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From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
Related topics: Officials, Water
figureheadfig‧ure‧head /ˈfɪɡəhed $ ˈfɪɡjər-/ noun [countable]  1 PGOsomeone who seems to be the leader of a country or organization but who has no real powerpuppet The Queen is merely a figurehead.see thesaurus at leader2 TTWa wooden model of a woman that used to be placed on the front of ships
Examples from the Corpus
figureheadSwitzer is regarded as a figurehead who basically just stays out of the way.More than 10 years on, Mr Thomson has once again assumed a figurehead role over Mrs Maginnis.But despite the president s show of contrition, few analysts believe Mr Wahid is willing to become a figurehead just yet.The president is essentially a figurehead: the real power lies with the prime minister.Norway's King Harald V is a figurehead.The manager is merely a figurehead.The Emperor was transformed from a divine figure into a constitutional figurehead.He was never more than a mere figurehead in the negotiations.Scarcely surprisingly, he became one of the figureheads of the revolution of 1820.The figurehead President, Joseph Nerette, resigned and the post was left vacant.There had only been six, then; the five old Encyclopedistsall dead now-and himself, the young figurehead of a mayor.
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