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See also: fig. and Fig


A fig (the fruit).
A fig (the fruit) in cross-section.


  • IPA(key): /fɪɡ/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪɡ

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English fige, fygge (also fyke, from Old English fīc, see fike), borrowed from Anglo-Norman figue, borrowed from Old French figue, from Old Occitan figa, from Vulgar Latin *fīca (fig), from Latin fīcus (fig tree), from a pre-Indo European language, perhaps Phoenician 𐤐𐤂(pagh, literally ripe fig) (compare Biblical Hebrew פַּגָּה(paggâ, early fallen fig), Classical Syriac ܦܓܐ(paggāʾ), dialectal Arabic فَجّ(fajj), فِجّ(fijj))[1].

Another Semitic root (compare Akkadian 𒈠 (tīʾu, literally fig)) was borrowed into Ancient Greek as σῦκον (sûkon) (Boeotian τῦκον (tûkon)) and Armenian as թուզ (tʿuz); whence English sycophant.


fig (plural figs)

  1. A fruit-bearing tree or shrub of the genus Ficus that is native mainly to the tropics.
    • 1611, King James Version, Genesis 3:7:
      And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
  2. The fruit of the fig tree, pear-shaped and containing many small seeds.
  3. A small piece of tobacco.
  4. The value of a fig, practically nothing; a fico; a whit.
    • 1591, William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part 2, Act II, sc. 3:
      I'll pledge you all; and a fig for Peter!
    • 1848, William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair, Chapter 6:
      About Rebecca and Jos he did not care a fig.
    • 2004, David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas
      J. senses the entente between Eva and me and doesn't like it one fig.
Derived terms[edit]


fig (third-person singular simple present figs, present participle figging, simple past and past participle figged)

  1. (obsolete) To insult with a fico, or contemptuous motion.
    • Shakespeare
      When Pistol lies, do this, and fig me like / The bragging Spaniard.
  2. (obsolete) To put into the head of, as something useless or contemptible.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of L'Estrange to this entry?)

Further reading[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Variation of fike.


fig (third-person singular simple present figs, present participle figging, simple past and past participle figged)

  1. (intransitive) To move suddenly or quickly; rove about.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]


fig (plural figs)

  1. Abbreviation of figure. (diagram or illustration)


  1. ^ Andreas Franz and Wilhelm Schimper, Plant Geography Upon a Physiological Basis, volume 2 (Berlin: Gebrüder Borntraeger, 1902), page 100




fig (plural figs)

  1. fig