What Does Often Imitated Never Duplicated Mean?

Often Imitated, Never Duplicated Meaning

Definition: Many people attempt to copy something, but their efforts never match the original.

Origin of Often Imitated, Never Duplicated Meaning

This expression most likely originated as a company slogan. Ironically, the slogan has been duplicated so many times that it is difficult to isolate the original.

However, it appears to have come from the Traub Manufacturing Company, which used it to advertise wedding rings.

Examples of Often Imitated, Never Duplicated Meaning

often imitated never duplicated quote Here is an example of two family members using the expression while at home.

Grandmother: You look hungry. Why don’t you have some of my kolache.

Granddaughter: Oh, yum! My mom always makes this. I love kolache.

Grandmother: Here, try mine.

Granddaughter: Wow! Yours is even better than mom’s!

Grandmother: I know. My kolache is often imitated, never duplicated.

Granddaughter: You’re right. I’ve had my mom’s kolache, and my aunts’ and uncles’, but yours is definitely the best.

Grandmother: Well, they all learned from me, but they never take the time to make it perfectly. I can teach you if you want.

often imitated but never duplicated The second dialogue shows a daughter and her father discussing food the daughter bought at the store.

Father: Why did you buy this expensive brand of corn flakes?

Daughter: Because it tastes better than all the copycat brands. Anyway, they were the original. They are often imitated, never duplicated.

Father: That’s just advertising. There’s nothing wrong with the competing brands, and they are much less expensive.

Daughter: Sometimes that’s true for other brands, but for this one only the original tastes good. Here, try some.

Father: Hmmm. You’re right. This is much better than the other brands I’ve tried.

More Examples

This excerpt is from an article about Tater Tots. This and other companies, such as Kleenex, have become so successful that consumers use their brand name to describe the products.

  • Some pioneer brands strike back by urging consumers to shop carefully, using phrases like “Insist on the original,” “Often imitated, never duplicated” and “Accept no substitutes.” Such ads often appear during times of recession or inflation, when shoppers are tempted to buy a look-alike that usually cost less than the name brand that defined a product category. –New York Times

This excerpt comes from a movie review blurb.

  • When Superman first leaped onto the scene 75 years ago in “Action Comics” No. 1, he started a superpowered revolution. The now-iconic character created by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster was the world’s first comic book superhero. Often imitated, never duplicated, the more-powerful-than-a-locomotive crime fighter / Metropolis newspaperman took flight into popular culture… –LA Times


The phrase often imitated, never duplicated is a popular slogan that many companies use in order to say that many people try to copy their product, but none are as good as the original.