ef·​fi·​gy | \ ˈe-fə-jē How to pronounce effigy (audio) \
plural effigies

Definition of effigy

: an image or representation especially of a person especially : a crude figure representing a hated person
in effigy
: publicly in the form of an effigy the football coach was burned in effigy

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Did You Know?

An earlier sense of effigy is "a likeness of a person shaped out of stone or other materials," so it’s not surprising to learn that effigy derives from the Latin verb fingere, which means "to shape." Fingere is the common ancestor of a number of other English nouns that name things you can shape. A fiction is a story you shape with your imagination. Figments are shaped by the imagination, too; they’re something you imagine or make up. A figure can be a numeral, a shape, or a picture that you shape as you draw or write.

Examples of effigy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Once completed, the Coil Mound will join the finished Serpent Twin in Schiller Park — an effigy mound resembling a sidewinding snake, made from soil and ancestral dirt from numerous tribal lands in the U.S. Darcel Rockett, chicagotribune.com, "Coiled snake earthworks installation from artist Santiago X and the American Indian Center is planned for Horner Park," 25 Feb. 2021 Images of all three were burned alongside that of Harris on a four-headed effigy. Zamira Rahim, CNN, "Indians are telling their 18 million-strong diaspora to keep out of their affairs," 28 Feb. 2021 The subkrewes of Drips and Discharges and Krewe of K.A.O.S. are constructing a large effigy of Donald Trump’s head which will be placed in a dumpster. Will Coviello, NOLA.com, "'Krewe du Vieux has No Taste' in array of Covid-defying installations Jan.30-31," 24 Jan. 2021 Historic effigy mounds made of soil, some in the shapes of birds and bears, can be found in Cahokia, Illinois, among other sites. Darcel Rockett, chicagotribune.com, "Coiled snake earthworks installation from artist Santiago X and the American Indian Center is planned for Horner Park," 25 Feb. 2021 An effigy of the governor was soon hanged on the courthouse lawn. Washington Post, "He escaped a lynch mob, then sued its members in court," 19 Feb. 2021 Some of the reporters detached themselves from Dunn’s crew and went to photograph the effigy. New York Times, "How Armed Protests Are Creating a New Kind of Politics," 26 Jan. 2021 The 14th-century effigy was one of many religious symbols targeted during the English Reformation, which found Henry VIII breaking from the Catholic Church in order to marry Anne Boleyn. Isis Davis-marks, Smithsonian Magazine, "Medieval Effigy Found Hidden Beneath English Church’s Pipe Organ," 29 Dec. 2020 During the festival, a crowd gathers here to watch an effigy of a Basque villager, known as Celedón, whiz down a zip wire with his open umbrella to kick off the party. Melissa Findley, National Geographic, "Destinations on the rise for 2021," 20 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'effigy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of effigy

1539, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for effigy

borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French effigie, borrowed from Latin effigiēs "representation, copy, specter," from effig-, variant stem of effingere "to shape, portray, copy" (from ef-, variant before f of ex- ex- entry 1 + fingere "to mold, fashion, make a likeness of") + -iēs, deverbal noun suffix — more at feign

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Last Updated

13 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Effigy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/effigy. Accessed 13 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for effigy



English Language Learners Definition of effigy

: an image of a person

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More from Merriam-Webster on effigy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for effigy

Nglish: Translation of effigy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about effigy

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