Ersatz / adjective / er·satz
Ersatz is a word that refers to something that is substituted for or acts as a replacement for another thing. For example, ersatz coffee is coffee made with less than the optimal amount of caffeine. Ersatz clothes are clothes that have been manufactured using lower-quality materials to save on costs.
In a Sentence
I tried using ersatz shampoo, but it made my hair dry.
My ersatz father was never around, so I never learned how to be a real one.
My uncle brought over some ersatz cheese and crackers to snack on.
The word "ersatz" originates from the German ersatz, meaning "substitute." So, it is literally translated to mean a substitute for something. In general, it can describe anything that has been made or designed to replace something else but may not meet all of the same expectations.
For example, imitation jewelry is often termed an ersatz fashion item because there's no real counterpart in high-end designer collections.
Similarly, substitutes for traditional foods may also fall into this category because they are typically not as nutritious or flavorful as their original counterparts.