What does figurative mean?

Definitions for figurative
ˈfɪg yər ə tɪvfig·u·ra·tive

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

Princeton's WordNet

  1. figurative, nonliteraladjective

    (used of the meanings of words or text) not literal; using figures of speech

    "figurative language"

  2. figural, figurativeadjective

    consisting of or forming human or animal figures

    "a figural design"; "the figurative art of the humanistic tradition"- Herbert Read


  1. figurativeadjective

    Metaphorical or tropical, as opposed to literal; using figures; as of the use of "cats and dogs" in the phrase "It's raining cats and dogs".

  2. figurativeadjective

    Metaphorically so called

  3. figurativeadjective

    With many figures of speech

  4. figurativeadjective


Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Figurativeadjective

    Etymology: figuratif-ve, Fr. from figura, Latin.

    This, they will say, was figurative, and served by God’s appointment but for a time, to shadow out the true everlasting glory of a more divine sanctity; where into Christ being long since entered, it seemeth that all these curious exornations should rather cease. Richard Hooker, b. v. s. 15.

    How often have we been railed at for understanding words in a figurative sense, which cannot be literally understood without overthrowing the plainest evidence of sense and reason. Edward Stillingfleet, Def. of Disc. on Rom. Idol.

    This is a figurative expression, where the words are used in a different sense from what they signify in their first ordinary intention. John Rogers, Sermon 14.

    Sublime subjects ought to be adorned with the sublimest and with the most figurative expressions. John Dryden, Juvenal, Pref.


  1. figurative

    Figurative refers to language that uses words or expressions with a meaning that is different from the literal interpretation. It often employs elements such as metaphors, similes, idioms, and personification, and is commonly used in poetry and literature to create richer, more imaginative and vibrant imagery or to convey complex ideas and emotions.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Figurativeadjective

    representing by a figure, or by resemblance; typical; representative

  2. Figurativeadjective

    used in a sense that is tropical, as a metaphor; not literal; -- applied to words and expressions

  3. Figurativeadjective

    abounding in figures of speech; flowery; florid; as, a highly figurative description

  4. Figurativeadjective

    relating to the representation of form or figure by drawing, carving, etc. See Figure, n., 2

  5. Etymology: [L. figurativus: cf. F. figuratif. See Figurative.]

How to pronounce figurative?

How to say figurative in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of figurative in Chaldean Numerology is: 1

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of figurative in Pythagorean Numerology is: 1

Examples of figurative in a Sentence

  1. President Trump:

    And if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore, of the over 10,000 words spoken, President Trump used the word' fight' a little more than a handful of times and each time in the figurative sense that has long been accepted in public discourse when urging people to stand and use their voices to be heard on matters important to them ; it was not and could not be construed to encourage acts of violence.

  2. Maxime Aubert:

    To me, the most fascinating aspect of our research is that humanity's oldest cave art is at least 44,000 years old and it already has all the key components relating to modern cognition, [ like ] hand stencils, figurative art, storytelling, therianthropes and religious thinking, so it must have a much older origin, possibly in Africa or soon after we left Africa.

  3. Shaun Fletcher:

    We’re putting our athletes through a lot of painful literal and figurative hoops and hurdles with really no resolution at the end of it to tell them that this is the standard that is being set for competition, there needs to be a joint effort to determine the metric because athletics and institutions, they go off of metrics and standards that can be applied to the masses.

  4. William Barr:

    One of the ironies, as some have observed, is that the secular project has itself become a religion, pursued with religious fervor. It is taking on all the trappings of a religion – including inquisitions and excommunication. Those who defy the creed risk a figurative burning at the stake – social, educational, and professional ostracism and exclusion waged through lawsuits and savage social media campaigns.

  5. Lauren McLean:

    The antisemitic messages contained in the graffiti found along the Greenbelt put a literal and figurative stain on Boise Parks and Recreation workers community. This will not be tolerated, hate speech is reprehensible. It is not who( Boise Parks and Recreation workers) are as a city and is not part of Boise Parks and Recreation workers shared values. I invite all good people of Boise to stand with me, as I stand with Boise Parks and Recreation workers Jewish neighbors, to rebuke this hate.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for figurative

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • مجازي, رمزي, استعاريArabic
  • образен, преносен, метафориченBulgarian
  • přenesený, obrazný, metaforickýCzech
  • im übertragenen Sinne, bilderreich, bildlich, symbolisch, metaphorisch, sinnbildlich, figürlich, übertragenGerman
  • μεταφορικόςGreek
  • figurado, figurativoSpanish
  • فیگوراتیوPersian
  • kuvaannollinenFinnish
  • figuratif, figuréFrench
  • samhlachailScottish Gaelic
  • átvitt, jelképes, átvitt értelemben, szimbolikus, képletesHungarian
  • figurativoItalian
  • 比喩Japanese
  • figurativoPortuguese
  • figurativRomanian
  • переносный, метафорический, образный, фигуральныйRussian
  • figurativSwedish
  • அடையாள அர்த்தமுள்ளTamil
  • mecaziTurkish
  • tượng trưngVietnamese

Get even more translations for figurative »


Find a translation for the figurative definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"figurative." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 22 Apr. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/figurative>.

Discuss these figurative definitions with the community:


    Are we missing a good definition for figurative? Don't keep it to yourself...

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Chrome

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Firefox

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Browse Definitions.net


    Are you a words master?

    diverge from the expected
    A aberrate
    B abet
    C gloat
    D monish

    Nearby & related entries:

    Alternative searches for figurative: