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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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 People burn papers that represent negativity in their lives along with the effigy called Zozobra, so Katie and Blake have to write down their own issues to burn in the flames. Ariana Romero, refinery29.com, 10 Aug. 2021 The massive metal effigy dedicated to the farm animal was missing when Rich Kelley and his son, Gavin, came back from Memorial Day weekend. Sam Fogel, Detroit Free Press, 13 June 2021 Workers at Paris’ National Museum of Arts and Crafts (CNAM), where the effigy has stood since 2011, hoisted the bronze statue onto a truck during a June 7 ceremony, write Xiaofei Xu and Lorraine Poupon for CNN. Isis Davis-marks, Smithsonian Magazine, 11 June 2021 Some of the effigy’s most prominent motifs—like broken chains and shackles—reference the abolition of slavery, not the arrival of immigrants as widely believed, according to the Washington Post’s Gillian Brockell. Isis Davis-marks, Smithsonian Magazine, 11 June 2021 His effigy of Queen Elizabeth II already appears on British coins. NBC News, 1 July 2021 Statue sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley -- whose effigy of the Queen appears on UK coins -- and garden designer Pip Morrison will be among the guests as well as members of the statue committee. Max Foster, CNN, 1 July 2021 The limited edition, 5-pound coin — which will not enter the general circulation — was released over the weekend and features an effigy by Rank-Broadley which Philip approved in 2008, the Associated Press reported. Janine Puhak, PEOPLE.com, 1 July 2021 Armed protesters gathered near the governor's home last year and then hanged Beshear in effigy in a tree near the state Capitol. Bruce Schreiner, Star Tribune, 11 June 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near effigy



effigy mound

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Last Updated

16 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Effigy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/effigy. Accessed 26 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for effigy



English Language Learners Definition of effigy

: an image of a person

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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