The figures on the prow of a ship are called figureheads, and this word is used to describe a person who appears to be in charge but actually has very little power or authority. The head of a company is often seen as a figurehead, although the actual decision-making is done by the board of directors. A figurehead is also a person who is a leader in a social group or organization, such as the head of a church or the president of a club.
The terms token and figurehead are sometimes used interchangeably, but there are some important distinctions between the two. A token is a physical object that represents something else, and it can be used as an indication of a person’s status in the community. A figurehead, on the other hand, is a person who has an important position but does not have much real power or influence.
The word figurehead comes from the carved figures that were placed at the prow of ships. It is now a term that describes someone who appears to be in charge but does not actually have any power or authority. For example, the head of a company is often seen as being a figurehead, even though the actual decision-making is done by the executive committee. A king or queen is often considered to be a figurehead, as their actual powers are usually limited. A politician may be a figurehead, as they do not have the power to make or enforce laws on their own.