in effigy

Idioms & Phrases

in effigy

Symbolically. For example, That umpire was completely unfairlet'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]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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