Definition of mannequin in US English:



  • 1A dummy used to display clothes in a store window.

    • ‘Once I was able to sift through, I found I was surrounded by mannequins displaying the newest Berliner collection.’
    • ‘And it's not displayed on mannequins - it's on live models.’
    • ‘Clothes were mounted on racks on either side and mannequins stood on pedestals all around, displaying various wares.’
    • ‘There are female mannequins, mannequin heads, male mannequins, torsos and separate mannequin parts.’
    • ‘On display are also mannequins decked in exquisitely designed saris and sparkling jewellery that she had hand picked for her students.’
    • ‘Wedding Night depicts an old-fashioned corner bridal shop, display windows lit; the mannequins are faceless, heads turned or occluded by the awning.’
    • ‘He's wrestling with a dismembered mannequin in the window and Sobieski hands him the mannequin's arm, saying, ‘Need a hand?’’
    • ‘Signs announcing ‘Special Sales’ were gone from shop windows - and there were two more mannequins than the day before.’
    • ‘Never mind the clothes - you need only look at the mannequins in shop windows to feel obese.’
    • ‘Other electronic peripherals, perfumes and lotions, and outdoor products were kept upstairs, as well as the mannequins and the display signs.’
    • ‘What is striking in these Renaissance representations, and in the mannequins displayed outside, is the Venetian aristocracy's preference for dressing their African servants in lavish courtly attire.’
    • ‘Other mannequins display sportswear ideal for games and athletics, as well as for long treks in hilly areas.’
    • ‘Two mannequins lie naked in the spare bedroom staring up at the ceiling.’
    • ‘They even drew lines on her wrists to make her look like a mannequin!’
    • ‘Gerri pointed out a nice-looking book bag on the display window hanging from the shoulder of a mannequin.’
    • ‘Display cases and mannequins are being constructed for permanent display of the outfits in the communities.’
    • ‘Why don't the mannequins in the shop windows come in sizes larger than an 8?’
    • ‘I shiver as I pass the clothes boutiques, where assorted mannequins stare out like different species of plastic aliens.’
    • ‘Shoppers yesterday said they were surprised anyone would be offended by the window display of lingerie-clad mannequins.’
    dummy, model, figure
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    1. 1.1dated A person employed by a designer or store to model clothes.
      • ‘She is what is known in the fashion industry as a fit model or live mannequin.’
      • ‘The mannequins stood in various poses, showing off the latest designs of the fashion world.’
      • ‘There was moving art in the form of mannequins modeling Megan Waterman's fashion creations.’
      • ‘If actresses became mannequins, mannequins also became actresses who played new roles with each dress they modeled.’
      • ‘Driven by the powerful grey consumer, modelling agencies with elderly mannequins are proliferating, and supermodels are making way for silver-haired ones as the advertising industry becomes attuned to the aging reality.’
      model, fashion model, supermodel
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In English usage, the word mannequin occurs much more frequently than any of its relatives manakin, manikin, and mannikin. The source for all four words is the Middle Dutch mannekijn (modern Dutch manneken) ‘little man,’ ‘little doll.’ Mannequin is the French spelling from this Dutch source. One of its French meanings, dating from about 1830, is ‘a young woman hired to model clothes’ (even though the word means ‘little man’). This sense—still current, but rare in English—first appeared in 1902. The far more common sense of ‘a life-size jointed figure or dummy used for displaying clothes’ is first recorded in 1939. Manikin has had the sense ‘little man’ (often contemptuous) since the mid 16th century, when it was sometimes spelled manakin (as it appeared in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, as a term of abuse). Manikin's sense of ‘an artist's lay figure’ also dates from the mid 16th century (first recorded with the Dutch spelling manneken).To confuse matters further, in modern usage, the words manakin and mannikin refer to birds of two unrelated families. The history of these bird names is somewhat obscure. Manakin may have come from the Portuguese manaquim ‘mannikin,’ a variant of manequim ‘mannequin.’ Mannikin may have come directly from the source of the Portuguese words, the Middle Dutch mannekijn


Mid 18th century: from French (see manikin).