Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Facsimile

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The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is facsimile. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

facsimile is an exact copy of something. The word is also used to refer to a system of transmitting and reproducing graphic matter, such as printed text or photos.

// The forged painting was an impressive facsimile of the original.

FACSIMILE in Context

“Walls are now decorated with posters and murals of facsimiles of old newspapers that tell the tales of the team’s big moments.” — Carlos Monarrez, The Detroit Free Press, 29 July 2022

Did You Know?

The facsimile machine (or fax machine) has long been an office staple, but its name is much, much older. Fac simile is a Latin phrase meaning “make alike.” English speakers began using facsimile to mean “an exact copy” in the late 1600s. In this sense, a facsimile might be a handwritten or hand-drawn copy, or even a copy of a painting or statue. (Today, we also use the phrase “a reasonable facsimile” for a copy that is fairly close but not exact.) In the 1800s, people developed facsimile technology that could reproduce printed material via telegraph. Now, of course, we use telephone lines or wireless technology, and we usually call the resulting facsimile a fax.

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