AskDefine | Define forgery

Dictionary Definition



1 a copy that is represented as the original [syn: imitation, counterfeit]
2 criminal falsification by making or altering an instrument with intent to defraud

User Contributed Dictionary





  • a RP /ˈfɔː.dʒər.ɪ/, /"fO:.dZ@r.I/
  • a US /ˈfɔːr.dʒər.ɪ/, /"fO:r.dZ@r.I/


  1. The act of forging metal into shape.
  2. The act of forging, fabricating, or producing falsely; esp., the crime of fraudulently making or altering a writing or signature purporting to be made by another; the false making or material alteration of or addition to a written instrument for the purpose of deceit and fraud; as, the forgery of a bond.
  3. That which is forged, fabricated, falsely devised, or counterfeited.


the act of forging metal into shape
  • German: Schmieden
  • Polish: kucie
  • Portuguese: forjar
  • Russian: ковка
  • Serbian: skovati
the act of forging, fabricating, or producing falsely
that which is forged or counterfeited
  • Chinese:
    Mandarin: (yànpǐn)
  • Czech: padělek , podvrh
  • Finnish: väärennös
  • German: Fälschung, Falsifikat
  • Greek: πλαστογράφηση
  • Hungarian: hamisítvány
  • Polish: falsyfikat
  • Portuguese: forjar
  • Russian: подделка, фальшивка, липа
  • Serbian: krivotvorina

Extensive Definition

Forgery is the process of making, adapting, or imitating objects or documents (see false document), with the intent to deceive. The similar crime of fraud is the crime of deceiving another, including through the use of objects obtained through forgery. Copies, studio replicas, and reproductions are not considered forgeries, though they may later become forgeries through knowing and willful misrepresentations. In the case of forging money or currency it is more often called counterfeiting. But consumer goods are also counterfeits when they are not manufactured or produced by designated manufacture or producer given on the label or flagged by the trademark symbol. When the object forged is a record or document it is often called a false document.
In the 16th century imitators of Albrecht Dürer's style of printmaking improved the market for their own prints by signing them "AD", making them forgeries.
In the 20th century the art market made forgeries highly profitable. There are widespread forgeries of especially valued artists, such as drawings meant to be by Picasso, Klee, and Matisse.
This usage of 'forgery' does not derive from metalwork done at a 'forge', but it has a parallel history. A sense of "to counterfeit" is already in the Anglo-French verb forger "falsify."
Forgery is one of the techniques of fraud, including identity theft. Forgery is one of the threats that have to be addressed by security engineering.
A forgery is essentially concerned with a produced or altered object. Where the prime concern of a forgery is less focused on the object itself— what it is worth or what it "proves"— than on a tacit statement of criticism that is revealed by the reactions the object provokes in others, then the larger process is a hoax. In a hoax, a rumor or a genuine object "planted" in a concocted situation, may substitute for a forged physical object.

Forgery as a subject in film

The Orson Welles documentary F for Fake concerns both art and literary forgery. For the movie Welles intercut footage of Elmyr de Hory, an art forger, and Clifford Irving, who wrote an "authorized" autobiography of Howard Hughes that had been revealed to be a hoax. While forgery is the ostensible subject of the film, it also concerns art, film making, storytelling and the creative process.
In the Steven Spielberg 2002 motion picture Catch Me If You Can which is based on the real story of Frank Abagnale, a con man who stole over $2.5 million through forgery, imposture and other frauds is dramatized. His career in crime lasted six years from 1963 to 1969.

Documentary art

Before the invention of cameras, people commonly hired painters and engravers to "re-create" an event or a scene. Artists had to imagine what to illustrate based on the information available to them about the subject. Some artists added elements to make the scene more exotic, while others removed elements out of modesty. In the 18th century, for example, Europeans were curious about what North America looked like and were ready to pay to see illustrations depicting this faraway place. Some of these artists produced prints depicting North America, despite many having never left Europe.

Topics in forgery


forgery in Danish: Forfalskning
forgery in German: Fälschung
forgery in Spanish: Fake
forgery in French: Forgerie
forgery in Italian: Fake
forgery in Dutch: vervalsing
forgery in Japanese: 偽造
forgery in Lithuanian: Falsifikatas
forgery in Norwegian: Falsk
forgery in Portuguese: Falsificação
forgery in Swedish: Förfalskning
forgery in Chinese: 偽造文書

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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