I am trying to remember the word that describes a person who holds a certain title and appears as the person who is making the decisions but in reality there is someone else who is actually making the decisions and pulling the strings. So this person is essentially just in title and the person behind the scenes is the real person who that title belongs to. The latter could be a person or even a group of people.

So for example a stand in. Not quite an imposter. I thought there was a better word than stand-in or a front, but it is escaping me.

Puppet is what first came to mind but I had thought there was a word that was even more specific.

  • 1
    @fev Oops; cited the wrong question. Thank you. Note that 'figurehead' is probably the best answer. The body question for the corrected question is 'Is there a word for someone who holds a position but [who has] no real power, they just merely have the title but not the power or privileges that [might be expected to] come with it?' Jul 26, 2021 at 11:23
  • puppet is what I thought of first and still like.
    – Jim
    Jul 26, 2021 at 17:20
  • Obviously, this is not the question the link seems to suggest. Jul 28, 2021 at 14:35

3 Answers 3


You might be thinking of proxy


3 : a person authorized to act for another : procurator

Sample sentences

Words in a Sentence

When my husband and I are out of the country, my sister is the proxy who signs legal documents for our children.

John's proxy has been authorized to vote for him during his absence.

During the action sequence, a stand-in will act as a proxy for the A-list actor.

Commonly used in the contexts of proxy war and Munchausen's syndrome by proxy.


A proxy war is an armed conflict between two states or non-state actors which act on the instigation or on behalf of other parties that are not directly involved in the hostilities.


Munchausen syndrome by proxy (MSbP), is a condition in which a caregiver creates the appearance of health problems in another person, typically their child.


You might be thinking of mouthpiece.

Merriam Webster has three definitions of this word, two of which are ordinary nouns referring to physical objects likje the mouthpiece of a wind instrument but the third is metaphorical and reads::

one that expresses or interprets another's views : SPOKESMAN

When used in this sense the term is often derogatory as in "Councillor Smith acts like a big man in planning meetings but he's really the mouthpiece for the local developers."

If your intention is to suggest this sort of relationship, particularly with overtones of deceit and corruption, then mouthpiece could be the very word you want.



one appointed to act in place of another : DEPUTY (M-W)

Collins defines it as:

  1. a deputy or substitute (especially in AmE)

A more technical term is deputy itself. It can mean:

  • a person who is given the power to do something instead of another person, or the person whose rank is immediately below that of the leader of an organization;
  • a person who is given the power to act instead of, or to help do the work of, another person:a person who is given the power to act instead of, or to help do the work of, another person OR
  • a person whose rank is immediately below that of the head of an organization or a department, and who is in charge when the head is not there. (Cambridge)

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