Ersatz \AIR-sahts\ or \UR-sats\ , adjective;
1. Being a substitute or imitation, usually an inferior one
This word is first attested in 1875 and comes from German Ersatz ("units of the army reserve"). Its literal translation is "compensation, replacement, substitute" and derives from ersetzen ("to replace"). Ersetzen comes from Old High German irsezzen, an unaccented variation of ur- + setzen ("to set"). There is a noun version of this word that dates to around 1892.
Today's word and the first definition were both taken from Dictionary.com's 'Word of the Day' for Thursday, March 10
Etymologies come from the Oxford English Dictionary and/or Etymonline.com