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fig leaf

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noun
  1. the leaf of a fig tree.
  2. a representation of a fig leaf, used as an ornament in architecture, as a cover for the genitalia on a statue or in a painting, etc.
  3. something intended to conceal what may be considered indecorous or indecent: to approach the facts of life with the fig leaves of roundabout expressions.

Origin of fig leaf

First recorded in 1525–35
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for fig leaf

Historical Examples

  • A woman, with only a fig-leaf for dress, has a double tail instead of legs.

    The Cathedral Builders

    Leader Scott

  • It was also in the Spring that Eve wearied of her fig-leaf toque.

  • Yes, let her bring him to us at once, like a savage, without any fig-leaf.

  • That falsehood has not even a fig-leaf to cover its absurdity.

  • And so for a while she made pride serve as fig-leaf to her nakedness.


British Dictionary definitions for fig leaf

fig leaf

noun
  1. a leaf from a fig tree
  2. a representation of a leaf, usually a vine leaf rather than an actual fig leaf, used in painting or sculpture to cover the genitals of nude figures
  3. a device intended to conceal something regarded as shameful or indecent
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012