simulacrum

noun
sim·u·la·crum | \ ˌsim-yə-ˈla-krəm , -ˈlā- \
plural simulacra\ˌsim-yə-ˈla-krə, -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

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 For nearly two decades, John Cena, a performer whose primary medium involves finding creative ways to lift and drop other large men as a simulacrum for hand-to-hand combat, was seemingly on a one-man mission to keep the jean-shorts industry afloat. Chris Gayomali, GQ, "Suiting Up with John Cena," 12 June 2018 Audiences have gotten familiar with this kind of cautionary yarn, where technology offers a lonely simulacrum of human contact. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "NBC’s new VR thriller Reverie is a schmaltzy take on techno-dystopia," 30 May 2018 Third places are a vital part of cities and cities of all sizes need more of them—and more that aren’t a simulacrum. Diana Budds, Curbed, "It’s time to take back third places," 31 May 2018 His silence challenges us to accept our own emotional complexity in ways that the whirring, buzzing, flashing simulacrum of global culture specifically discourages. Heather Havrilesky, The Cut, "Why Did We Ever Leave Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood?," 31 May 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

16 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for simulacrum

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

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