in effigy


Symbolically. For example, That umpire was completely unfair—let's burn him in effigy. Now used only figuratively, this term formerly signified a way of carrying out the sentence of a criminal who had escaped, such as burn in effigy or hang in effigy. A dummy was made of the criminal or a detested political figure and subjected to the prescribed punishment. [c. 1600]

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.