1

counterfeit

adjective coun·ter·feit \ ˈkau̇n-tər-ˌfit \
Updated on: 12 Dec 2017

Definition of counterfeit

1 : made in imitation of something else with intent to deceive : forged
  • counterfeit money
  • a counterfeit diamond
2 a : insincere, feigned
  • counterfeit sympathy
  • counterfeit joy at her friend's engagement
b : imitation
  • counterfeit Georgian houses

Examples of counterfeit in a Sentence

  1. The concert ticket is counterfeit.

  2. counterfeit currency that had been passed all over town

Recent Examples of counterfeit from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'counterfeit.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of counterfeit

Middle English countrefet, from Anglo-French cuntrefeit, from past participle of cuntrefere, contrefaire to imitate, from cuntre- + faire to make, from Latin facere — more at do


2

counterfeit

verb

Definition of counterfeit

transitive verb
: to imitate or feign especially with intent to deceive; also : to make a fraudulent replica of
  • counterfeiting $20 bills
intransitive verb
1 : to try to deceive by pretense or dissembling
2 : to engage in counterfeiting something of value

counterfeiter

noun

Examples of counterfeit in a Sentence

  1. They were counterfeiting money in his garage.

  2. an expert at counterfeiting money

Recent Examples of counterfeit from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'counterfeit.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of counterfeit

Synonym Discussion of counterfeit

assume, affect, pretend, simulate, feign, counterfeit, sham mean to put on a false or deceptive appearance. assume often implies a justifiable motive rather than an intent to deceive.
    • assumed an air of cheerfulness around the patients
affect implies making a false show of possessing, using, or feeling.
    • affected an interest in art
pretend implies an overt and sustained false appearance.
    • pretended that nothing had happened
simulate suggests a close imitation of the appearance of something.
    • cosmetics that simulate a suntan
feign implies more artful invention than pretend, less specific mimicry than simulate.
    • feigned sickness
counterfeit implies achieving the highest degree of verisimilitude of any of these words.
    • an actor counterfeiting drunkenness
sham implies an obvious falseness that fools only the gullible.
    • shammed a most unconvincing limp

3

counterfeit

noun

Definition of counterfeit

1 : something counterfeit : forgery
  • The $20 bill turned out to be a counterfeit.
2 : something likely to be mistaken for something of higher value
  • Pity was a counterfeit of love …
  • —Harry Hervey

Examples of counterfeit in a Sentence

  1. the will as well as the other documents turned out to be counterfeits

Recent Examples of counterfeit from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'counterfeit.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of counterfeit

Synonym Discussion of counterfeit

imposture, fraud, sham, fake, humbug, counterfeit mean a thing made to seem other than it is. imposture applies to any situation in which a spurious object or performance is passed off as genuine.
    • their claim of environmental concern is an imposture
fraud usually implies a deliberate perversion of the truth.
    • the diary was exposed as a fraud
sham applies to fraudulent imitation of a real thing or action.
    • condemned the election as a sham
fake implies an imitation of or substitution for the genuine but does not necessarily imply dishonesty.
    • these jewels are fakes; the real ones are in the vault
humbug suggests elaborate pretense usually so flagrant as to be transparent.
    • creating publicity by foisting humbugs on a gullible public
counterfeit applies especially to the close imitation of something valuable.
    • 20-dollar bills that were counterfeits

COUNTERFEIT Defined for English Language Learners

counterfeit

adjective

Definition of counterfeit for English Language Learners

  • : made to look like an exact copy of something in order to trick people


counterfeit

verb

Definition of counterfeit for English Language Learners

  • : to make an exact copy of (something) in order to trick people


counterfeit

noun

Definition of counterfeit for English Language Learners

  • : something that is made to look like an exact copy of something else in order to trick people


COUNTERFEIT Defined for Kids

1

counterfeit

adjective coun·ter·feit \ ˈkau̇n-tər-ˌfit \

Definition of counterfeit for Students

1 : made in exact imitation of something genuine and meant to be taken as genuine
  • counterfeit money
2 : not sincere
  • counterfeit sympathy

2

counterfeit

verb

Definition of counterfeit for Students

counterfeited; counterfeiting
1 : to imitate or copy especially in order to deceive
  • Modern money is difficult to counterfeit.
2 : pretend 2
  • She tried to counterfeit enthusiasm.

counterfeiter

noun

3

counterfeit

noun

Definition of counterfeit for Students

: something made to imitate another thing with the desire to deceive
  • The 100 dollar bill turned out to be a counterfeit.

Law Dictionary

1

counterfeit

adjective coun·ter·feit \ ˈkau̇n-tər-ˌfit \

legal Definition of counterfeit

: made in imitation of a genuine article (as a document) without authorization and especially with intent to deceive or defraud

Origin and Etymology of counterfeit

Middle French contrefait, past participle of contrefaire to imitate, draw, paint, from contre- counter- + faire to make


2

counterfeit

transitive verb

legal Definition of counterfeit

: to make an imitation of without authorization and especially with intent to deceive or defraud
  • whoever falsely makes, alters, forges, or counterfeits any deed
  • U.S. Code

counterfeiter

noun

3

counterfeit

noun

legal Definition of counterfeit

: something counterfeit
  • all counterfeits of any coins or obligations
  • U.S. Code
— compare forgery


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