figure

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See also: figuré

English[edit]

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A figure showing some relationships between variables.
An advertisement promising women to improve their figures.
A sports figure.
A skating figure.

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English figure, from Old French figure, from Latin figura (form, shape, form of a word, a figure of speech, Late Latin a sketch, drawing), from fingere (to form, shape, mold, fashion), from Proto-Indo-European *dʰeyǵʰ- (to mold, shape, form, knead). Cognate with Ancient Greek τεῖχος (teîkhos), Sanskrit देग्धि (degdhi), Old English dāg (dough). More at dough.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

figure (plural figures)

  1. A drawing or diagram conveying information.
    • 2004, Joshua Tree National Park 2004 Visitor Study:
      For example, while Figure 1 shows information for 516 visitor groups, Figure 3 presents data for 1,625 individuals. A note above each graph or table specifies the information illustrated. ... For example, although Joshua Tree NP visitors returned 525 questionnaires, Figure 1 shows data for only 516 respondents.
  2. The representation of any form, as by drawing, painting, modelling, carving, embroidering, etc.; especially, a representation of the human body.
    a figure in bronze; a figure cut in marble
    • Shakespeare
      a coin that bears the figure of an angel
  3. A person or thing representing a certain consciousness.
    • 2013 June 28, Joris Luyendijk, “Our banks are out of control”, The Guardian Weekly, volume 189, number 3, page 21: 
      Seeing the British establishment struggle with the financial sector is like watching an alcoholic […].  Until 2008 there was denial over what finance had become. When a series of bank failures made this impossible, there was widespread anger, leading to the public humiliation of symbolic figures.
  4. The appearance or impression made by the conduct or career of a person.
    He cut a sorry figure standing there in the rain.
    • Dryden
      I made some figure there.
    • Blackstone
      gentlemen of the best figure in the county
  5. (obsolete) Distinguished appearance; magnificence; conspicuous representation; splendour; show.
    • Law
      that he may live in figure and indulgence
  6. A human figure, which dress or corset must fit to; the shape of a human body.
    • 1919, B. G. Jefferis and J. L. Nichols, Searchlights on Health:
      The origin of the corset is lost in remote antiquity. The figures of the early Egyptian women show clearly an artificial shape of the waist produced by some style of corset.
  7. A numeral.
  8. A number.
    • 1996, David Irving v. Penguin Books and Deborah Lipstadt:
      (i) in the 1966 edition of The Destruction of Dresden Irving contended that 135,000 were estimated authoritatively to have been killed and further contended that the documentation suggested a figure between 100,00 and 250,000;
  9. A shape.
    • Francis Bacon
      Flowers have all exquisite figures.
    • 1908, Algernon Blackwood, John Silence, Physician Extraordinary:
      And these were not human shapes, or the shapes of anything I recognised as alive in the world, but outlines of fire that traced globes, triangles, crosses, and the luminous bodies of various geometrical figures.
  10. A visible pattern as in wood or cloth.
    The muslin was of a pretty figure.
  11. A dance figure, a complex dance moveW.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 5, The Celebrity:
      Although the Celebrity was almost impervious to sarcasm, he was now beginning to exhibit visible signs of uneasiness, [] . It was with a palpable relief that he heard the first warning notes of the figure.
  12. A figure of speech.
    • Macaulay
      to represent the imagination under the figure of a wing
  13. (logic) The form of a syllogism with respect to the relative position of the middle term.
  14. (astrology) A horoscope; the diagram of the aspects of the astrological houses.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Johnson to this entry?)
  15. (music) Any short succession of notes, either as melody or as a group of chords, which produce a single complete and distinct impression.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Grove to this entry?)
  16. (music) A form of melody or accompaniment kept up through a strain or passage; a motif; a florid embellishment.

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

figure (third-person singular simple present figures, present participle figuring, simple past and past participle figured) (mainly US)

  1. To solve a mathematical problem.
  2. To come to understand.
    I can't figure if he's telling the truth or lying.
  3. (intransitive) To be reasonable.
  4. (transitive) To enter, be a part of.
  5. (obsolete) To represent by a figure, as to form or mould; to make an image of, either palpable or ideal; also, to fashion into a determinate form; to shape.
    • Prior
      If love, alas! be pain I bear, / No thought can figure, and no tongue declare.
  6. To embellish with design; to adorn with figures.
    • Shakespeare
      The vaulty top of heaven / Figured quite o'er with burning meteors.
  7. (obsolete) To indicate by numerals.
    • Dryden
      As through a crystal glass the figured hours are seen.
  8. To represent by a metaphor; to signify or symbolize.
    • Shakespeare
      whose white vestments figure innocence
  9. (obsolete) To prefigure; to foreshow.
    • Shakespeare
      In this the heaven figures some event.
  10. (music) To write over or under the bass, as figures or other characters, in order to indicate the accompanying chords.
  11. (music) To embellish.

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Statistics[edit]

External links[edit]


French[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Latin figura.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

figure f (plural figures)

  1. face
  2. figure

Synonyms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

External links[edit]


Italian[edit]

Noun[edit]

figure f

  1. plural form of figura

Spanish[edit]

Verb[edit]

figure

  1. Formal second-person singular (usted) imperative form of figurar.
  2. First-person singular (yo) present subjunctive form of figurar.
  3. Formal second-person singular (usted) present subjunctive form of figurar.
  4. Third-person singular (él, ella, also used with usted?) present subjunctive form of figurar.