figurehead

A figurehead is someone who appears to be in charge, but who really holds very little influence. In many countries today, kings and queens are merely figureheads.

A ceremonial president or king — one installed as a symbolic head of a country, while someone else holds the real power — is one type of figurehead. If a retiring businesswoman promotes her son to be the new CEO of her company, while putting a different person in charge of running the business, the son is just a figurehead. The word figurehead comes from its original meaning, the figures carved at the front of old sailing ships.

Primary Meanings of figurehead

1.
n
a person used as a cover for some questionable activity
2.
n
figure on the bow of some sailing vessels
Full Definitions of figurehead
1

n a person used as a cover for some questionable activity

Synonyms:
front, front man, nominal head, straw man, strawman
Type of:
beguiler, cheat, cheater, deceiver, slicker, trickster
someone who leads you to believe something that is not true
2

n figure on the bow of some sailing vessels

Type of:
figure
a model of a bodily form (especially of a person)

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