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 figure (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 figure (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 Instead, in a fun twist, this figure is revealed to be Michael B. Jordan. Derek Lawrence, EW.com, 17 July 2021 The posts claim that the CEO was paid $700,000, but this figure comes from a different year than the 3% claim. Bayliss Wagner, USA TODAY, 16 July 2021 This figure is now likely to have declined in both countries. Sishuwa Sishuwa, Quartz, 12 July 2021 The National Institute on Drug Abuse continues to cite this figure for the percent of users who are addicted. Ryan Randazzo, The Arizona Republic, 11 July 2021 After some rancorous back-and-fourth, Kaval compromised with this figure: Zero percent, zero units. Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, 10 July 2021 There are a number of reasons this figure can change over time. Ben Carlson, Fortune, 8 July 2021 Given the diminished protection of just one dose against Delta, getting this figure up is a priority for public health officials. Robert Hart, Forbes, 7 July 2021 Her name is Sarah Fier, but little is revealed about this witch figure during the first film. Danielle Broadway, Los Angeles Times, 2 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The core of the season’s ongoing story is the arrival of Dr. Sharon Fieldstone (Sarah Niles), a sports psychologist who is brought in to help the team figure how to win, instead of continuing their streak of ending games with tie scores. oregonlive, 20 July 2021 Other potential rivals like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott have the advantage of governing states that figure prominently in national politics. Stephen Groves, ajc, 17 July 2021 Other potential rivals like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott have the advantage of governing states that figure prominently in national politics. Stephen Groves, Star Tribune, 17 July 2021 Ben never met a stranger and was always ready to help figure everything out for them. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, 15 July 2021 Another deeper worry is the broadness and vagueness of the measures, which could push up the compliance costs of companies that are already scrambling to figure what exactly the regulators want. Jane Li, Quartz, 15 July 2021 New Long Leg is a potent commentary on the now, echoing the somewhat blasé unease that inevitably results from scrolling through neverending social-media feeds and watching the 21st century try to figure itself out in real time. Leah Greenblatt, EW.com, 23 June 2021 Two detectives who share a tragic past (Emma Booth and Ewen Leslie) try to figure it all out. Chuck Barney, Detroit Free Press, 21 Mar. 2021 Two detectives who share a tragic past (Emma Booth and Ewen Leslie) try to figure it all out. Tribune News Service, cleveland, 21 Mar. 2021

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

Time Traveler for figure

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for figure

Last Updated

23 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Figure.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/figure. Accessed 25 Jul. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on figure

Nglish: Translation of figure for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of figure for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about figure

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