The word plagiarism is derived from the Latin plagiarus, or "kidnapper." In the English language, plagiarism refers to the intentional or unintentional act of using other people's ideas, words, or work without providing documentation.
As you know, every word-for-word quote is placed in quotation marks, and its origin is clearly acknowledged in a footnote or reference. Failure to provide such documentation constitutes plagiarism.
Additionally, lifting another person's ideas without acknowledging the source also constitutes plagiarism. Ideas originating outside of yourself, even when paraphrased or summarized in your own words, require explicit documentation. Failure to provide such documentation constitutes plagiarism.
Related acts of academic dishonesty include submitting under your own name papers borrowed, purchased, or stolen; and submitting a paper for which you have already received credit in a different course.
The following websites offer excellent guidelines as to what constitutes plagiarism, and how to avoid it:
Plagiarism is one of the very worst acts of academic dishonesty. Those found guilty of plagiarism risk a "zero" for the assignment on which they have plagiarized, possible failure of the class, and potential expulsion from school. Plagiarism in the professional world may result in the termination of one's employment.
As important as the penalties one risks is the principle involved: plagiarism is dishonest. Purchasing or downloading papers, handing in other people's work, failing to provide documentation and/or failing to place quotation marks around quotes - all these are efforts to cheat. Their objective is to receive credit for work that is not one's own, and those found guilty of such practices deserve the harshest penalty available. The penalties for unintentional plagiarism are the same as those for intentional plagiarism. As some plagiarists claim they "didn't know" a dishonest practice they engaged in was plagiarism, we have listed below some common sense measures to help you recognize and avoid plagiarism.
For further information on what does, and what does not require documentation, on plagiarism in general, and on how to avoid it, we again recommend the following websites: