(The name of) the person traditionally held to be represented by a statue in Rome on which satirical verses were annually posted in response to those posted on the statue of Pasquin; the statue itself. Hence allusively: a participant in some dialogue or controversy.
Frequently adopted as a pseudonym by writers of polemics.
Late 16th century; earliest use found in George Puttenham (1529–?1591), writer and literary critic. From the Italian name Marforio applied to a statue in Rome.