What does Figure mean?

Definitions for Figure
ˈfɪg yər; esp. Brit. ˈfɪg ərfig·ure

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word Figure.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. figure, fignoun

    a diagram or picture illustrating textual material

    "the area covered can be seen from Figure 2"

  2. human body, physical body, material body, soma, build, figure, physique, anatomy, shape, bod, chassis, frame, form, fleshnoun

    alternative names for the body of a human being

    "Leonardo studied the human body"; "he has a strong physique"; "the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak"

  3. digit, figurenoun

    one of the elements that collectively form a system of numeration

    "0 and 1 are digits"

  4. figurenoun

    a model of a bodily form (especially of a person)

    "he made a figure of Santa Claus"

  5. name, figure, public figurenoun

    a well-known or notable person

    "they studied all the great names in the history of France"; "she is an important figure in modern music"

  6. figurenoun

    a combination of points and lines and planes that form a visible palpable shape

  7. figurenoun

    an amount of money expressed numerically

    "a figure of $17 was suggested"

  8. figurenoun

    the impression produced by a person

    "he cut a fine figure"; "a heroic figure"

  9. number, figurenoun

    the property possessed by a sum or total or indefinite quantity of units or individuals

    "he had a number of chores to do"; "the number of parameters is small"; "the figure was about a thousand"

  10. trope, figure of speech, figure, imagenoun

    language used in a figurative or nonliteral sense

  11. figurenoun

    a unitary percept having structure and coherence that is the object of attention and that stands out against a ground

  12. design, pattern, figurenoun

    a decorative or artistic work

    "the coach had a design on the doors"

  13. figureverb

    a predetermined set of movements in dancing or skating

    "she made the best score on compulsory figures"

  14. calculate, estimate, reckon, count on, figure, forecastverb

    judge to be probable

  15. figure, enterverb

    be or play a part of or in

    "Elections figure prominently in every government program"; "How do the elections figure in the current pattern of internal politics?"

  16. visualize, visualise, envision, project, fancy, see, figure, picture, imageverb

    imagine; conceive of; see in one's mind

    "I can't see him on horseback!"; "I can see what will happen"; "I can see a risk in this strategy"

  17. calculate, cipher, cypher, compute, work out, reckon, figureverb

    make a mathematical calculation or computation

  18. figureverb


    "He didn't figure her"


  1. figurenoun

    A drawing or representation conveying information.

  2. figurenoun

    A person or thing representing a certain consciousness.

  3. figurenoun

    A human figure, which dress or corset must fit to; the shape of human body.

  4. figurenoun

    A numeral.

  5. figurenoun

    A number.

  6. figurenoun

    A shape.

  7. figurenoun

    A visible pattern as in wood or cloth.

  8. figurenoun

    A dance figure.

  9. figurenoun

    A figure of speech.

  10. figureverb

    To solve a mathematical problem.

  11. figureverb

    To come to understand.

    I can't figure if he's telling the truth or lying.

  12. figureverb

    to be reasonable

  13. figureverb

    to enter, be a part of

  14. Etymology: From figure, from figure, from figura, from fingere

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. FIGUREnoun

    Etymology: figura, Latin.

    Flowers have all exquisite figures, and the flower numbers are chiefly five and four; as in primroses, briar-roses, single muskroses, single pinks and gilliflowers, &c. which have five leaves; lilies, flower-de-luces, borage, buglass, &c. which have four leaves. Francis Bacon, Natural History.

    Men find green clay that is soft as long as it is in the water, so that one may print on it all kind of figures, and give it what shape one pleases. Boyle.

    Figures are properly modifications of bodies; for pure space is not any where terminated, nor can be: whether there be or be not body in it, it is uniformly continued. John Locke.

    He hath borne himself beyond the promise of his age, doing in the figure of a lamb the feats of a lion. William Shakespeare.

    The blue German shall the Tigris drink,
    E’er I, forsaking gratitude and truth,
    Forget the figure of that godlike youth. John Dryden, Virgil.

    I was charmed with the gracefulness of his figure and delivery, as well as with his discourses. Joseph Addison, Spectator.

    A good figure, or person, in man or woman, gives credit at first sight to the choice of either. Clarissa.

    While fortune favour’d, while his arms support
    The cause, and rul’d the counsels of the court,
    I made some figure there; nor was my name
    Obscure, nor I without my share of fame. John Dryden, Æn.

    The speech, I believe, was not so much designed by the knight to inform the court, as to give him a figure in my eye, and keep up his credit in the country. Joseph Addison, Spectator.

    Not a woman shall be unexplained that makes a figure either as a maid, a wife, or a widow. Joseph Addison, Guardian.

    Whether or no they have done well to set you up for making another kind of figure, time will witness. Addison.

    Many princes made very ill figures upon the throne, who before were the favourites of the people. Joseph Addison, Freeholder.

    The several statues, which seemed at a distance to be made of the whitest marble, were nothing else but so many figures in snow. Joseph Addison, Freeholder.

    In the principal figures of a picture the painter is to employ the sinews of his art; for in them consists the principal beauty of his work. John Dryden, Dufresnoy.

    My favourite books and pictures sell;
    Kindly throw in a little figure,
    And set the price upon the bigger. Matthew Prior.

    The figure of a syllogism is the proper disposition of the middle term with the parts of the question. Isaac Watts, Logick.

    Hearts, tongues, figures, scribes, bards, poets cannot
    Think, speak, cast, write, sing, number
    His love to Anthony. William Shakespeare, Ant. and Cleopatra.

    He that seeketh to be eminent amongst able men, hath a great task; but that is ever good for the publick: but he that plots to be the only figure among cyphers, is the decay of a whole age. Francis Bacon, Essays.

    As in accounts cyphers and figures pass for real sums, so in human affairs words pass for things themselves. Robert South, Serm.

    We do not know what’s brought to pass under the profession of fortunetelling: she works by charms, by spells, by the figure, and dawbry beyond our element. William Shakespeare.

    He set a figure to discover
    If you were fled to Rye or Dover. Hudibras, p. iii. cant. 1.

    Figure flingers and star-gazers pretend to foretell the fortunes of kingdoms, and have no foresight in what concerns themselves. Roger L'Estrange, Fable 94.

    Who was the figure of him that is to come. Romans.

    Silken terms precise,
    Three pil’d hyperboles, spruce affectation,
    Figures pedantical, these Summer flies
    Have blown me full of maggot ostentation. William Shakespeare.

    Here is a strange figure invented against the plain and natural sense of the words; for by praying to bestow, must be understood only praying to pray. Edward Stillingfleet.

    They have been taught rhetorick, but yet never taught to express themselves in the language they are always to use; as if the names of the figures that embellished the discourse of those, who understood the art of speaking, were the very art and skill of speaking well. John Locke.

  2. To Figureverb

    Etymology: figuro, Latin.

    Trees and herbs, in the growing forth of their boughs and branches, are not figured, and keep no order. Francis Bacon.

    Accept this goblet, rough with figur’d gold. John Dryden, Virgil.

    Arachne figur’d how Jove did abuse
    Europa like a bull, and on his back
    Her through the sea did bear; so lively seen,
    That it true sea, and true bull ye would ween. Edmund Spenser.

    Now marks the course of rolling orbs on high,
    O’er figur’d worlds now travels with his eye. Alexander Pope.

    I’ll give my jewels for a set of beads,
    My gorgeous palace for a hermitage,
    My gay apparel for an almsman’s gown,
    My figur’d goblets for a dish of wood. William Shakespeare, Richard II.

    But this effusion of such manly drops,
    Startle mine eyes, and makes me more amaz’d
    Than had I seen the vaulty top of heav’n
    Figur’d quite o’er with burning meteors. William Shakespeare, K. John.

    When sacraments are said to be visible signs of invisible grace, we thereby conceive how grace is indeed the very end for which these heavenly mysteries were instituted; and the matter whereof they consist is such as signifieth, figureth, and representeth their end. Richard Hooker, b. v.

    There is a history in all mens lives,
    Figuring the nature of the times deceased. William Shakespeare, Hen. IV.

    Marriage rings are not of this stuff:
    Oh! why should ought less precious or less tough
    Figure our loves? John Donne.

    The emperor appears as a rising sun, and holds a globe in his hand to figure out the earth that is enlightened and actuated by his beams. Joseph Addison, on ancient Medals.

    None that feels sensibly the decays of age, and his life wearing off, can figure to himself those imaginary charms in riches and praise, that men are apt to do in the warmth of their blood. William Temple.

    If love, alas! be pain, the pain I bear
    No thought can figure, and no tongue declare. Matthew Prior.

    Three glorious suns, each one a perfect sun,
    In this the heaven figures some event. William Shakespeare, Henry VI.

    Figured and metaphorical expressions do well to illustrate more abstruse and unfamiliar ideas, which the mind is not yet thoroughly accustomed to. John Locke.


  1. figure

    A figure generally refers to a shape or form that is visually represented. It can be a two-dimensional shape, such as a square or circle, or a three-dimensional form, such as a cube or sphere. Figures can also refer to a person or character depicted in art or literature. Additionally, in mathematics, a figure can refer to a diagram or illustration used to demonstrate a concept or problem.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Figurenoun

    the form of anything; shape; outline; appearance

  2. Figurenoun

    the representation of any form, as by drawing, painting, modeling, carving, embroidering, etc.; especially, a representation of the human body; as, a figure in bronze; a figure cut in marble

  3. Figurenoun

    a pattern in cloth, paper, or other manufactured article; a design wrought out in a fabric; as, the muslin was of a pretty figure

  4. Figurenoun

    a diagram or drawing; made to represent a magnitude or the relation of two or more magnitudes; a surface or space inclosed on all sides; -- called superficial when inclosed by lines, and solid when inclosed by surface; any arrangement made up of points, lines, angles, surfaces, etc

  5. Figurenoun

    the appearance or impression made by the conduct or carrer of a person; as, a sorry figure

  6. Figurenoun

    distinguished appearance; magnificence; conspicuous representation; splendor; show

  7. Figurenoun

    a character or symbol representing a number; a numeral; a digit; as, 1, 2,3, etc

  8. Figurenoun

    value, as expressed in numbers; price; as, the goods are estimated or sold at a low figure

  9. Figurenoun

    a person, thing, or action, conceived of as analogous to another person, thing, or action, of which it thus becomes a type or representative

  10. Figurenoun

    a mode of expressing abstract or immaterial ideas by words which suggest pictures or images from the physical world; pictorial language; a trope; hence, any deviation from the plainest form of statement

  11. Figurenoun

    the form of a syllogism with respect to the relative position of the middle term

  12. Figurenoun

    any one of the several regular steps or movements made by a dancer

  13. Figurenoun

    a horoscope; the diagram of the aspects of the astrological houses

  14. Figurenoun

    any short succession of notes, either as melody or as a group of chords, which produce a single complete and distinct impression

  15. Figurenoun

    a form of melody or accompaniment kept up through a strain or passage; a musical or motive; a florid embellishment

  16. Figurenoun

    to represent by a figure, as to form or mold; to make an image of, either palpable or ideal; also, to fashion into a determinate form; to shape

  17. Figurenoun

    to embellish with design; to adorn with figures

  18. Figurenoun

    to indicate by numerals; also, to compute

  19. Figurenoun

    to represent by a metaphor; to signify or symbolize

  20. Figurenoun

    to prefigure; to foreshow

  21. Figurenoun

    to write over or under the bass, as figures or other characters, in order to indicate the accompanying chords

  22. Figurenoun

    to embellish

  23. Figureverb

    to make a figure; to be distinguished or conspicious; as, the envoy figured at court

  24. Figureverb

    to calculate; to contrive; to scheme; as, he is figuring to secure the nomination

  25. Etymology: [F., figure, L. figura; akin to fingere to form, shape, feign. See Feign.]


  1. Figure

    A musical figure or figuration is the shortest idea in music, a short succession of notes, often recurring. It may have melodic pitch, harmonic progression and rhythmic. The 1964 Grove's Dictionary defines the figure as "the exact counterpart of the German 'motiv' and the French 'motif'": it produces a "single complete and distinct impression". To Scruton, however, "A figure is distinguished from a motif in that a figure is background while a motif is foreground: "A figure resembles a moulding in architecture: it is 'open at both ends', so as to be endlessly repeatable. In hearing a phrase as a figure, rather than a motif, we are at the same time placing it in the background, even if it is...strong and melodious." A phrase originally presented or heard as a motif may become a figure which accompanies another melody, such as in the second movement of Claude Debussy's String Quartet. It is perhaps best to view a figure as a motif when it has special importance in a piece. According to White, motives are, "significant in the structure of the work," while figures or figurations are not and, "may often occur in accompaniment passages or in transitional or connective material designed to link two sections together," with the former being more common.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Figure

    fig′ūr, n. the form of anything in outline: the representation of anything in drawing, &c.: a drawing: a design: a statue: appearance: a character denoting a number: value or price: (rhet.) a deviation from the ordinary mode of expression, in which words are changed from their literal signification or usage: (logic) the form of a syllogism with respect to the position of the middle term: steps in a dance: a type or emblem.—v.t. to form or shape: to make an image of: to mark with figures or designs: to imagine: to symbolise: to foreshow: to note by figures.—v.i. to make figures: to appear as a distinguished person.—n. Figurabil′ity, the quality of being figurable.—adjs. Fig′urable; Fig′ural, represented by figure.—n. Fig′urante, a ballet dancer, one of those dancers who dance in troops, and form a background for the solo dancers:—masc. Fig′urant.—adj. Fig′urate, of a certain determinate form: (mus.) florid.—n. Figurā′tion, act of giving figure or form: (mus.) mixture of chords and discords.—adj. Fig′urative (rhet.), representing by, containing, or abounding in figures: metaphorical: flowery: typical.—adv. Fig′uratively.—ns. Fig′urativeness, state of being figurative; Fig′ure-cast′er, an astrologer; Fig′ure-cast′ing, the art of preparing casts of animal or other forms.—adj. Fig′ured, marked or adorned with figures.—ns. Fig′ure-dance, a dance consisting of elaborate figures; Fig′urehead, the figure or bust under the bowsprit of a ship; Fig′ure-weav′ing, the weaving of figured fancy fabrics; Fig′urine, a small carved or sculptured figure, often specially such as are adorned with painting and gilding; Fig′urist, one who uses or interprets figures.—Figurate numbers, any series of numbers beginning with unity, and so formed that if each be subtracted from the following, and the series so formed be treated in the same way, by a continuation of the process, equal differences will be obtained. [Fr.,—L. figura, fingĕre, to form.]

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. figure

    The principal piece of carved work or ornament at the head of a ship, whether scroll, billet, or figure-head.

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. figure

    In fortification, the plan of any fortified place, or the interior polygon. Of this there are two sorts, regular and irregular; a regular figure is that where the sides and angles are equal; an irregular one where they are unequal.

Editors Contribution

  1. figure

    A perfect and specific form or shape.

    The artist drawing is of a figure standing tall.

    Submitted by MaryC on April 18, 2020  

  2. figure

    An amount of money expressed in a number.

    The figures are accurate and correct.

    Submitted by MaryC on April 18, 2020  

  3. figure

    The shape of the body of an animal or the body of a human being.

    We all aspire to have a moderate and balanced figure.

    Submitted by MaryC on April 18, 2020  

Suggested Resources

  1. figure

    Song lyrics by figure -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by figure on the Lyrics.com website.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'Figure' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #555

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'Figure' in Written Corpus Frequency: #835

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'Figure' in Nouns Frequency: #94

  4. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'Figure' in Verbs Frequency: #916

How to pronounce Figure?

How to say Figure in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of Figure in Chaldean Numerology is: 7

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of Figure in Pythagorean Numerology is: 3

Examples of Figure in a Sentence

  1. Stephen Namara:

    In 1994, Signe Mayfield said in The Palo Alto Cultural Center: "A more contained approach to the figure is seen in the lyrical drawing Bend, 1991, by Stephen Namara. In contrast to Neri's expressionistic forms, Namara has depicted the calisthenic stance of the figure in a pure, linear arabesque. An ambient, white light heightens the seductive beauty of the drawing. Its resonance comes from its capacity to act as both an abstract calligraph and Lyrical representation".

  2. Woody Allen:

    As the poet said, 'Only God can make a tree' -- probably because it's so hard to figure out how to get the bark on.

  3. Francois Villeroy de Galhau:

    Let me give you a pretty impressive figure this morning - we’ll publish the full set of our forecasts on Dec. 20 - the 2021 French growth will stand at 6.7% in our forecasts, that figure is much higher than what was expected during the first half of the year and the highest growth figure in more than 50 years.

  4. Ethel Barrymore:

    For an actress to be a success, she must have the face of a Venus, the brains of a Minerva, the grace of Terpsichore, the memory of a MaCaulay, the figure of Juno, and the hide of a rhinoceros.

  5. Michael Levin:

    I was astounded by Tufts University, frogs have a way of reproducing that they normally use but when you... liberate( the cells) from the rest of the embryo and you give them a chance to figure out how to be in a new environment, not only do they figure out a new way to move, but they also figure out apparently a new way to reproduce.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for Figure

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • الشكلArabic
  • дзе́ячBelarusian
  • фигура, личност, телосложение, цифра, изчислявам, представям сиBulgarian
  • figura, xifra, figurar-seCatalan, Valencian
  • postava, obrázek, ilustrace, vyřešitCzech
  • skikkelse, ciffer, tal, figur, beregne, slutteDanish
  • Gestalt, Form, Abbildung, Figur, ZifferGerman
  • εικόναGreek
  • figuroEsperanto
  • cifra, figura, ocurrírseleSpanish
  • شکلPersian
  • muoto, kuva, hahmo, figuuri, kuvio, luku, numero, vartalo, hoksata, tajuta, keksiäFinnish
  • figure, silhouette, personnage, personnalité, forme, chiffre, réaliser, comprendre, résoudreFrench
  • pearsa, uimhir, fíor, deilbhIrish
  • dèanamh, figearScottish Gaelic
  • ספרה, צורה, שרטוט, דמותHebrew
  • alak, ábra, számjegy, forma, rájön, kitalálHungarian
  • պատկերArmenian
  • angkaIndonesian
  • personaggio, forma fisica, forma, cifra, figura, calcolare, risolvereItalian
  • 人物, 体型Japanese
  • figūra, attēls, ciparsLatvian
  • whikaMāori
  • ആകൃതിMalayalam
  • figuur, cijfer, personage, afbeelding, vorm, berekenen, menenDutch
  • figurNorwegian
  • postać, osoba, kształt, sylwetka, figura, rysunek, cyfra, zrozumiećPolish
  • figura, cifra, número, resolver, perceber, compreenderPortuguese
  • figurăRomanian
  • цифра, рисунок, фигура, телосложение, вычислять, соображать, пониматьRussian
  • स्वरूपःSanskrit
  • figur, siffraSwedish
  • అంకెTelugu
  • şekil, çözmekTurkish
  • hình, nhân vật, hình vẽ, tưởng tượng, đoán, tưởngVietnamese
  • 人物Chinese

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    established or prearranged unalterably
    • A. indiscernible
    • B. foreordained
    • C. ectomorphic
    • D. articulate

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