Etymology

In the 1st century, the use of the Latin word plagiarius (literally kidnapper) to denote stealing someone else's work was by the Roman poet Martial, who complained that another poet had "kidnapped his verses". "Plagiary", a derivative of "plagiarus" was introduced into English in 1601 by dramatist Ben Jonson to describe someone guilty of literary theft.

The derived form plagiarism was introduced into English around 1620.The Latin plagiārius, "kidnapper", and plagium, "kidnapping", has the root plaga ("snare", "net"), based on the Indo-European root *-plak, "to weave" (seen for instance in Greek plekein, Bulgarian "плета" pleta, Latin plectere, all meaning "to weave").