I’m looking for a verb that describes someone who doesn’t just temporarily mimic someone else, they incorporate that person’s personality completely. I thought of unoriginal or carbon copy but those aren’t verbs.

To clarify, I don’t want any synonyms for imitate, I want a verb to describe perfect imitation.

For my purposes, I was thinking about how one person could completely embrace the persona of a parent or mentor. Here’s how I would use it in a sentence:

“He’s so unoriginal, it’s like he’s trying to _____ his father.”

  • If such a verb exists, it will almost certainly be a synonym (not an exact one, whatever they are, of course) of 'imitate'. This means that your research should include (and show) words listed in synonym lists for 'imitate'. You can say then which you consider aren't 'strong enough'. Feb 13, 2021 at 13:13
  • 1
    Depending on register and subject matter, some use the term become. It would help for you to include information in your question about how the word would be used. For example, is the context method acting, parent-child dynamics or acolyte training, etc? A block of text that leaves a place for the desired word would also be very helpful to understand the kind of usage you have in mind. For example, “When he grows up, he ___ his parents” might be filled differently to “The identity thief ___ the financial controller”.
    – Lawrence
    Feb 13, 2021 at 13:23
  • @EdwinAshworth I meant “strong enough” in a connotative sense. For example, heart-broken and sad can mean the same thing but heart-broken sounds “stronger”.
    – Ibby
    Feb 14, 2021 at 0:51
  • @KannE you’re answers are very good. I hadn’t considered cloning because it sounded more scientific. I’ll include an example.
    – Ibby
    Feb 14, 2021 at 0:53
  • @Lawrence I wasn’t considering method acting, it’s more like the second and third one. I’ll clarify with an edit
    – Ibby
    Feb 14, 2021 at 0:54

6 Answers 6


emulate or impersonate.

emulate: to copy something achieved by someone else and try to do it as well as they have.

impersonate: to intentionally copy another person's characteristics, such as their behavior, speech, appearance, or expressions, especially to make people laugh.

source - Cambridge Dictionary

hope this helps you.

  • I didn't know about that, thanks for your comment!
    – user414551
    Feb 13, 2021 at 9:53
  • Thank you for your answer, but these words don’t imply perfect imitation, just that imitation was attempted. Furthermore they have added meanings that don’t help. Emulation could mean to surpass via imitation and impersonate implies intention to deceive.
    – Ibby
    Feb 13, 2021 at 9:54
  • Sorry about that, I hope someone else will be able to answer your question.
    – user414551
    Feb 13, 2021 at 9:59
  • 1
    I thought I was specifying when I wrote “incorporate...completely” but I guess that wasn’t clear. I’ll make an edit to the question
    – Ibby
    Feb 13, 2021 at 10:09
  • I'm new here, this was my first answer, sorry...
    – user414551
    Feb 13, 2021 at 10:12

Especially in the context of theater, we can say methodize. As Wordhippo defines it, methodize is:

To perform a theatrical role in accordance with the principles of method acting.

Where method acting is defined as:

An acting technique in which the actor fully immerses themselves into the character they are playing.

or, in Merriam Webster:

capitalized: a dramatic technique by which an actor seeks to gain complete identification with the inner personality of the character being portrayed

As you described, it involves the incorporation of the person's personality completely. Skilled actors can methodize (almost) perfectly.

  • 1
    I hadn’t considered using this in the context of method acting, I was thinking more like a psychological phenomenon but thank you for your answer, it was informative
    – Ibby
    Feb 14, 2021 at 1:52
  • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…. @Ibby When you clarified that you were thinking of a psychological phenomenon, "mirror" came to mind. Interesting question :-) Feb 14, 2021 at 7:58
  • Thanks. Mirroring is a great word for this
    – Ibby
    Feb 14, 2021 at 9:03

The word clone originally had a very specific scientific and technical meaning but now has an informal meaning defined by the Cambridge online dictionary as:

someone or something that looks very much like someone or something else:

with the example :

Most people saw her as just another blond-haired, red-lipped Marilyn Monroe clone.

You could, therefore describe someone who was copying someone else's dress style, manner of speech, hairstyle, physical presentation and so on as "a clone" of the other.

You do sometimes see this in corporate life where a junior with ambition models themself on a senior member of the organisation, possibly the owner of the company, thinking that by emulating the other person they can become as successful as they have been. However it is almost always unsuccessful and is usually a cause of amusement to the rest of the staff who will often refer to the junior as "the clone" of the senior person.

  • But OP asks for a verb, and the verb form of 'clone' isn't used this way. Feb 13, 2021 at 13:09
  • @EdwinAshworth You are correct, Edwin. I should read the questions more carefully!
    – BoldBen
    Feb 13, 2021 at 22:13
  • Thank you for your answer. Although clone isn’t exactly what I would’ve had in mind because it has a scientific context and yes I was looking for a verb, not a noun. However, colloquially clone would work and it does sound stronger than imitate
    – Ibby
    Feb 14, 2021 at 1:04

I’m not sure that “appropriate” is generally used in the context you’re looking for but that is the first thing that came to mind.

  • 1
    That might work. I thought appropriate means taking stuff without permission but I’ll look into it. Thanks for suggesting this
    – Ibby
    Feb 14, 2021 at 2:41

“He’s so unoriginal, it’s like he’s trying to replicate his father.”

Also duplicate, carbon-copy, re-create, reincarnate, etc.


I can't fully support articulating a potential for one person to capture and then express the persona of another, but how about:

Google Dictionary: Encapsulate - verb: encapsulate; 3rd person present: encapsulates; past tense: encapsulated; past participle: encapsulated; gerund or present participle: encapsulating

To: express the essential features of (something) succinctly; "the conclusion is encapsulated in one sentence"

It would have to be ...encapsulate and express his father's persona.

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