying your letter to the chief education officer in your education authority.’
      • ‘I am copying this letter to those to whom you sent your letter of 1 March.’
      • ‘Under the new system, even if a victim has a solicitor, PIAB will deal only with the victim, though it will copy letters to the solicitor if requested.’
    4. 1.4Send someone a copy of an email that is addressed to a third party.
      ‘I attached the document and copied him in so he'd know it had been sent’
  • 2Imitate the style or behaviour of.

    ‘lifestyles that were copied from Miami and Fifth Avenue’
    [no object] ‘art students copied from approved old masters’
    • ‘This sort of enamel work on a faceted metal body was copied from the enamelled European watches.’
    • ‘They were just behaviours, ideas and stories that were copied from one person to another in the long history of human attempts to understand the world.’
    • ‘The design was copied from an English home and was built in stone imported from Bath.’
    • ‘At least another stylist cops to copying 2001: A Space Odyssey.’
    • ‘A row has blown up over suggestions that a high-profile attempt to rebrand a Yorkshire city was simply copied from a similar campaign thousands of miles away.’
    • ‘I like when people have original styles that aren't copied from anyone else.’
    • ‘No, of course they won't be copied from traditional moko, they will reflect my own ancestry, the signs and symbols of a Scottish clan.’
    • ‘The style of the show is obviously copied from the CBS program 60 Minutes.’
    • ‘Actually, we copied and improved English copyright law.’
    • ‘All the tunes and dances of many of the movies are copied from the folk art forms - songs and dances of this region with which the children are well versed.’
    • ‘Everything that was new and modern came from the US or was copied from the US and it continued that way up until The Beatles.’
    • ‘Behaviors and ideas copied from person to person by imitation - memes - may have forced human genes to make us what we are today.’
    • ‘Skip James' eerie, dark and complex tunings and netherworldly falsetto have never been equaled nor adequately copied in 74 years.’
    • ‘It seems likely that one sculpture is copied from the other, or that both were copied from an ‘original’ flogging sculpture.’
    • ‘It is copied from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.’
    • ‘Techniques were copied from America - for example, by the French Baron Mackau, who plastered Paris with a reputed two million posters for an election in 1889.’
    • ‘He said there ‘may or may not’ be any scientific basis for the tests, which he said had been copied from the US without analysis of their efficacy.’
    • ‘The ornate drawing room ceiling at now-disused Whinburn School is copied from a design at 17th-century East Riddlesden Hall, it has been revealed.’
    • ‘Liam isn't copied from any individual but his fictional life and the dilemmas he confronts are informed by what we found.’
    • ‘The design, which was copied from a Yorkshire Evening Press photograph and was made up of 1,500 carpet bedding plants, had to be completed in time for the Festival.’
    imitate, mimic, ape, emulate, follow, echo, mirror, simulate, parrot, reproduce
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  • 3[no object] Hear or understand someone speaking on a radio transmitter.

    ‘this is Edwards, do you copy, over’
    • ‘You copy, Minnie.’


Middle English (denoting a transcript or copy of a document): from Old French copie (noun), copier (verb), from Latin copia abundance (in medieval Latin transcript, from such phrases as copiam describendi facere give permission to transcribe).