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 counterfeit on Wikipedia


Anglo-Norman countrefait, from Old French contrefait.


  • IPA(key): /ˈkaʊn.tɚˌfɪt/
    • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪt


counterfeit (not comparable)

  1. False, especially of money; intended to deceive or carry appearance of being genuine.
    This counterfeit watch looks like the real thing, but it broke a week after I bought it.
  2. Inauthentic.
    counterfeit sympathy
  3. Assuming the appearance of something; deceitful; hypocritical.




counterfeit (plural counterfeits)

  1. A non-genuine article; a fake.
    • c.1597 William Shakespeare, Henry IV part I, Act II, scene 4:
      Never call a true piece of gold a counterfeit.
    • 1878, Thomas Babington Macaulay, “Francis Atterbury”, in Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition:
    • 1971, Peter Brown, The World of Late Antiquity: AD 150—750, Thames & Hudson LTD (2013 reprint), →ISBN, page 53.
      ‘Revelation’, to a philosopher such as Plotinus, was not merely irrational: it led to second-rate counterfeits of traditional academic philosophical culture. It was as if the inhabitants of an underdeveloped country were to seek to catch up with western technology by claiming to have learnt nuclear physics through dreams and oracles.
  2. One who counterfeits; a counterfeiter.
  3. (obsolete) That which resembles another thing; a likeness; a portrait; a counterpart.
    • c. 1605–1608, William Shakespeare, “The Life of Tymon of Athens”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act V, scene i]:
      Thou drawest a counterfeit / Best in all Athens.
    • 1590 Edmund Spenser, Faerie Queene Book III, canto VIII:
      Even Nature's self envied the same, / And grudged to see the counterfeit should shame / The thing itself.
  4. (obsolete) An impostor; a cheat.
    • c.1597, William Shakespeare, Henry IV part I, Act V, scene 4
      I fear thou art another counterfeit; / And yet, in faith, thou bear'st thee like a king.



counterfeit (third-person singular simple present counterfeits, present participle counterfeiting, simple past and past participle counterfeited)

  1. (transitive) To falsely produce what appears to be official or valid; to produce a forged copy of.
    to counterfeit the signature of another, coins, notes, etc.
  2. (transitive, obsolete) To produce a faithful copy of.
    • 2008, Michael Gaudio, Engraving the savage: the New World and techniques of civilization, page xii:
      The title page of White's original album includes a descriptive title page that identifies the contents as “the pictures of sondry things collected and counterfeited according to the truth,"
  3. (transitive, obsolete) To feign; to mimic.
    to counterfeit the voice of another person
    • 1770, Oliver Goldsmith, The Village Schoolmaster
      Full well they laughed with counterfeited glee / At all his jokes, for many a joke had he.
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, volume (please specify |volume=I to VI), London: A[ndrew] Millar [], OCLC 928184292:
      I again conveyed his key into his pocket, and counterfeiting sleep—though I never once closed my eyes, lay in bed till after he arose and went to prayers—an exercise to which I had long been unaccustomed.
  4. (transitive, poker, usually "be counterfeited") Of a turn or river card, to invalidate a player's hand by making a better hand on the board.

Derived terms[edit]


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