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

Topping the list is the grandfatherly effigy of the influential British philosopher and reformer Jeremy Bentham — incorporating his skeleton. Roberta Smith, New York Times, "Real, or Too Real? A Dazzling Show Goes the Way of All Flesh," 22 Mar. 2018 Or what about Kim taking an evening stroll through affluent southern Seoul, stopping by the soaring Lotte World Tower to soak in the majestic skyline above the broad Han River — not too far from where protesters regularly burn effigies of him? Kim Tong-hyung, Fox News, "A Kim Jong Un visit to Seoul? It would be surreal challenge," 20 Sep. 2018 In one camp, organizers placed four life-sized effigies of Israeli soldiers in a cage facing the border. Fox News, "The Latest: Gaza ministry: Young protesters shot in the head," 20 Apr. 2018 On the gathering's penultimate day, the giant effigy — or Man as it is known — is set ablaze during a raucous, joyful celebration. John Rogers And Janie Har, chicagotribune.com, "Burning Man festival co-founder Larry Harvey dies at 70," 28 Apr. 2018 The festival takes its name from the traditional construction and burning of a wooden effigy, called The Man, at the event. Don Sweeney, sacbee, "Burning Man co-founder Larry Harvey in critical condition after ‘massive’ stroke," 10 Apr. 2018 Protesters attacked onlookers, threatened the town's sheriff and hanged three black effigies, presumably representing the three black students who were denied enrollment. Fernando Ramirez, Houston Chronicle, "Historic photos show segregated life in Jim Crow Texas," 16 May 2018 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

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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Statistics for effigy

Last Updated

9 Dec 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

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having a pattern of small flowers

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