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Sep 16, 2008
This week's theme
Words with nautical origins

This week's words
mainstay
figurehead

Today's word in
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Figurehead
figurehead
Photo: BoatNerd.Com

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with Anu Garg

figurehead

PRONUNCIATION:
(FIG-yuhr-hed, FIG-uhr-hed)

MEANING:
noun: A person who is head of a group in name only, having no authority or responsibility.

ETYMOLOGY:
The term is derived from the figurative use of the term figurehead which is an ornamental carving, usually of a human figure, on the bow of a ship. From Latin figure (form, shape) + Old English heafod (top of the body).

USAGE:
"Recent years have seen rectors elected who take a more active role, rather than simply being a figurehead."
Fiona Macleod; Call for 'Student Champion' Rectors to Be Part of All Scots Universities; The Scotsman (Edinburgh, Scotland); Sep 8, 2008.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
The soul is healed by being with children. -Fyodor Dostoyevsky, novelist (1821-1881)

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