'Poster child' Meaning and Examples

A poster child is a representative example of a situation, quality, or activity. It can be: a person, a group of people or things, an organization, an object, a concept, an idea, a theory, etc.

A poster child is a representative example of a situation, quality, or activity in English. It can be:

  • a person (a child, an adult or an older person),
  • a group of people or things,
  • an organization,
  • an object,
  • a concept,
  • an idea,
  • a theory,
  • etc.

For example, you can say:

  • Bitcoin is the poster child for risk appetite and speculative fever in financial markets.
  • My brother has a personal trainer and goes to the gym every day. He is the poster child of the new fitness culture.

1. Variants

"Poster boy" and "poster girl" are common idiomatic variants whose meaning is the same as the original term (poster child); that is, the perfect example of a specific concept, quality, or situation.

For example, we can say:

  • He is an excellent mathematician and a poster boy for statistical analysis.
  • Mary has had many episodes of bad relationships. I think that she is a poster girl for failed relationships.

2. Examples

  • A friend of mine earned a billion dollars in only five years. He is a poster child for American billionaires who get rich quick.
  • Brazil has won five world cups so far. It is considered the poster child for the best soccer teams in the world.
  • My daughter is pretty, smart, hard-working, and wealthy. She can be described as the poster child for success.
  • My brother built his own computer from components he ordered on-line. He also repairs its own appliances. There is no doubt that he is a do-it-yourself poster child!
  • After many successful movies, the popular actor has become the poster child for action and adventure films.
  • She can be described as a poster girl for strength and resistance in Africa.
  • Sometimes, my mother spends twenty minutes writing and re-writing a three-sentence email. She is a poster child for extreme perfectionism.
  • This organization fights to reduce plastic pollution. It can be described as the poster child of the anti-plastic movement.
  • Costa Rica has become a poster child for responsible travel to natural spaces. It has the largest percentage of protected areas in the world.
  • She is a wealthy entrepreneur and a poster child for free enterprise.

3. Origin

Literally speaking, a poster child is simply a child who is pictured in an advertising poster. Originally, a poster child was a kid appearing on a poster to raise money for a charitable organization.

Typically, those organizations were committed to help children with some disability or other condition as well as improve their lives through better education and economic opportunities.

Over time, the expression has evolved into a more general term to describe an archetype, a symbol, or a perfect example of:

  • a group,
  • an ideology,
  • a set of values,
  • a cause,
  • a trend,
  • a quality,
  • etc.

4. Synonyms

Other ways to say poster child in English are:

  • typical example
  • perfect example
  • representative example
  • symbol
  • archetype
  • epitome
  • embodiment

For example, if my sister plays sports, follows a healthy diet, and practice yoga, we can say:

  • My sister is the epitome of healthy lifestyle and successful aging.
  • My sister is the poster child of healthy lifestyle and successful aging.

5. Situations in which you can use 'Poster child'

The term poster child, as well as its variations (poster boy and poster girl), can be used in a wide range of situations. For example, you can come across this idiom while reading news headlines, watching TV series, listening to interviews, or just talking with your neighbor.

Poster child is also commonly used in a broad range of fields, including sports, politics, education, health care, economics, science, tourism, etc.

Share this article: Link copied to clipboard!

You might also like...

'The Ins and Outs' Meaning and Examples

'Poster child' Meaning and Examples

'Pushing on a string' Meaning and Examples