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noun fig·ure \ˈfi-gyər, British & often US ˈfi-gər\

Simple Definition of figure

  • : a symbol that represents a number

  • : a value that is expressed in numbers

  • : a person or animal that can be seen only as a shape or outline

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of figure

  1. 1 a :  a number symbol :  numeral, digit b plural :  arithmetical calculations <good at figures> c :  a written or printed character d :  value especially as expressed in numbers :  sum, price <sold at a low figure> e plural :  digits representing an amount (as of money earned or points scored) <made six figures last year> <a score in double figures>

  2. 2 a :  a geometric form (as a line, triangle, or sphere) especially when considered as a set of geometric elements (as points) in space of a given number of dimensions <a square is a plane figure> b :  bodily shape or form especially of a person <a slender figure> c :  an object noticeable only as a shape or form <figures moving in the dusk>

  3. 3 a :  the graphic representation of a form especially of a person or geometric entity b :  a diagram or pictorial illustration of textual matter

  4. 4 :  a person, thing, or action representative of another

  5. 5 a :  figure of speech b :  an intentional deviation from the ordinary form or syntactical relation of words

  6. 6 :  the form of a syllogism with respect to the relative position of the middle term

  7. 7 :  an often repetitive pattern or design in a manufactured article (as cloth) or natural product (as wood) <a polka-dot figure>

  8. 8 :  appearance made :  impression produced <the couple cut quite a figure>

  9. 9 a :  a series of movements in a dance b :  an outline representation of a form traced by a series of evolutions (as with skates on an ice surface or by an airplane in the air)

  10. 10 :  a prominent personality :  personage <great figures of history>

  11. 11 :  a short coherent group of notes or chords that may constitute part of a phrase, theme, or composition

Examples of figure in a sentence

  1. Are you sure of your figures?

  2. I came up with a very different figure.

  3. No precise figures are available yet.

  4. The company had yearly sales figures of half a million units.

  5. We could barely make out some figures moving in the mist.

  6. The vase is decorated with figures of birds and fish.

  7. The walls of the cave are covered with drawings of human and animal figures.

  8. a collection of bronze figures

Origin and Etymology of figure

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin figura, from fingere

First Known Use: 13th century



verb fig·ure

Simple Definition of figure

  • : to expect or think (something)

  • : to understand or find (something, such as a reason) by thinking

  • : to appear likely to do something

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of figure



play \ˈfi-gyə-riŋ, ˈfi-g(ə-)riŋ\
  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to represent by or as if by a figure or outline

  3. 2 :  to decorate with a pattern; also :  to write figures over or under (the bass) in order to indicate the accompanying chords

  4. 3 :  to indicate or represent by numerals

  5. 4 a :  calculate b :  conclude, decide <figured there was no use in further effort>; also :  assume <figure it will rain> c :  regard, consider d :  to appear likely <figures to win>

  6. intransitive verb
  7. 1 a :  to be or appear important or conspicuous b :  to be involved or implicated <figured in a robbery>

  8. 2 :  to perform a figure in dancing

  9. 3 :  compute, calculate

  10. 4 :  to seem rational, normal, or expected <that figures>

  11. 5 :  to make sense of something —used interjectionally in the phrase go figure to suggest that something is surprising or perplexing <why do they think women will buy this lie? Go figure — Ellen Bravo>


play \-g(y)ər-ər\ noun

figure on

  1. 1 :  to take into consideration <figuring on the extra income>

  2. 2 :  to rely on

  3. 3 :  plan <I figure on going into town>

Examples of figure in a sentence

  1. They lost. I figured as much.

  2. She figures to finish by noon.

  3. The debate over tax rates figured prominently in the last election.

14th Century

First Known Use of figure

14th century

FIGURE Defined for Kids



noun fig·ure \ˈfi-gyər\

Definition of figure for Students

  1. 1 :  a symbol (as 1, 2, 3) that stands for a number :  numeral

  2. 2 figures plural :  arithmetic 2 <She has a good head for figures.>

  3. 3 :  value or price expressed in figures <The painting sold for a high figure.>

  4. 4 :  the shape or outline of something or someone <I'll never forget that tall, lonely figure standing on the sea wall. — Theodore Taylor, The Cay>

  5. 5 :  the shape of the body especially of a person <a slender figure>

  6. 6 :  an illustration in a printed text

  7. 7 :  1pattern 1 <cloth with red figures>

  8. 8 :  a well-known or important person

Word Root of figure

The Latin word fingere, meaning “to shape” or “to mold,” and its form fictus give us the roots fig and fict. Words from the Latin fingere have something to do with shaping. The figure of something, especially a person's body, is its shape. To disfigure is to change the shape and ruin the looks of something. Fiction is something written that is not fact but is shaped by the imagination.



verb fig·ure

Definition of figure for Students



  1. 1 :  calculate 1 <Can you figure the cost?>

  2. 2 :  believe 4, decide <I figured we'd win.>

figure on

  1. 1 :  to make plans based on <Figure on 20 guests.>

  2. 2 :  to rely on

  3. 3 :  to have in mind <I figured on going home.>

figure out

  1. 1 :  to discover or solve by thinking <I figured out how to do this.>

  2. 2 :  to find a solution for <Can you figure out these math problems?>

Medical Dictionary


noun fig·ure \ˈfig-yər, British & often US ˈfig-ər\

Medical Definition of figure

  1. 1:  bodily shape or form especially of a person <a slender figure>

  2. 2a:  the graphic representation of a form especially of a personb:  a diagram or pictorial illustration of textual matter

  3. 3:  a person who is representative of or serves as a psychological substitute for someone or something else—see father figure

Seen and Heard

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