fig·u·ra·tion | \ˌfi-g(y)ə-ˈrā-shən \

Definition of figuration 

1 : form, outline

2 : the act or process of creating or providing a figure

3 : an act or instance of representation in figures and shapes cubism was explained as a synthesis of colored figurations of objects— Janet Flanner

4 : ornamentation of a musical passage by using decorative and usually repetitive figures

Examples of figuration in a Sentence

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But Piper quickly joined the avant-garde of her time, leaving figuration behind for the conceptualism then being formulated by Sol LeWitt and other (mostly male) artists. Jillian Steinhauer, The New Republic, "Adrian Piper’s art plays with identity and confronts defensiveness.," 30 May 2018 Pindell’s abstractions entrance me; her figurations mostly don’t. Lori Waxman,, "The diverse, dizzying majesty of Howardena Pindell," 25 Apr. 2018 Wu’s vigorous, expressionistic improvisations often elided passages of figuration, especially of landscape. Jason Farago, Martha Schwendener And Will Heinrich, New York Times, "What to See in New York Art Galleries This Week," 5 Apr. 2018 The keyboard writing, with its wide melodic leaps and furious figuration, provides the stiffest of workouts for five fingers. John Von Rhein,, "CSO delivers a winning Ravel program under debut conductor Pintscher," 6 Apr. 2018 In the same neighborhood at the Amon Carter Museum, sculptors from an earlier generation attempted to break the mold of representational figuration as adamantly as Mueck tries to replicate it. Gaile Robinson, star-telegram, "Mueck's eerily lifelike sculptures return to Modern, contrast with works at Amon Carter," 16 Feb. 2018 Each concentrates on a specific period and style, from the often homoerotic faux-naïve figuration of his early fame to the taut geometry of the houses, pools and lawns of Los Angeles and the dry but intimate portraits. New York Times, "12 Art Exhibitions to View in NYC This Weekend," 15 Feb. 2018 There was no figuration anywhere in my father’s work! Brett Sokol, miamiherald, "This Cuban artist was so traumatized he couldn’t paint — until he had a vision | Miami Herald," 26 Dec. 2017 Nowadays, in an age when the choice between abstraction and figuration is dismissed as a false dichotomy, and when younger artists imbue their work with once-taboo narrative and autobiography, Mr. Hockney is an artist of unassailable relevance. Deborah Solomon, New York Times, "David Hockney, Contrarian, Shifts Perspectives," 5 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'figuration.' 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 figuration

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for figuration

Middle English figuracioun, borrowed from Latin figūrātiōn-, figūrātiō "process of forming, shape, representation," from figūrāre "to shape, make a likeness of, represent" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of verbal action — more at figure entry 2

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to reject or criticize sharply

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