Copy, acting as if, simulacrum, likeness, especially if what is said to be the
imitation is a likeness of a thing that exists already.
There is, for the human mind, a wide variety of
imitations of things: In looks, in behavior,
in acting and more. For the human mind, often one or a few attributes of
something remind one of something else that has the same attributes, for which
reason the one is a copy of another, though it need not be an exact copy at
all to count as a likeness or imitation: What matters is whether one
understands the likeness, rather than that there are few differences between
the two things that are understood to be alike.
Also, as mimesis, which is imitation in Greek, it has for a long time
been the ideal and a standard of art - "natura artis magistra" - at least of
the pictorial kind: How realistic is the imitation. Then again, this failed as
a standard, except perhaps as a measure of the artist's technical abilities,
even when the standard was accepted, because realistic
art also tends to imagine things as better and/or more interesting than they
are in reality.