Imitation or counterfeit?

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Thu Oct 13 01:22:28 UTC 2011

This seems to be a case where "phony" is clearly the best word.


On Wed, Oct 12, 2011 at 9:14 PM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at> wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
> Subject:      Imitation or counterfeit?
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> The recent news is that hairy crabs that were not taken from the
> source of the esteemed variety of hairy crab, Yangcheng Lake, China,
> are being prawned off as genuine, in the amount of 10 times the
> genuine harvest.  This is such a problem that etching the genuine
> crabs with laser beams was tried, but did not work well.  Then the
> government printed up one million tags, to be attached by the
> licensed Yangcheng Lake crab harvesters to their catches -- but some
> have sold their allotments to unlicensed crab raisers, and also the
> tags have been faked.
> I believe I heard one commentator (on NPR?) refer to the ingenuine
> crabs as "imitation".  I would have said "counterfeit".  But either
> notion is somehow humorous when I think of those words being applied
> to crabs that actually grew naturally somewhere.  (I concede
> that"counterfeit crab " should be understood as meaning "a
> counterfeit of the Yangcheng Lake crab", but that does not detract
> from my amusement.)
> Joel
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