Word of the Day



a wax model of a person or animal, usually made to their actual size

Origin and usage

Wax effigies of people have been made since the Middle Ages, but the word waxwork was not popularized until 1711. In that year, an exhibition named the ‘Moving Wax Works of the Royal Court of England’ was opened in London’s Fleet Street.


Waxwork is a noun that refers to a sculpture of a person made from wax, usually a famous or popular individual. These effigies are dressed to look like the person they represent and are then displayed in a waxwork museum for the public to see. The best waxwork models are extremely lifelike and are popular because they give fans the chance to get close to a replica of their idol.

In May 2018, the London wax museum Madame Tussauds announced that it had finished a waxwork of the American-born former actress, Meghan Markle, who was soon to marry Prince Harry. Her figure was placed alongside that of her groom in the same area as many other members of the Royal Family. Her waxwork model wears a green dress and beige heels, along with a replica engagement ring. The exhibit opened on the day of her wedding to Prince Harry, 19 May 2018.


“If you think we’re waxworks,” he said, “you ought to pay, you know. Waxworks weren’t made to be looked at for nothing. No how!” “Contrariwise,” added the one marked ‘DEE’, “if you think we’re alive, you ought to speak.”

(Lewis Carroll)


figurine, model, effigy

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

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Macmillan Dictionary

Macmillan Dictionary

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