Definition of copyist in English:



  • 1A person who makes copies, especially of handwritten documents or music.

    ‘the end of the first movement is in the hand of a copyist’
    • ‘Schöffer was a copyist and calligrapher, who used his skills in copying manuscripts to design, compose, and set the printed text.’
    • ‘Europe was ransacked for copies of the long unused Latin classics and copyists multiplied them.’
    • ‘At the period just preceding the advent of Bartleby, I had two persons as copyists in my employment, and a promising lad as an office-boy.’
    • ‘He, it transpires, was formerly the friend of the composer's copyist, who in turn discovered the journal describing the South Sea islanders while working for the composer.’
    • ‘It of course took quite some months to copy a book, but a skilled copyist could manage a document much more quickly.’
    • ‘Many who were less talented at writing entered the world of publishing as editors, calligraphers, copyists, or proofreaders.’
    • ‘A copyist who believed in the authority of what he was copying (or of the abbot for whom he was working!) is likely to have been more careful.’
    • ‘Although she had been a teacher, when the Civil War started, she was one of a handful of women employed by the US government as a copyist in the US Patent Office in Washington.’
    • ‘Masten points to the collaborative nature of texts produced by the Elizabethan theatre, combining the work of several writers with revisions by copyists and others, not to mention improvisations by actors.’
    • ‘Their copyist also annotated the printed pages of the partbooks in a neat, careful hand, correcting some of its many misprints.’
    • ‘Berns studied classical piano as a child, and worked as a record salesman, music copyist and session pianist in his teens and twenties.’
    • ‘The recipes probably come from many different sources, some no doubt inserted by cooks and copyists who worked with earlier versions of the text.’
    • ‘He returned to Macao, where he painted English nabobs and Chinese officials, employing Chinese assistants as copyists, and made thousands of further drawings.’
    • ‘Music copyists have the often thankless job of transcribing the composer's score and ongoing edits to new playable scores.’
    • ‘He was much favoured by the king, who directed that all his grand motets should be copied by the court copyists.’
    • ‘The copyist records the date he completed making the copy, also 1373, and the place in which he made the copy which is Mount Qasyun in Damascus, Syria.’
    • ‘The inclusion of so many annotations does not sit easily with the view that these books were commissioned from professional copyists.’
    • ‘Cantillon employed clerks in his bank - professional copyists and document preparers - who could have made copies in their spare time.’
    • ‘It is possible to suspect that at some stage a copyist or editor misread ‘ease’ as ‘cure’ (easy to do, in fact, in Coleridge's hand).’
    • ‘Modifying the medium does not insulate the copyist, and a copy of the overall pattern or ‘look and feel’ of the work has also been held as an infringement.’
    assistant, personal assistant, pa, administrator, clerk, clerical assistant, amanuensis, girl friday, man friday
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    1. 1.1 A person who imitates the styles of others, especially in art or music.
      ‘Beatles copyists’
      • ‘They were note perfect but not mere copyists, they were re-creating the feeling of the music as well as the sound.’
      • ‘None of its pastiches or copyists has ever rivaled the impact of the originals.’
      • ‘Whilst, like many currently, they are heavily indebted to the post punk sounds of groups such as Gang Of Four or NYC's Mars, they do it with their own verve and fire rather than be mere copyists.’
      • ‘The Strokes are, it is said, mere New Wave copyists.’
      • ‘He is no mere copyist though, as he manages to create a sound all his own, rooted entirely in artistry.’
      • ‘A copyist relies on imitation to ply his craft, but a great designer can evoke a much more powerful response through invention.’
      • ‘Their best ideas were all nicked, but sharp songwriting and a fantastic image elevated them beyond mere copyists.’
      • ‘I do note, however, that this remix deflects any criticism that Lali Puna are mere slavish Two Lone Swordsmen copyists.’
      • ‘But unlike Moore and von Moritz, Sofa Surfers are not mere copyists.’
      • ‘Parker himself was a tiny, mercurial gent who came on like a cross between a young Dylan and a young Morrison, but he was an individual talent rather than a mere copyist, and a very strong songwriter.’
      • ‘It is easy, I think, to imagine this band being a group of mere copyists - a page from Talking Heads here, a page from Fred Wesley there - but they manage to escape these charges on what I see as sheer ferocity.’
      • ‘Is a sublime copyist of great artists a great artist?’
      • ‘It would be easy to dismiss this six-piece Glasgow band as mere Belle And Sebastian copyists.’
      • ‘Since their earliest days, some of the hipper and holier-than-thou critics in New York have dismissed Blonde Redhead (named after a song by NYC's No Wave Gods' DNA, fact fans) as a mere bunch of Sonic Youth copyists.’
      • ‘Nick Cave is also a clear influence, but Sons and Daughters are no mere copyists.’
      • ‘When Chris Evans and Oasis hit their peaks in the summer of Britpop, 1996, they spawned a wealth of imitators and copyists.’
      • ‘Ledoux was no mere copyist even when he applied conventional details.’
      copier, emulator, follower, mimic, plagiarist, ape, parrot, echo
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Mid 17th century: from copy + -ist; replacing earlier copist, from French copiste or medieval Latin copista, from copiare ‘to copy’, from copia (see copy).