General English

General Science

  • verb to make a second document or object that is like the first


  • noun a document which is made to look the same as another


  • noun
    (written as COPY)
    an operating system command that copies the contents of one file to another file on a storage device
  • verb to make a second document which is like the first, or to duplicate original data


  • A duplicate of an original. For instance, information, such as text or graphics, may be copied from one document to another, to the computer's memory, or to a printer. Similarly, files or directories may be copied from one medium to another, one computer to another, and so on. Copies of digitized information are usually 100% accurate, or very nearly so.
  • To read data from a source, leaving it unchanged, and writing it to another location, so that there is an additional identical version of the original.

Information & Library Science

  • noun something that is made to look exactly the same as the original
  • noun the text of a manuscript or advertising material
  • verb to make something look exactly the same as the original


  • noun anything which copies information in a document, by whatever means, including electronic copies, recordings, etc.

Media Studies

  • noun written information designed to be read out on the radio
  • noun text that will be laid out and printed on a page


  • noun one specimen of a document or publication, where several specimens have been produced
  • verb to receive a radio transmission

Origin & History of “copy”

Copy has a very devious semantic history. It comes from Latin copia ‘abundance’ (source also of English copious), and came into English via Old French copie. In addition to its central sense ‘abundance’, Latin copia could also mean ‘power, right’, and it appears that its use in such phrases as ‘give someone the right to transcribe’ led to its application to ‘right of reproduction’ and ultimately to simply ‘reproduction’.