fig·​ur·​al ˈfi-g(y)ə-rəl How to pronounce figural (audio)
: of, relating to, or consisting of human or animal figures
a figural composition

Examples of figural in a Sentence

“a candidate running for office” is just a figural expression
Recent Examples on the Web Higgins and her colleagues, though, are concentrating on figural graffiti, which range from humans and animals (often representing a god) to game boards likely carved by Isis’ priests for diversion during their off hours. Amy Crawford, Smithsonian Magazine, 5 Sep. 2023 The Temple also had early medieval ancestors called figural or figured poems. V.m. Braganza, Smithsonian Magazine, 7 Aug. 2023 Along with Claes Oldenburg and Ed Kienholz, Segal (1924-2000) was one of the principal figures to revitalize figural realism in the second half of the 20th century. John Wilmerding, WSJ, 3 Feb. 2023 There's something majestic about abstract or figural stained glass, which lets light in and offers privacy as well as colorful expression. Hadley Mendelsohn, House Beautiful, 10 Jan. 2023 The back rest is decorated with a lion flanked by figural finials and the curved frame possesses oak leaves. Rodney Ho, ajc, 18 Jan. 2023 As captured in the show—where portraits, narrative scenes and figure studies share space with just two landscapes—the collection was shaped by its owners’ personal preference for figural imagery. Mary Tompkins Lewis, WSJ, 26 Dec. 2022 Binnie is a figural painter whose work toes the uncanny line between tragedy and comedy. Dallas News, 7 Mar. 2022 They are all blown glass and are all figural ornaments. Joanne Kempinger Demski, Journal Sentinel, 8 Dec. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'figural.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, borrowed from Late Latin figūrālis "of a figure, symbolic," from Latin figūra "form, shape, figure entry 1" + -ālis -al entry 1

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of figural was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near figural

Cite this Entry

“Figural.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Sep. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!