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 simulacrum (audio)
-ˈlā-
also simulacrums
1
: image, representation
a reasonable simulacrum of realityMartin Mayer
2
: an insubstantial form or semblance of something : trace

Did you know?

There is a similarity between simulacrum and simulate. Both words come from simulare, a Latin verb meaning "to copy, represent, or feign." Simulacrum is the name for an image or representation, and simulate means "to look, feel, or behave like something."

Examples of simulacrum in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This is the mode of cultural consumption where Major League Baseball has, time and again, failed to offer even a simulacra of transparency on a world where everything stands in suspicion. Corbin Smith, Rolling Stone, 31 Mar. 2024 Those of us old enough may remember the Memorex print ad showing a guy in a Le Corbusier chair with his hair blown back by a single L100, implying that Memorex tape created a simulacrum of a real performance. Robert Ross, Robb Report, 20 Mar. 2024 The simulacrum of your own face for video calls is also a bit of an uncanny valley nightmare. Andrew Williams, WIRED, 4 Feb. 2024 Our species draws upon them for pleasure, for edification, for inspiration and motivation, and sometimes for a cheesy simulacrum of such things. Louis Menand, The New Yorker, 15 Jan. 2024 The Golden Crown, which usually caters to tourists visiting biblical sites in the hometown of Jesus, has been converted into a kind of refugee resort, offering a simulacrum of village life. Adam Goldman Avishag Shaar-Yashuv, New York Times, 13 Nov. 2023 But the output is mostly a simulacrum of human thought, not the product of cogitation. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 16 Nov. 2023 Yet Ramaswamy is only interested in the simulacrum of courage. The Editors, National Review, 9 Nov. 2023 When their seven hundred–plus visitors from across the country arrived, they were greeted by a simulacrum of royalty: Bradley in a powdered wig, posing as Louis XV; Cornelia wearing a ruby necklace that had once belonged to Marie Antoinette; the hall refitted to look like a replica of Versailles. Kim Phillips-Fein, The New York Review of Books, 28 Sep. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'simulacrum.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English, "image, representation," borrowed from Latin simulācrum "likeness, visual representation, image, statue, outward appearance of a person or thing (as in the imagination or a dream), phantom, sham appearance," from simulāre "to pretend, produce a fraudulent imitation of, imitate" + -crum, suffix of instruments (dissimilated from *-clum, going back to *-tlom) — more at simulate

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Podcast

Dictionary Entries Near simulacrum

Cite this Entry

“Simulacrum.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/simulacrum. Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!