What's the word for this...?

What is the word for when someone is the symbolic spirit of an inanimate entity or group? It is not “embodiment” nor “personification” nor “anthropromorphism” nor “epitome” nor quintessential". On a smaller scale, you might say “so and so is the poster child for such and such”, but there is one word (in American English) to say someone is this.

Any guesses? I’m sure we’re bound to hut upon it. Dang, it’s on the tip of my tongue! :smack:

The words you used sound fine. I would make a more complex reference, like ‘You are the DNA based version of a garbage disposal’ if those words hadn’t sufficed. But don’t go by me, I’ll say anything.

Archetype? Iconic?



flag bearer?

Incarnation, objectification, manifestation?

(Thesauri are fun.)


2nd definition

apo·the·o·ses-ˌsēz*Definition of APOTHEOSIS*

: elevation to divine status : deification

: the perfect example : quintessence <this is the literary apotheosis of the shaggy dog story — Thomas Sutcliffe>

apo·the·o·size\ˌa-pə-ˈthē-ə-ˌsīz, ə-ˈpä-thē-ə-\ transitive verb

Perhaps “avatar”?


I came to say incarnation, but I like apotheosis better.

Do you have any specific examples of what you’re talking about?