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

Examples from the Web for counterfeit

British Dictionary definitions for counterfeit


/ (ˈkaʊntəfɪt) /


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


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