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 Protesters then set several fires, one on an effigy of a police officer wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood and another in a dumpster moved into the intersection. oregonlive, "Federal officers seize protesters tagging federal buildings, triggering otherwise calm crowd," 11 July 2020 After the declaration was read in Savannah, Georgia, on August 10, the rebels held a mock funeral and buried an effigy of George III. Andrew Lawler, National Geographic, "Pulling down statues? It’s a tradition that dates back to U.S. independence," 1 July 2020 Saturday’s incident comes just over a week after several nooses and an effigy in the shape of a human body were found hanging on trees around Lake Merritt. Lauren Hernández, SFChronicle.com, "Oakland LGBTQ center windows shattered on Pride weekend," 27 June 2020 If ever there were an effigy of unpreparedness and poor decision making in the Alaska wilderness, that bus was it. Tyler Freel, Outdoor Life, "Long Before the ‘Into the Wild’ Bus Was a Deadly Tourist Trap, It Was a Hunting Camp," 25 June 2020 This incident comes after city officials in Oakland, California, launched two hate crime investigations in two consecutive days after finding a human effigy hanging from a tree near a city park where ropes were also found hanging from trees. Jessica Flores, USA TODAY, "New Mexico restaurant vandalized with racist slurs and white supremacist messages," 25 June 2020 The resident removed the effigy from the tree and called police, the release said. Amanda Jackson, CNN, "Effigy found in Oakland a day after mayor announced hate crime investigation on nooses," 18 June 2020 The head of a George Washington statue in Portland, Oregon was draped in the American flag, lit on fire, and then the entire bronze effigy was toppled by a group of demonstrators in an overnight protest Thursday. Fox News, "George Washington statue knocked over in Portland, draped in US flag," 19 June 2020 The effigy was found hanging in a tree near Lake Merritt on Thursday morning by a resident, according to a press release from the Oakland Police Department. Amanda Jackson, CNN, "Effigy found in Oakland a day after mayor announced hate crime investigation on nooses," 18 June 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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Time Traveler for effigy

Time Traveler

The first known use of effigy was in 1539

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Last Updated

17 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Effigy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/effigy. Accessed 10 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for effigy


How to pronounce effigy (audio)

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

Spanish Central: Translation of effigy

Nglish: Translation of effigy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about effigy

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