• (Of a product) Made or used as a substitute, typically an inferior one, for something else.
  • Not real or genuine.

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Example Sentences

“This ersatz meat tastes surprisingly similar to beef, but my vegetarian sister loves it.”

“I ran out of coffee this morning, and this tea is a poor ersatz option.”

“Discount stores are often filled with ersatz versions of brand-name items.”

Word Origin

German, late 19th century

Why this word?

In modern English, “ersatz” is an adjective to describe a replacement or something that’s not real, but in the original German, it’s a noun that just means “replacement.” It was the name given to products developed during food shortages; for example, a grain deficit found German bakers making loaves of “Ersatzbrot,” or bread with potato flour. Today, there’s a rapidly growing market for ersatz meat products. Beyond Meat and Impossible burgers have recently earned praise for being nearly indistinguishable from real beef. Ersatz meat is now found at almost all grocery stores, and in restaurants ranging from fast food to high-end.

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