Definition of counterfeit in English:



  • 1Made in exact imitation of something valuable with the intention to deceive or defraud.

    ‘counterfeit £10 notes’
    • ‘Three years on, it has become the centre for trade in contraband and counterfeit goods.’
    • ‘A daring nighttime police raid of the night market on Thepprasit Road netted 350 counterfeit CDs and resulted in the arrest of two vendors.’
    • ‘You see them on lots of New York City street corners: counterfeit T-shirts, bootleg DVDs, fake designer handbags.’
    • ‘‘Most companies are fully willing to help identify counterfeiters, counterfeit goods and to provide testimony in court,’ Harris said.’
    • ‘Mr Cameron added that when these forged and counterfeit documents were sent to immigration officials in Sheffield they were ignored, and approval was given.’
    • ‘Typical offenses are growing cannabis, circulating counterfeit money, theft, homicide, and entering the country illegally.’
    • ‘Its primary focus is on cases relating to fraud, corruption, counterfeit goods and tax offences and focuses on assuring that appropriate sentences are meted out in courts.’
    • ‘There is a significant black market in both real and counterfeit human growth hormone promoted to sportspeople and fitness people.’
    • ‘They're knockoffs, fakes, counterfeit goods that may end up as holiday gifts, but they are hurting the U.S. economy.’
    • ‘Martin works in Buenos Aires as a courier for a crime outfit, transporting counterfeit money.’
    • ‘The supposedly copy-proof format is providing rich pickings for pirates, and counterfeit versions of the latest films are hitting market stalls at the same time as they reach the cinema.’
    • ‘His scheme was revealed as he allegedly attempted to transfer $80 million in funds from legitimate accounts into accounts he controlled using fraudulent wire transfers and counterfeit cheques.’
    • ‘Not to mention that there is a strong connection between counterfeit goods and organized crime gangs and terrorist organizations - it's one way they finance their organizations.’
    • ‘Jenn, there is no way you would be able to tell me that this wasn't a counterfeit bill.’
    • ‘UK computer retailers are warned today of a sophisticated new scam involving counterfeit cheques.’
    • ‘They are telling of all sorts of irregularities from fee-taking for moving an application to the top of the queue, to outright fraudulent and counterfeit work permits.’
    • ‘Anti-theft tags will be fitted to laptops, compact discs and clothing consignments as part of a partnership initiative with major UK businesses to stamp out the illicit trade in stolen and counterfeit goods.’
    • ‘HM Customs at Heathrow also seized 1,000 counterfeit copies of Windows 95 OEM, destined for MST.’
    • ‘The whole thing boils down to verification once again, where people cannot use fraudulent, counterfeit identification to obtain the right to drive in this country.’
    • ‘The fact that there is in effect only ever one customs barrier for goods to enter the EC also has implications for the battle against organized crime, counterfeit goods, and the like.’
    fake, faked, copied, forged, feigned, simulated, sham, spurious, bogus, imitation, substitute, dummy, ersatz
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Pretended; sham.
      ‘a counterfeit image of reality’
      • ‘The counterfeit nature of Modernism's dream of freedom is written into the dream's realization.’
      • ‘These are the 22-minute sitcom's ‘serious’ interludes, usually signified by fifteen seconds unbroken by a counterfeit laugh.’
      • ‘Conceivably this is so, but in the present moral climate it is more likely to foster that counterfeit compassion which thinks no wrong is very wrong.’
      • ‘Leave it to Hollywood to trim the truth for the sake of counterfeit sentiment and narrative noodling.’
      • ‘He gave a counterfeit cough.’
      • ‘Like a mirage in a desert, counterfeit love cannot quench your thirst.’


  • A fraudulent imitation of something else.

    ‘he knew the tapes to be counterfeits’
    • ‘First, McConnell openly criticised the Chancellor's decision to force whisky producers to introduce security seals as protection against counterfeits and smuggling.’
    • ‘Legitimate businesses are hurt by the loss of sales going to counterfeits and pirated goods and services.’
    • ‘The other reason to mount an offensive against the counterfeits is, obviously, the hit to corporate profits - and the likelihood developed markets will one day be seriously contaminated.’
    • ‘The public should feel proud of refusing counterfeits and buying copyrighted products.’
    • ‘The dangers of the counterfeits were highlighted in a national newspaper after packets of Benson and Hedges turned up with the word ‘suppliers’ misspelt as ‘suppuiers’.’
    • ‘But the same production and distribution also have created a frightening phenomenon: an ever-rising flood of counterfeits and fakes coming onto world markets.’
    • ‘Stressing that genuine bottles of both brands are unaffected and safe, Trading Standards says there are clear ways of identifying the counterfeits.’
    • ‘Most holiday-makers today know that coins, antiques and other objects of fine arts offered on the streets or found in markets are counterfeits or nice imitations.’
    • ‘Gary was hesitant to speak much more about identifying the counterfeits or rip-offs.’
    • ‘These coins could be shrink wrapped with an embedded microdot to assure authenticity, preventing counterfeits or forgeries.’
    • ‘Other street vendors gave up on selling counterfeits because they said they were tired of being questioned by police, and feared getting caught.’
    • ‘Huge machines process hundreds of thousands of bills and coins, counting up the take and looking for counterfeits.’
    • ‘Studio executives say the counterfeits and free downloads off the Internet threaten to undercut their industry, as it did with the music industry.’
    • ‘Although, even traditional pharmacies have had problems with counterfeits from their wholesalers, at least if they're certified there's some accountability.’
    • ‘Banks and governments need to detect counterfeits.’
    • ‘On its pre-season tour of America, the club seized 600 counterfeits, including t-shirts and caps, while issuing 35 banning orders to firms suspected of peddling fakes there.’
    • ‘Some name-brand items with ‘too good to be true ‘prices may even be counterfeits.’’
    • ‘He was a virtuoso fabulist, whose literary hoaxes and counterfeits verged on pastiche.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, the FDA says it will tighten requirements for drug wholesalers so it's tougher to sneak counterfeits into legitimate supplies.’
    • ‘The counterfeits were alleged to be some of the best ever, identifiable only by a slightly lighter shade of blue.’
    fake, forgery, copy, reproduction, replica, imitation, likeness, lookalike, mock-up, dummy, substitute, fraud, sham
    View synonyms


  • 1Imitate fraudulently.

    ‘my signature is extremely hard to counterfeit’
    • ‘They are both now charged with very serious crimes - counterfeiting money and murder.’
    • ‘The idea is to prevent large-scale piracy operations from thieves who counterfeit Symantec programs and offer them to customers on the Web.’
    • ‘Would a nationally-issued identity document solve the problem of identity-related fraud, or would this be just another document that could be counterfeited and abused by fraudsters?’
    • ‘According to the all-time list, assault is the favourite crime of pro sports people - 17 arrests described in detail - with narcotics, burglary, counterfeiting and murder among the other top pastimes.’
    • ‘Our organisation owns shares in a lot of these but we deal in theft, blackmail and counterfeiting.’
    • ‘Color-shifting ink is not only hard to counterfeit, it looks good too.’
    • ‘Most often the perpetrators counterfeited credit cards owned by nationals of France, Italy, the UK, Germany, the US, Canada and Scandinavian countries.’
    • ‘The games are hard to counterfeit because players must connect to a server, which can detect and reject software pirates.’
    • ‘For example, the private monies would be far more stable in their purchasing power, would be harder to counterfeit, and would be available in more convenient denominations.’
    • ‘It has successfully prosecuted all kinds of card fraudsters but has particularly focused on the scams carried out by counterfeiting gangs who often run sophisticated factory-style operations.’
    • ‘The chip technology uses sophisticated processing techniques to identify authentic cards and make counterfeiting extremely difficult and expensive.’
    • ‘And, short of reproducing the process, but with a new name on the credits page, it would be very hard to counterfeit this.’
    • ‘Mr McDowell said he had no doubt some of the individuals in the IRA would continue with their lucrative smuggling and counterfeiting operations after the disbandment of the IRA.’
    • ‘I see it as a protection measure for my money (anyone stealing my money must steal or counterfeit my ID first).’
    • ‘Producers of leading wines are adopting security measures similar to those used on banknotes to stop criminals counterfeiting their products, writes John Follain.’
    • ‘If criminals can counterfeit passports and other I.D. then how long until they can fake the new Identity cards-biometrics or not.’
    • ‘And coins are harder to counterfeit than gold bars.’
    • ‘"One staff member of the organising committee will be stationed at each booth to make sure no booths conduct any piracy and counterfeiting activities, " Liu said.’
    • ‘According to Doc-Witness, OpSecure provides a solution that solves the four aspects of software piracy: copying, sharing, counterfeiting, and faking IDs.’
    • ‘All of the other prisoners are gorgeous trained dancers who sing about how they committed murders, counterfeited money, robbed banks and exacted revenge.’
    fake, forge, copy, reproduce, replicate, imitate, simulate, feign, falsify, sham
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Pretend to feel or possess (an emotion or quality)
      ‘no pretence could have counterfeited such terror’
      • ‘It is the taint of Eton that makes him ineligible to lead the Tory Party, in the view of some who believe that counterfeiting Blairism is the road to power.’
      • ‘You guys do the best at counterfeiting friendship.’
      • ‘Abigail, the daughter of Barabas, having counterfeited a religious vocation in order to help her father recover his money, eventually becomes a nun.’
      • ‘The dexterity with which he counterfeits sanity presents, to the metaphysician, one of the most singular problems in the study of mind.’
      pretend, make believe, feign, put on an act, act, sham, fake
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2literary Resemble closely.
      ‘sleep counterfeited Death so well’


Middle English (as a verb): from Anglo-Norman French countrefeter, from Old French contrefait, past participle of contrefaire, from Latin contra- ‘in opposition’ + facere ‘make’.