Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery; the idea behind the proverb has been around for several centuries. Charles Caleb Colton was the first to use it in print when it appeared in his Lacon: Many things in few words, published in 1820: Oscar Wilde however is most associated with the phrase when he wrote, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.” George Bernard Shaw went on to add “it is the sincerest form of learning.”