How to say "fake" in German

The English word “fake” can have several different translations in German. As always, there is heavy overlap in meaning. Here are some of the more popular ones:

– “falsch”: This word simply means “wrong” or “incorrect”, but can also have the meaning of “deceitful” and “phony”. Though it can also mean “forged” and “counterfeit”, the related word “gefälscht” is more common here: “Die Uhr ist gefälscht.” – “The watch is fake.”

– “künstlich”: This word means “artificial” in the sense of “not natural”: “Das sind künstliche Blumen.” – “These are fake flowers.”

– “unecht” or : This word literally means “not real”: “Sein Mitgefühl wirkt unecht.” – “His compassion seems fake.”

– “aufgesetzt” or “erzwungen”: These words mean (literally) “superimposed” and “forced”, respectively. In the sense of “fake”, they can be used to describe unnatural or exaggerated actions: “Er hat so ein aufgesetztes Lachen.” – “He has such a fake laugh.”

– “nachgeahmt”, “imitiert” or “nachgebildet”: These words mean “imitated” or “reproduced”: “Dieses Kunstwerk ist nur nachgeahmt.” – “This piece of art is just a fake.”

In addition, the word for a “phony” (in the sense of a fraudulent person) is “Heuchler” (m.).

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