[ er-zahts, -sahts, er-zahts, -sahts ]
/ ˈɛr zɑts, -sɑts, ɛrˈzɑts, -ˈsɑts /


serving as a substitute; synthetic; artificial: an ersatz coffee made from grain.


an artificial substance or article used to replace something natural or genuine; a substitute.

Nearby words

  1. error coin,
  2. error correction,
  3. error message,
  4. error of closure,
  5. ers,
  6. erse,
  7. ershad,
  8. erskine,
  9. erskine, john,
  10. erst

Origin of ersatz

1870–75; < German Ersatz a substitute (derivative of ersetzen to replace) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ersatz

British Dictionary definitions for ersatz


/ (ˈɛəzæts, ˈɜː-) /


made in imitation of some natural or genuine product; artificial


an ersatz substance or article

Word Origin for ersatz

C20: German, from ersetzen to substitute

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 ersatz



1875, from German Ersatz "units of the army reserve," literally "compensation, replacement, substitute," from ersetzen "to replace," from Old High German irsezzen, from ir-, unaccented variant of ur- + setzen "to set" (see set (v.)). As a noun, from 1892.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper