ef·fi·gy | \ ˈe-fə-jē \
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

On the gathering's penultimate day, the giant effigy — or Man as it is known — is set ablaze during a raucous, joyful celebration. Fox News, "Burning Man festival co-founder Larry Harvey dead at 70," 29 Apr. 2018 The case revolves around Wingra Redi-Mix's eight-year effort to excavate effigy mounds within its quarry in Blooming Grove. Todd Richmond, chicagotribune.com, "Wisconsin Supreme Court blocks concrete company from digging up American Indian burial mounds," 22 May 2018 The demonstration culminated with protesters toppling an effigy of Bush, recalling scenes of the fall of Saddam Hussein’s statue in Baghdad six months earlier. Ciara Nugent, Time, "Here's How Every Meeting Between the Queen and a U.S. President Went," 12 July 2018 Meanwhile, in Trafalgar Square, crowds gathered as an effigy of Bush was toppled. Jennifer Hassan, Washington Post, "From effigies to egging: The British have a long history of dissing U.S. presidents," 11 July 2018 Festival-goers build effigies of the demon and destroy them with fire and fireworks. Tracy Maness, Houston Chronicle, "10th Annual Bluebonnet Festival slated for March 24," 19 Mar. 2018 The following month, the betting company Paddy Power erected a gigantic effigy of Prime Minister Theresa May on top of the cliffs, wearing a Union Jack and making a V-sign (an offensive gesture in the United Kingdom) out to the continent. Georgina Voss, The Atlantic, "Brexit Could Cripple Britain’s Ports," 20 June 2018 Americans burn Benedict Arnold in effigy during the Revolutionary War. William Anthony Hay, WSJ, "‘The Tragedy of Benedict Arnold’ and ‘Turncoat’ Review: His Own Worst Enemy," 24 May 2018 The prehistoric effigy mound, said to be the largest remaining one in the world, is between 1,000 and 2,000 years old. Shauna Steigerwald, Cincinnati.com, "Cincinnati tourism: Quick, easy trips from Cincy," 8 May 2018

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

Middle French effigie, from Latin effigies, from effingere to form, from ex- + fingere to shape — more at dough

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Phrases Related to effigy

hang/burn in effigy

Statistics for effigy

Last Updated

16 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for effigy

The first known use of effigy was in 1539

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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

Spanish Central: Translation of effigy

Nglish: Translation of effigy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about effigy

Comments on effigy

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alleviating pain or harshness

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