Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
This notably happens in the case of "copycat crimes", where a notorious or unusual crime inspires a wave of similar activity; this can happen with crimes ranging from shoplifting of particular items, and graffiti, up to tragic copycat suicides and murders. The term is used both for the act and for the person. It is often used in the derogatory sense, meaning a plagiarist.
The expression may have originated from observing the habits of kittens that learned by imitating the behaviors of their mother. Copycat has been in recorded use since at least 1896, in Sarah Orne Jewett's "The Country of Pointed Firs " but the expression could be many decades older.
CopyCat is also an alternative "full name" for CC, a cloned cat created in 2001.
Copycat is also a computer model of analogy-making, developed by Douglas Hofstadter and Melanie Mitchell .
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