There is a phrase for a group of people who don't hold any actual power but are put together, like in a committee, to seem powerful. But they are only a symbol... A something something. Two words. Can't for the life of me remember it.


2 Answers 2


Figurehead is the term you are looking for.

From M-W, the second definition of figurehead:

2 : a leader in name only : a head or chief (as of a country or organization) with little or no authoritative power

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    Commented Nov 27, 2023 at 22:42
  • A "figurehead" seems to be one person, not a group.
    – GEdgar
    Commented Nov 28, 2023 at 2:24

A blue ribbon commission is a group of people appointed by elected officials to study a problem but with no ability to actually implement any changes. At the end of months of deliberation they write a report which is (usually) ignored.

Often times it's a way for the Government to act like it is addressing the problem without actually pushing forward any policy changes that could be controversial.

On a larger scale you could refer to a "Puppet Government" which has power in name only, but is actually controlled by another state.

[both links are to Wikipedia]

  • Hello, Benjamin. I've edited your answer to add attributions; ELU requires them for direct quotes, but so do the people monitoring copyright. Here, it's probably just to inform the reader where it is you're linking to. Commented Jun 11, 2019 at 18:59
  • I'm a little confused. My answer contains no direct quotes or copyrighted material. As to where the links go, can't any user just hover the mouse over the link to reveal it's target? Commented Jun 11, 2019 at 19:10
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    .... Not on ELU. Commented Jun 11, 2019 at 19:13

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