Origin of counterfeit

1250–1300; (adj.) Middle English countrefet false, forged < Anglo-French cuntrefet, Old French contrefait, past participle of conterfere to copy, imitate, equivalent to conter- counter- + fere to make, do ≪ Latin facere (see fact); (v.) Middle English countrefeten, verbal derivative of countrefet
Related formscoun·ter·feit·er, nouncoun·ter·feit·ly, adverbcoun·ter·feit·ness, nounnon·coun·ter·feit, adjectiveun·coun·ter·feit·ed, adjective

Synonyms for counterfeit

1. spurious, bogus. See false. 2. sham, feigned, simulated, fraudulent; mock, fake, ersatz. 3. falsification, sham. 7. copy; falsify.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for counterfeit

Contemporary Examples of counterfeit

Historical Examples of counterfeit

  • At this favorable moment the counterfeit conjurers disappeared.

    The Last of the Mohicans

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • And anyhow, repining is only a counterfeit repentance, you know.

    The Cavalier

    George Washington Cable

  • Thus are all things represented by counterfeit, and yet without this there was no living.

    The Praise of Folly

    Desiderius Erasmus

  • Or what is it that their own very names are often counterfeit or borrowed from some books of the ancients?

    The Praise of Folly

    Desiderius Erasmus

  • I am no counterfeit, nor do I carry one thing in my looks and another in my breast.

    The Praise of Folly

    Desiderius Erasmus

British Dictionary definitions for counterfeit



made in imitation of something genuine with the intent to deceive or defraud; forged
simulated; shamcounterfeit affection


an imitation designed to deceive or defraud
archaic an impostor; cheat


(tr) to make a fraudulent imitation of
(intr) to make counterfeits
to feign; simulate
(tr) to imitate; copy
Derived Formscounterfeiter, noun

Word Origin for counterfeit

C13: from Old French contrefait, from contrefaire to copy, from contre- counter- + faire to make, from Latin facere
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for counterfeit

late 13c., from Old French contrefait "imitated" (Modern French contrefait), past participle of contrefaire "imitate," from contre- "against" (see contra-) + faire "to make, to do" (from Latin facere; see factitious). Medieval Latin contrafactio meant "setting in opposition or contrast." Related: Counterfeited; counterfeiting. The noun and adjective are from late 14c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper