figure

noun
fig·​ure | \ ˈfi-gyər How to pronounce figure (audio) , British and often US ˈfi-gər\

Definition of figure

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a number symbol : numeral, digit
b figures 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 figures plural : digits representing an amount (as of money earned or points scored) made six figures last year a score in double figures
2a : a geometric form (such as a line, triangle, or sphere) especially when considered as a set of geometric elements (such 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
3a : the graphic representation of a form especially of a person or geometric entity a figure of a girl with pigtails
b : a diagram or pictorial illustration of textual matter figures that illustrate various moves in chess
4 : a person, thing, or action representative of another Adam … who is the figure of him who was to come — Romans 5:14 (King James Version)
5a : figure of speech Find the similes and other figures in the poem.
b : an intentional deviation from the ordinary form or syntactical relation of words
6 : the form of a syllogism with respect to the relative position of the middle term
7 : an often repetitive pattern or design in a manufactured article (such as cloth) or natural product (such as wood) a polka-dot figure
8 : appearance made : impression produced the couple cut quite a figure
9a : a series of movements in a dance Bowing to your partner is one of the figures in square dancing.
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 : a prominent personality : personage great figures of history
11 : a short coherent group of notes or chords that may constitute part of a phrase, theme, or composition

figure

verb
figured; figuring\ ˈfi-​gyə-​riŋ How to pronounce figuring (audio) , ˈfi-​g(ə-​)riŋ \

Definition of figure (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to represent by or as if by a figure or outline
2 : to decorate with a pattern also : to write figures over or under (the bass) in order to indicate the accompanying chords
3 : to indicate or represent by numerals
4a : calculate
b : conclude, decide figured there was no use in further effort also : assume figure it will rain
d : to appear likely figures to win

intransitive verb

1a : to be or appear important or conspicuous
b : to be involved or implicated figured in a robbery
2 : to perform a figure in dancing
4 : to seem rational, normal, or expected that figures
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
figure on
1 : to take into consideration figuring on the extra income
2 : to rely on
3 : plan I figure on going into town

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Other Words from figure

Verb

figurer \ ˈfi-​g(y)ər-​ər How to pronounce figurer (audio) \ noun

Examples of figure in a Sentence

Noun

Are you sure of your figures? I came up with a very different figure. No precise figures are available yet. The company had yearly sales figures of half a million units. We could barely make out some figures moving in the mist. The vase is decorated with figures of birds and fish. The walls of the cave are covered with drawings of human and animal figures. a collection of bronze figures

Verb

“They lost.” “I figured as much.” She figures to finish by noon. The debate over tax rates figured prominently in the last election.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Subianto is an establishment figure from a wealthy family who was a special forces general during the Suharto dictatorship that ended amid social and economic chaos in 1998. Niniek Karmini, The Seattle Times, "Indonesians flock to final presidential campaign rallies," 13 Apr. 2019 Some figures that may give you a clearer idea: Popular Beverly Hills cosmetic dermatologist, Dr. Simon Ourian estimates $3,900 to $5,900 as the average cost per area for facial contouring fillers. Glamour, "8 Things You Should Know Before Getting Injectibles," 10 Apr. 2019 One of them, in a long-sleeved, figure-hugging sequined gown, was Lauren Sanchez, the former TV anchor the world didn’t yet know was Bezos’s new girlfriend. Ben Widdicombe, Town & Country, "Billion Dollar Divorces: What Happens When the Super Wealthy Risk Everything for Love on the Down-Low," 10 Apr. 2019 In the early 1960s, there were no male toy figures popular with boys. Maude Campbell, Popular Mechanics, "Yo, Joe: How a 12-Inch Soldier Doll Became a Toy Legend," 9 Apr. 2019 Swirl the mixture in a figure-eight pattern a couple of times using a butter knife (don’t swirl too much or the mixture will become muddy). Kate Merker, Country Living, "Chocolate-Matcha Swirl Pound Cake," 19 Mar. 2019 The three previous versions came out in 1937, 1954, and 1976 and starred such famous figures as Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand. Heather Finn, Good Housekeeping, "What Is 'A Star Is Born' Really About? Here's a Look at All 4 Versions of the Movie," 24 Feb. 2019 Though estimates vary, some figures suggest that between 30 and 50 percent of people with endometriosis have impaired fertility, according to the Mayo Clinic. Colleen Stinchcombe, SELF, "How Does Endometriosis Impact Fertility?," 8 Feb. 2019 Right now, advertisers rely almost entirely on download figures to determine the value of advertising on a podcast. Ashley Carman, The Verge, "NPR wants to know what podcast ads you skip," 27 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Employers have added 274,000 non-managerial manufacturing jobs since July 2017, Labor Department figures show. Chip Cutter, WSJ, "More Americans Are Back at Work Making Stuff," 1 Mar. 2019 The spot price of fuel has jumped more than 50 percent in the past year, according to Energy Department figures. David Koenig, The Seattle Times, "Jet fuel spike sends 2Q profit lower at United Airlines," 17 July 2018 Mostly through friends who were still trying to figure it out, and who had latched onto toxic stereotypes. Thomas Page Mcbee, Teen Vogue, "Kendrick Sampson on Masculinity, Race, and Why Men Should Be More Vulnerable," 26 Mar. 2019 But that figures to change on or sometime closely after March 13, when players can begin officially signing as free agents with other teams. Bob Condotta, The Seattle Times, "2019 figures to mark the true transition for Seattle secondary from the Legion of Boom," 19 Feb. 2019 Republicans in Washington stumble around trying to figure what to stand for beyond capitalizing on whatever zany thing some socialist said today. Peggy Noonan, WSJ, "Republicans Need to Save Capitalism," 14 Feb. 2019 Those pop culture moments have transitioned into Issa Rae’s mirror freestyles on Insecure and Earn (Donald Glover) trying to figure things out with his baby mama (Zazie Beetz) on Atlanta. refinery29.com, "What Happened To All Of The Black Teen Shows?," 3 July 2018 Because of his defense in right field, there wouldn’t figure to be much of a market from National League teams. Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers trade deadline: Who's likely leaving, sticking around," 26 June 2018 Though on the other side of the globe, President Donald Trump figures to be a factor in Republican elections in South Carolina, one of five states holding primaries. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "As goes Maine, so goes the nation?," 12 June 2018

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

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for figure

Noun

Middle English, "shape, form, likeness, symbol, design, written character," borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin figūra "shape, form, outward appearance, likeness, nonliteral form of speech," from fig-, variant stem of fingere "to mold, fashion, make a likeness of, pretend to be" + -ūra -ure — more at feign

Verb

Middle English figuren "to shape, represent symbolically, prefigure," borrowed from Anglo-French figurer, borrowed from Latin figūrāre "to shape, form, make a likeness of, represent," verbal derivative of figūra "shape, figure entry 1"

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Learn More about figure

Statistics for figure

Last Updated

20 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for figure

The first known use of figure was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for figure

figure

noun

English Language Learners Definition of figure

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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

figure

verb

English Language Learners Definition of figure (Entry 2 of 2)

: to expect or think (something)
: to understand or find (something, such as a reason) by thinking
: to appear likely to do something

figure

noun
fig·​ure | \ ˈfi-gyər How to pronounce figure (audio) \

Kids Definition of figure

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a symbol (as 1, 2, 3) that stands for a number : numeral
2 figures plural : arithmetic sense 2 She has a good head for figures.
3 : value or price expressed in figures The painting sold for a high figure.
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 : the shape of the body especially of a person a slender figure
6 : an illustration in a printed text
7 : pattern entry 1 sense 1 cloth with red figures
8 : a well-known or important person

figure

verb
figured; figuring

Kids Definition of figure (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : calculate sense 1 Can you figure the cost?
2 : believe sense 4, decide I figured we'd win.
figure on
1 : to make plans based on Figure on 20 guests.
2 : to rely on
3 : to have in mind I figured on going home.
figure out
1 : to discover or solve by thinking I figured out how to do this.
2 : to find a solution for Can you figure out these math problems?

figure

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

Medical Definition of figure

1 : bodily shape or form especially of a person a slender figure
2a : the graphic representation of a form especially of a person
b : a diagram or pictorial illustration of textual matter
3 : a person who is representative of or serves as a psychological substitute for someone or something else — see father figure

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Comments on figure

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