I came across the word meeples in reference to a small figurine used in a board game. Are there other words used for the game pieces that people associate with board games such as Monoply that are figurines representing a person or object.

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    'Pieces' is probably the hyper-hypernym, and 'tokens' is used for Monopoly pieces. I was going to close-vote on 'not in the lexicon' grounds, but 'meeple' has apparently been accepted. Apr 29, 2017 at 10:41
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    I believe 'meeple' refers specifically to a representation of a person: 'token' might be used on the Economic Activity Track, where it would not strictly represent any thing but mark a level of resources; are you asking specifically about "representing a person or object"? Apr 29, 2017 at 11:05
  • @TimLymington I was asking about a person, but thought I might clarify the difference if there is one. Apr 30, 2017 at 8:04

3 Answers 3


In addition to piece, the word token is commonly used.


If they are particularly detailed, these figurines are called miniatures or miniature figures. From Wikipedia:

A miniature figure (also known as a miniature, mini, figure, mini-fig or fig) is a small-scale representation of a historical or mythological entity used in miniature wargames, role-playing games, and dioramas. Miniature figures are commonly made of metal, plastic, or paper.

Although the Wikipedia definition connects these to particular game genres, in my experience it is applied to any model that is detailed enough. Note that this is not another term for the things called meeples, which are less detailed and more stylized than miniatures. In fact, meeples are often contrasted with miniatures, as in the board gaming podcast Meeples & Miniatures or this Kickstarter campaign promising to make "Roleplaying Game Meeples as a Miniature Alternative".

I probably would call Monopoly figurines miniatures, although they are in a bit of a gray area as they are not-to-scale relative to one another. A Google image search of "Monopoly miniatures" (excluding dollhouse terms, as miniature Monopoly boards are apparently a popular dollhouse entertainment) suggests that others do use this term for Monopoly's iconic race car et al.—and also that much of the appeal of various Monopoly special editions is in their various miniatures sets.

For comparison purposes:

Original meeples, from the board game Carcassonne
Close-up picture of wooden "meeples" from boardgame Carcassonne
Photo by Júlio Reis (User:Tintazul) (Original File) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

Miniature figures (in a Star Wars theme)
Close-up picture of painted plastic "miniatures" on a scorecard backdrop


piece noun

12. Chess, Checkers.
one of the figures, disks, blocks, or the like, of wood, ivory, or other material, used in playing, as on a board or table.


You would call them pieces. This is what you would call the things you play with in chess (knight, king, queen, etc.) and Monopoly (the car, the boot, etc.)

  • Please don't use the greengrocer's apostrophe ;)
    – Dog Lover
    Apr 30, 2017 at 23:03
  • There was always a scramble in my house over who was going to be the 'boot' when we played Monopoly. Some might say that I should be given the 'Order of the Boot' whenever I show my face. Ah, well... May 1, 2017 at 4:07

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