What word or expression can I use for a baby who is the exact copy of one of its parents?


4 Answers 4


One such phrase is the spitting image.

  • 2
    Colloquially (in BrE, at least), you can also say He's the [dead] spit of his father. It says here In the early nineteenth century it was possible to describe a child as 'the spit' of his father, or for emphasis the 'spit and image'. This could also appear as 'spitten image', which then became 'spitting image'. But I don't accept that plain old spit is no longer used. Commented Feb 24, 2016 at 16:08
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    @FumbleFingers Interesting. In America, "the spitting image" is far more common. I don't think I've ever heard anyone say "the dead spit" before!
    – Abs
    Commented Feb 24, 2016 at 16:55
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    As above; "the spit of", "dead spit" or "spitting image". "Double" is also popular i.e. "he's his double".
    – Mike C
    Commented Feb 24, 2016 at 17:01
  • +1 Another American English speaker for the spitting image. I've never heard of 'he's his double' to refer to parent child-resemblance. Commented Feb 24, 2016 at 17:13
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    I believe it comes from "spi'it 'n image" (an abbreviated form of "spirit and image").
    – jkdev
    Commented Feb 24, 2016 at 22:12

Like others have said, the spitting image and dead ringer are good ones to describe family members who look exactly alike. Carbon copy is my personal favorite. "He is a carbon copy of his dad!"

You could perhaps use duplicate, look-alike, twin or doppelganger depending on what you're going for. Some words would work better for strangers rather than relatives though (ex. "you two could be twins!" or "she's his doppelganger, I swear" or "she's an exact duplicate of him").

Here are some synonyms for spitting image that you might find useful.

  • I agree the doppelganger works better for strangers than relatives, but I'm still upvoting this answer on account of that suggestion. That's a great word for leaners.
    – J.R.
    Commented Feb 24, 2016 at 19:40
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    What's great about carbon copy is that he is indeed a carbon based life form!
    – corsiKa
    Commented Feb 24, 2016 at 23:53

Maybe this is quite recent, but many people will recognize Mini-Me as an exact (although smaller) copy of someone.


While not strictly about appearance, some common phrases having to do with parental similarities are

  • A chip off the old block
  • The apple doesn't fall far from the tree
  • I've always interpreted these saying as more about how the child behaves than how they look.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 14:15
  • I agree with @ColleenV. Those are related to personality traits rather than looks.
    – Abs
    Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 23:39

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