Weekly Word: Simulacrum

A simulacrum is “a slight, unreal, or superficial likeness or semblance”, or “an effigy, image, or representation”. Wikipedia’s Simulacrum entry explains it in terms of philosophy, film, and even caricatures. Here’s the blurb on the word’s history:

"...first recorded in the English language in the late 16th century, used to describe a representation of another thing, such as a statue or a painting, especially of a god; by the late 19th century, it had gathered a secondary association of inferiority: an image without the substance or qualities of the original"

Maybe the contradictory meanings of simulacrum reflect conflicting feelings about making representations of gods and other things; some people liked the idea, while others criticized it because a representation can never perfectly reflect reality. You could get lost in some serious philosophical ramblings on that topic!