- the leaf of a fig tree.
- 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.
- 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
A woman, with only a fig-leaf for dress, has a double tail instead of legs.The Cathedral Builders
It was also in the Spring that Eve wearied of her fig-leaf toque.The Foolish Almanak
Yes, let her bring him to us at once, like a savage, without any fig-leaf.The Bashful Lover (Novels of Paul de Kock Volume XIX)
Charles Paul de Kock
That falsehood has not even a fig-leaf to cover its absurdity.The Works of Robert G. Ingersoll, Vol. 10 (of 12)
Robert G. Ingersoll
And so for a while she made pride serve as fig-leaf to her nakedness.The Pace That Kills
- a leaf from a fig tree
- 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
- 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