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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Why is "copy" called "copy?"

("Hard Copy" was a TV show from 1989 to '99, I never saw it.)

The word “copy” is so ubiquitous in media that we seldom even think about it.




There are copyeditors (I was one), copywriters (I was one), copy boys (I wasn’t one), copy chiefs (not me), body copy, hard copy, soft copy, advertising copy, legal copy, copy desks -- and probably more.


As a noun, “copy” goes back through Old French and Medieval Latin to the Classical Latin “copia,” meaning “abundance” or “plenty.” Our modern word is related to “copious” and basically means “a bunch of words.”

You can copy some copy and copyright some copy (but be careful if you copy some copyrighted copy). I may ask, “do you copy?” and you may respond, “copy that!”

(from my new book, Self-Editing for Self-Publishers (What to do before the real editor starts editing -- or if you're the only editor). It's an Amazon Kindle e-book, readable on many e-reading devices, including computers. You don't need to own a Kindle to read it.



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