- imitation (n.) c.1400, "emulation; act of copying," from O.Fr. imitacion, from L. imitationem (nom. imitatio) "a copying, imitation," from pp. stem of imitari "to copy, portray, imitate," from PIE *im-eto-, from root *aim- "copy." Meaning "an artificial likeness" is from c.1600. As an adjective, from 1840.
Etymology dictionary. 2014.