Word Nerd Wednesday: Ersatz

We are living in interesting, if not especially novel, times my friends! I suspect more people are reading books than have been in a very long time. I have several going at once, and as many book reviews in draft, so stay tuned.

Ove the past week or so, I’ve been hearing or reading a particular word used more often than I am used to hearing it. Both in podcasts and columns, the word ersatz has been coming up, almost as if it’s trending. I don’t know it’s a trendy word right now, but I like it. Ergo, our word of the week is ersatz.

Ersatz: 1. Being a usually inferior imitation or substitute; artificial: ersatz coffee made of chicory. 2. Not genuine; fake.

I’ll use the word in a sentence:

We live in a culture awash in ersatz experts, activists, and spiritual gurus.

Besides the fact that I enjoy the sound and spelling of ersatz, something about the increased usage of the word instead of simply “fake” or “phony” or even “faux” highlights the current zeitgeist or spirit of the age. Zeitgeist is another word I really like.
What the heck. Let’s make it a twofer!

Zeitgeist: The spirit of the time; the taste and outlook characteristic of a period or generation.

Let’s use it in a sentence!

The cult of celebrity and social media influence is deeply embedded in the current zeitgeist.

I’m not sure if that’s a great sentence, but it’s all I can come up with at the moment.

Those are the words of the week. So tell me, what do you think of these two words? Do you use them? Do you hear them often?

3 thoughts on “Word Nerd Wednesday: Ersatz

  1. Bike Bubba says:

    You use ’em correctly. My contribution: my daughter’s wedding party is not going to wear ersatz fabrics like polyester, because they’re making their dresses themselves–and going against the current zeitgeist in doing so. They’re about a third to half done already. (thanks to massive factory shutdowns in China due to coronavirus)

    Great words to use if you want to sound intellectual.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. smkoseki says:

    We use zeitgeist & faux all the time; never ersatz. There is a real need for the former two…when I grow up I wanna be Matthew Arnold (who created zeitgeist in 1848 just to serve his needs).

    Both words are German, and likely got big with the domination of German Jews in American the writing arts by the 1940s due to clannishness & high verbal IQ (hence dominance of the media & now internet). The treasure Ron Unz has some good stuff on this: https://www.unz.com/runz/the-myth-of-american-meritocracy/


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