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Arkansas State University

Plagiarism: Home

Learn the basics of plagiarism.

Defining Plagiarism

What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is the technical term for stealing someone else's intellectual property (words or thoughts).

Plagiarism is derived from the Latin word plagiarius meaning "kidnapper."

Plagiarism is “to steal and pass off the ideas or words of another as one's own.”

Plagiarism is "literary theft."

Plagiarism. (2020). In Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Retrieved September 4, 2020, from

Types of Plagiarism

Direct Plagiarism

When you copy a sentence, phrase, or paragraph word-for-word without citing your source and using quotation marks.

Mosaic Plagiarism

When you mix words or ideas from an unacknowledged source in with your own words or ideas while keeping the general meaning and structure of the original work. This also includes copying a sentence and phrase and replacing select words to try and make it sound like you wrote it. If you take a sentence from a source and change a few words without acknowledging your source, it is still plagiarism.

Insufficient Acknowledgement

When you correctly cite your source once, but continue to use the author's work without giving additional proper citation.


When you use a paper or assignment completed for one class to satisfy the assignment for a different class.  Even if you modify a previous paper or assignment, you must get permission from your professor/ instructor and correctly cite your previous paper.

The Ghost Writer

When you turn in someone else's work word-for-word as your own.  For example if you pay/get someone to write your paper for you.  You must still give this person credit, but then you wouldn't want to do this in the first place as it would likely result in a failing grade.

To learn more about citations, including using citation builders and managers, visit our

Citation Style Guide at:

Thank you

Thank you to Elizabeth Rugan of the University of South Alabama's Marx Library for the use of her Guide as the template for this Guide.