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1530s, "image of a person," from Middle French effigie (13c.), from Latin effigies "copy or imitation of something, likeness," from or related to effingere "mold, fashion, portray," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + fingere "to form, shape" (see fiction). The Latin word was regarded as plural and the -s was lopped off by 18c. Specifically associated with burning, hanging, etc., at least since 1670s.