Meaning of effigy


In modern usage, effigy most often refers to a likeness, such as a dummy, that is hanged, burned, or otherwise abused when protesting the despised person’s actions.

If you’ve encountered the phrase “in effigy,” it’s probably been in a news report about protesters burning a stuffed figure made to look like a loathed corporate leader or head of state. Since the 18th century or longer, effigies have been destroyed in place of individuals who, as far as the angry crowd is concerned, have escaped justice. Effigy can also refer to a sculptural portrait of the deceased reclining upon a burial monument.

Definitions of effigy
  1. noun

    a representation of a person (especially in the form of sculpture)

    “the coin bears an
    effigy of Lincoln”

    image, simulacrum

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    an effigy of Guy Fawkes that is burned on a bonfire on Guy Fawkes Day
    god, graven image, idol

    a material effigy that is worshipped
    bird-scarer, scarecrow, scarer, straw man, strawman

    an effigy in the shape of a man to frighten birds away from seeds
    wax figure, waxwork

    an effigy (usually of a famous person) made of wax
    golden calf

    (Old Testament) an idol made by Aaron for the Israelites to worship; destroyed by Moses; it is now used to refer to anything worshipped undeservedly

    a Chinese god worshipped in the form of an idol

    a crude idol of Krishna
    type of:


    a creation that is a visual or tangible rendering of someone or something

Word Family

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