simulacrum

noun
sim·​u·​la·​crum | \ ˌsim-yə-ˈla-krəm How to pronounce simulacrum (audio) , -ˈlā-\
plural simulacra\ ˌsim-​yə-​ˈla-​krə How to pronounce simulacra (audio) , -​ˈlā-​ \ also simulacrums

Definition of simulacrum

1 : image, representation a reasonable simulacrum of reality— Martin Mayer
2 : an insubstantial form or semblance of something : trace

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Did You Know?

It's not a figment of your imagination; there is a similarity between simulacrum and simulate. Both of those English words derive from simulare, a Latin verb meaning "to copy, represent, or feign." In its earliest English uses, simulacrum named something that provided an image or representation (as, for instance, a portrait, marble statue, or wax figure representing a person). Perhaps because a simulacrum, no matter how skillfully done, is not the real thing, the word gained an extended sense emphasizing the superficiality or insubstantiality of a thing.

Examples of simulacrum in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

What’s left is a simulacrum of closeness and care that takes place in the digital space. Annie Vainshtein, SFChronicle.com, "Everything you ever wanted to know about ASMR," 27 June 2019 Like the Masonic memorial, The View also caters to people who prefer simulacrums of experiences to the real thing. Washington Post, "The 7 most spectacular views in D.C., ranked," 13 June 2019 Sometimes, though, a simulacrum of love just has to do. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, "When Designers Play Cupid: 18 of Our Favorite “Couple” Moments on the Runway," 14 Feb. 2019 That may remain the case until a simulacrum of space is indistinguishable from our own. Edward Rothstein, WSJ, "‘3D: Double Vision’ Review: A Multidimensional Show Feels Flat," 24 July 2018 In sharing Drake’s astrological positioning, Nicholas was quick to point out that his natal chart is a particularly powerful simulacrum. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "Drake’s Scorpion, as Explained by an Astrologer and an Entomologist," 3 July 2018 Unfortunately, in both instances use of the simulacrum fries your brain in ways that prevent you from ever experiencing the real version again. Antonio García Martínez, WIRED, "How Facebook Binds, and Shatters, Communities," 11 May 2018 Those jobs seem almost mythical today, so the best Jordan’s character gets is a nonsensical, performative simulacrum of one. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "HBO’s Fahrenheit 451 turns a warning about media into a tirade against tech trends," 19 May 2018 In so many ways, the story of Keith Raniere is a fitting simulacrum for our post-truth world. Amelia Harnish, refinery29.com, ""At This Point We Are In Despair": One Woman's Quest To Bring Her Brother Home From NXIVM," 29 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'simulacrum.' 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 simulacrum

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for simulacrum

Middle English, from Latin, from simulare

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Last Updated

8 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for simulacrum

The first known use of simulacrum was in the 15th century

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