Imitate vs intimidate

Imitate and intimidate are two words that are often confused. We will examine the definitions of imitate and intimidate, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Imitate means to copy someone or something, to ape someone or something, to use someone or something as a model for behavior. Imitate is a transitive verb, which is a verb that takes an object. Related words are imitates, imitated, imitating, imitator, imitation, imitative. The word imitate is a back-formation from the word imitation, which is derived from the Latin word imitationem, which means copying.

Intimidate means to frighten someone or force them to do your will by displaying your power, whether that power is physical, social or situational. To intimidate means to make the other person feel unable to challenge you. Intimidate is a transitive verb, related words are intimidates, intimidated, intimidating, intimidator, intimidation. The word intimidate is derived from the Latin word intimidatus, which means to frighten.


A seven-year-old girl from Kolkata died after she allegedly tried to imitate a suicide scene that was being telecast on a TV serial. (India Today)

Red Stripe in a release this afternoon said it is flattered by the fact that another international brand has decided to imitate the Great Jamaican Beer by using its stubby bottle, saying that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” (The Jamaica Observer)

A lawyer passed a note to a client’s relative which ordered him to intimidate a witness during a trial. (The Scottish Daily Record)

The Speaker of the House of Commons is declining to weigh in on allegations that the Finance Minister’s office tried to intimidate an insurance group. (The Globe and Mail)


You might also be interested in our article “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery“.