Duplicate vs replicate

Duplicate and replicate are two words that are sometimes confusing. Their meanings are similar, but there is a slight difference. We will look at the definitions of the words duplicate and replicate, where the terms come from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Duplicate means to make a copy of something, to have an exact pair of something, to reproduce an exact copy from an original. Duplicate may be used as a noun, verb or adjective. Related words are duplicates, duplicated, duplicating, duplication. The word duplicate is derived from the Latin word duplicare, which means to double.

Replicate means to reproduce something, to construct a copy of something, to make a facsimile. The word replicate may be interchangeable with the word duplicate except in a few instances. For instance, when scientists attempt to conduct an experiment which has been conducted by others, they are attempting to reproduce the same results or replicate the results. If an artist attempts to reproduce a copy of another artist’s painting, he is replicating the work as it is not the exact same painting. The word replicate may be used as a noun, verb or adjective. Related words are replicates, replicated, replicating, replication. The word replicate is derived from the Latin word replicare which means to reproduce.


“The issue for me then is I’m running two duplicate processes in two separate jurisdictions … basically on the same set of facts, running parallel at the same time, looking for a menu of outcomes,” Mr Phelan told the parliamentary joint committee on intelligence and security. (The Canberra Times)

The success in getting players onto their feet was seen as brilliant but difficult to replicate, and the deft use of mapping technology also sets a high bar. (The Japan Times)


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