Legal Dictionary


Definition of counterfeit


    Anglo-Norman countrefait, from continental Old French contrefait.


  • (US) SAMPA: /caUn.t3.fIt/


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 (plural counterfeits)

  1. A non-genuine article; a fake.
  2. One who counterfeits; a counterfeiter.


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.

Further reading

To counterfeit means to illegally imitate something. Counterfeit products are often produced with the intent to take advantage of the superior value of the imitated product. The word counterfeit frequently describes both the forgeries of currency and documents, as well as the imitations of works of art, clothing, software, pharmaceuticals, watches, electronics and company logos and brands. In the case of goods, it results in patent infringement or trademark infringement. Additionally, it is fairly common in big cities for would-be criminals to sell counterfeit illegal drugs, such as a bag of pure baking soda sold as cocaine or heroin, or a bag of oregano sold as marijuana. This takes advantage of the extremely high prices of illicit drugs and the relatively low prices of common materials such as baking soda and oregano, as well as taking advantage of the similarity in appearances that certain house-hold items share with certain illicit drugs.

The counterfeiting of money is usually attacked aggressively by governments. The counterfeiting of goods is countenanced by some governments.


  1. Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.


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