What Does Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery Mean?

Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery Meaning

Definition: If one imitates something another person does, it means one admires that person and wants to be like him or her.

The proverb imitation is the sincerest form of flattery means that one imitates someone else because one admires that person or values what that person is doing.

Origin of Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

what is the sincerest form of flatteryThe idea behind the proverb has been around for several centuries. The proverb wasn’t popular, however, until the 19th century. Charles Caleb Colton was the first to use it in print. It appeared in his Lacon: or, Many things in few words, published in 1820:

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Many authors used variations of the expression as early as the 18th century. However, Colton’s variation is the one English speakers still use today.

Examples of Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

who said imitation is the sincerest form of flatteryHannah and Jenny are sisters. In this exchange, Hannah is upset because Jenny has purchased the same exact dress Hannah is wearing to her graduation ceremony. The girls’ mother, Bethany, tells Hannah that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Hannah: She shouldn’t be able to wear the same dress as me! I’m the one who’s graduating!

Jenny: I can wear whatever I want!

Hannah: Mom, tell her she can’t wear the same dress as me!

Bethany: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, dear. But please choose another dress, Jenny. It’s clearly upsetting your sister, and you don’t want to upset her on her big day.

Bethany means that Jenny just wants to wear the same dress because she admires Hannah and wants to be more like her.

More Examples

  • “I guess imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I just wonder what they paid Claudia Schiffer to wear that contraption.” – Chicago Tribune
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  • If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Tara Subkoff and Matt Damhave are sporting red cheeks. That’s because only a few months after launching Imitation of Christ, a controversial and expensive clothing line made from reconstructed second-hand garments, the designing duo has spawned copycats. – NY Post

Summary

The English expression imitation is the sincerest form of flattery means that someone who copies someone admires that person and wants to be more like him or her.