fig·​ur·​al | \ ˈfi-g(y)ə-rəl How to pronounce figural (audio) \

Definition of figural

2 : of, relating to, or consisting of human or animal figures a figural composition

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Examples of figural in a Sentence

“a candidate running for office” is just a figural expression
Recent Examples on the Web Pollock is praised for pouring and dripping, as though inviting randomness, but one senses the significant amount of figural underpainting that exists beneath the surface. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, "Helen Frankenthaler and the Messy Art of Life," 5 Apr. 2021 Zach Snyder’s Justice League tried the baroque approach, externalizing heroic virtue in complicated figural relationships, a Burial of Count Orgaz with different capes. Matthew Carey Salyer, Forbes, "Marvel’s ‘Hellfire Gala’ Event: A Rococo Blend Of Superheroes And Haute Couture," 21 Mar. 2021 Some hilyas were strictly without any figural representation, while others contained a drawing of the Kaaba, the holy shrine in Mecca, or a rose that symbolized the beauty of the prophet. Suleyman Dost, The Conversation, "Muslims have visualized Prophet Muhammad in words and calligraphic art for centuries," 24 Nov. 2020 Brooding, figural portraits, from artists like Jennifer Packer and Curtis Talwst Santiago, also beautifully evoke these feelings. New York Times, "7 Things to Do This Weekend," 22 Oct. 2020 Known for their landscapes, the artists were both largely self-taught and are beloved figural masters: Winslow Homer (1836-1910) for his East Coast beach scenes and Frederic Remington (1861-1909) for his Old Westerns. New York Times, "Spring Shows to Keep Art Lovers Busy," 10 Mar. 2020 The cartoon displays many of the things Raphael did brilliantly—groups of people in dialogue; varied figural types, young and old, delicate and robust; and figures elegantly distributed in space. Cammy Brothers, WSJ, "Taking Shape Before Our Eyes," 14 June 2019 There are some detours into more traditional figural studies, including a series of swans that can be seen as a kind of precursor to M.C. Escher’s tessellations. Jeffrey Bauman, ELLE Decor, "See This Record-Breaking Guggenheim Exhibit Before It’s Gone," 18 Apr. 2019 The most beautiful gallery is one currently occupied by figural sculpture from Central and West Africa. Alexandra Lange, Curbed, "A museum grows in Houston," 1 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'figural.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of figural

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for figural

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

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Time Traveler for figural

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

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Last Updated

13 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Figural.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2021.

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