Wordsmith.org: the magic of words


A.Word.A.Day

About | Media | Search | Contact  


Home

Today's Word

Yesterday's Word

Archives

FAQ


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

This week's words
mainstay
figurehead
steerage
limpet
keelhaul

Figurehead
figurehead
Photo: BoatNerd.Com

Discuss
Feedback
RSS/XML
A.Word.A.Day
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.

See more usage examples of figurehead in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

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

We need your help

Help us continue to spread the magic of words to readers everywhere

Donate

Subscriber Services
Awards | Stats | Links | Privacy Policy
Contribute | Advertise

© 1994-2018 Wordsmith