Definition of simulacrum in US English:



  • 1An image or representation of someone or something.

    ‘a small-scale simulacrum of a skyscraper’
    • ‘With surgery, he makes clear, one becomes merely a simulacrum or copy; true identity is masked with the inevitable result that one is, ultimately, inauthentic.’
    • ‘Painted kite tails, assemblages, photo and film documentation, and an electronic simulacrum of kite-flying were recently on view in a New York gallery’
    • ‘Anything for a ‘feel good’ image, for a simulacrum, in these postmodern times’
    • ‘Despite the obvious codes of virtuality at play, of simulation and simulacra, the image works.’
    • ‘A buffalo skull tucked in the corner compresses the painting's message into a single object, a simulacrum for the Old West.’
    likeness, painting, drawing, picture, portrait, illustration, sketch, diagram, artist's impression
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 An unsatisfactory imitation or substitute.
      ‘a bland simulacrum of American soul music’
      • ‘How it must wound the director to hear these words in Hollywood, on a mere back-lot simulacrum of New York - and from his own ex-wife!’
      • ‘They are mere simulacra, which replace real things and their actual relationships (only truly known to those on the left, who see through such illusions) in a process which Baudrillard calls hyperrealization.’
      • ‘They are pop cultural simulacra, mere shadows of Cagney's tragic anti-hero and Marlon Brando's brooding Don.’
      • ‘Whereas representation attempts to absorb simulation by interpreting it as false representation, simulation envelops the whole edifice of representation itself as a simulacrum.’
      • ‘Unlike France, the United States has never had a publicly defined national curriculum - although we seem to have allowed private enterprise to define a thoroughly unsatisfactory simulacrum of one.’
      • ‘Heavily shaped by the generation of the 1960s, most of us may become mere simulacrums of our mentors.’
      • ‘But then along comes a texture, timbre or pattern that is simply too frog-like or insect-like to be dismissed as a mere electronic simulacrum.’


Late 16th century: from Latin, from simulare (see simulate).