ersatz

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adjective er·satz \ˈer-ˌsäts, -ˌzäts; er-ˈzäts, -ˈsäts; ˈər-ˌsats\

Definition of ersatz

  1. :  being a usually artificial and inferior substitute or imitation ersatz turf ersatz intellectuals

ersatz

noun

ersatz was our Word of the Day on 09/10/2015. Hear the podcast!

Examples of ersatz in a Sentence

  1. an apartment complex designed as an ersatz Mediterranean villa

  2. like everything else the restaurant served, the whipped cream on the dessert was ersatz

Recent Examples of ersatz from the Web

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

Did You Know?

Ersatz can be traced back in English to 1875, but it really came into prominence during World War I. Borrowed from German, where Ersatz is a noun meaning "substitute," the word was frequently applied as an adjective in English to items like coffee (from acorns) and flour (from potatoes) - ersatz products resulting from the privations of war. By the time World War II came around, bringing with it a resurgence of the word along with more substitute products, ersatz was wholly entrenched in the language. Today, ersatz can be applied to almost anything that seems like an artificial imitation: "Even when those marketplaces did succeed, the fun always felt a little ersatz." (Malcolm Jones Jr., Newsweek, April 22, 1996)

Origin and Etymology of ersatz

German ersatz-, from Ersatz, noun, substitute


ERSATZ Defined for English Language Learners

ersatz

play
adjective

Definition of ersatz for English Language Learners

  • : copied from something else and usually not as good as the original



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to bring about or cause (something)

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