Look-alike – Word of the week

Definition: Look-alike

Noun: a person or object that looks like or closely resembles another.

In popular Western culture, a look-alike is a person who bears a close physical resemblance to a celebrity, politician or member of royalty.

Pronunciation: look-uh-lahyk

Example: Steven Spielberg refused to use look-alikes instead of the original actors in a "Back to the Future" sequel.

The word itself has several different variations that mean the same: doppelganger, impersonator, body double.

Furthermore, there are actually words that can be originated from the word look-alike. A good example is "think-alike" (someone whose opinion is very similar to that of another one) or another variation is "doppelginger" (an exact look-alike of someone, but in ginger form).

The obsession with look-alikes is fairly a new phenomenon in today’s culture. With the spread of telecommunication and the internet, people are trying to compare people with one another. There are some extreme examples like agencies that provide celebrity look-alikes for parties or other events.

Numerous competitions are hosted all over the world every year for famous people or celebrity look-alikes.

Fun fact: During the 1920s, Charlie Chaplin once went to a Charlie Chaplin-look-alike competition and didn't even make it to the finals.

Wilde_Grant look-alike - Kaplan blog
Look-alikes from the past - Oscar Wilde and Hugh Grant

In politics, leaders and high-ranking political figures actually use look-alikes on purpose, usually to confuse their enemies. Some interesting examples:

  • In 1944, shortly before D-Day, M.E. Clifton James, who bore a close resemblance to Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, was sent to Gibraltar and North Africa, in order to deceive the Germans about the location of the upcoming invasion.
  • Saddam Hussein allegedly employed several look-alikes for political purposes during his Iraq reign.
  • A notable conspiracy theory holds that Paul McCartney died in 1966 and was replaced by a Canadian policeman named William Shears Campbell.

Have you met anyone who looks exactly like you? Do you have a look-alike? Let us know in the comments!

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