figure

1 of 2

noun

fig·​ure ˈfi-gyər How to pronounce figure (audio)
 British and often US  ˈfi-gər
1
a
: 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
2
a
: 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
3
a
: 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 comeRomans 5:14 (King James Version)
5
a
: 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
9
a
: 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

2 of 2

verb

figured; figuring ˈfi-gyə-riŋ How to pronounce figure (audio)
ˈfi-g(ə-)riŋ

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
4
a
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

1
a
: to be or appear important or conspicuous
b
: to be involved or implicated
figured in a robbery
2
: to perform a figure in dancing
3
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 figureEllen Bravo
figurer noun
Phrases
figure on
1
: to take into consideration
figuring on the extra income
2
: to rely on
3
: plan
I figure on going into town

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Not since Crazy Rich Asians ($239 million globally) has a studio rom-com breezed past that figure. Erin Carlson, The Hollywood Reporter, 18 Apr. 2024 The 1 percent figure refers to direct funding, but a much larger percentage of its revenue comes from local public radio stations, which use federal funds to purchase programming produced by NPR. The Editors, National Review, 18 Apr. 2024 Women today are almost twice as likely to live alone in their early 20s relative to their 1950s counterparts and fewer live with a spouse or child, as shown in the figure below. TIME, 18 Apr. 2024 Remote positions over six figures weren’t safe from RTO either, decreasing 33% over the same time period, while in-office opportunities rose by about 7%. Emma Burleigh, Fortune, 17 Apr. 2024 But that figure jumped to 50% under the latest labor deal with the league. Megan Cerullo, CBS News, 17 Apr. 2024 Larger than life, these figures are iconic heroes, and sometimes look the part. John Hopewell, Variety, 17 Apr. 2024 While immediate refunds don’t cost Tmall or the brands themselves logistics and shipping costs, the requests mean that initial sales figures are artificially inflated. Bloomberg, Fortune Asia, 17 Apr. 2024 Tabulated from a massive vote that had artists, industry figures, and critics weighing in, the list has been a source of conversation, inspiration, and controversy for two decades. Brittany Spanos, Rolling Stone, 17 Apr. 2024
Verb
A little nauseous but otherwise not too bad and baby girl is trying to figure things out. Hannah Sacks, Peoplemag, 5 Apr. 2024 Everyone’s journey to embracing their sexuality is different — and Chappell Roan would just like to wish everyone the best of luck in figuring it out. Stephen Daw, Billboard, 5 Apr. 2024 One of the earlier film’s minor characters, Father Brennan, figures prominently in this prequel, now played by an effectively haunting-looking Ralph Ineson (The Northman). Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, 4 Apr. 2024 The Challenger figures land one day before the U.S. Department of Labor is scheduled to release the March jobs report. Khristopher J. Brooks, CBS News, 4 Apr. 2024 Ford figured that out with its F-150 Raptor R, which boasts a 5.2-liter supercharged V8 engine delivering 700 horsepower and 640 lb.-ft. of torque. Kristin Shaw, Popular Science, 3 Apr. 2024 Scientists figured it out, and broke a world record in the process. Morgan Haefner, Quartz, 1 Apr. 2024 There are different kinds of Cal Grants, but students don’t have to figure that out. Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times, 26 Mar. 2024 Just last year, Marsh was a rookie trying to figure things out. Jaylon Thompson, Kansas City Star, 22 Mar. 2024

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

Word History

Etymology

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"

First Known Use

Noun

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

Verb

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near figure

Cite this Entry

“Figure.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/figure. Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

figure

1 of 2 noun
fig·​ure ˈfig-yər How to pronounce figure (audio)
 British and often US  ˈfig-ər
1
b
plural : arithmetic sense 2
a good head for figures
2
a
: the shape or outline of something
b
: bodily shape or form especially of a person
3
a
: something that represents a form especially of a person
b
: a diagram or pictorial illustration
c
: a combination of points, lines, or surfaces in geometry
a circle is a closed plane figure
4
5

figure

2 of 2 verb
figured; figuring ˈfig-yə-riŋ How to pronounce figure (audio)
ˈfig(-ə)-
1
: to decorate with a pattern
2
: believe sense 5, decide
figured we might win
3
: to be or appear important
figure in the news
4
figurer noun

Medical Definition

figure

noun
fig·​ure
ˈfig-yər, British & often US ˈfig-ər
1
: bodily shape or form especially of a person
a slender figure
2
a
: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on figure

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