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 Over the last twelve months, Abbott has seen revenues grow by 16.3%, much lower than the figure of 211% for Quidel. Trefis Team, Forbes, 1 June 2021 Like the narrator’s eye, the figure of the child is a brilliant device, allowing Kawakami to get away with dissolving elemental ideas into the confusion of adolescent relationships. Merve Emre, The New Yorker, 31 May 2021 That rate exceeds the national figure of 60% and puts California among the best performing states. Chronicle Staff, San Francisco Chronicle, 30 May 2021 The economy is thought to be expanding even faster in the current April-June quarter with many analysts forecasting an annual figure of 10% or more. Arkansas Online, 29 May 2021 DeJoy, a major donor to former president Donald Trump, became a figure of national controversy last year when he was publicly accused by Democrats of hampering mail service for political reasons. Ashraf Khalil, USA TODAY, 29 May 2021 DeJoy, a major donor to former President Donald Trump, became a figure of national controversy last year when he was publicly accused by Democrats of hampering mail service for political reasons. al, 29 May 2021 The economy is thought to be expanding even faster in the current April-June quarter with many analysts forecasting an annual figure of 10% or more. Martin Crutsinger, Star Tribune, 28 May 2021 DeJoy, a major donor to former president Donald Trump, became a figure of national controversy last year when he was publicly accused by Democrats of hampering mail service for political reasons. BostonGlobe.com, 28 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Independent family physicians and primary care doctors also figure to take on a more prominent role vaccinating children and adults, particularly in areas with low vaccination rates. Catherine Ho, San Francisco Chronicle, 1 June 2021 At UConn, where the women’s basketball program has such a high profile and large following, there would figure to be significant opportunities for players to earn compensation in this area. Dom Amore, courant.com, 31 May 2021 CDR Hawkins wouldn’t be drawn on whether any single imperative like cost would weigh more heavily but given congressional hesitancy, price will surely figure prominently. Eric Tegler, Forbes, 25 May 2021 There were logistics to take care of — find people to take away the body, figure a way to do last rites. Washington Post, 24 May 2021 Did Snyder figure the game was pretty much unwinnable — especially the way his team fell apart early — and simply pull the plug? Eric Walden, The Salt Lake Tribune, 30 Apr. 2021 The assault allegations in Southern California could figure into the Smart case. Matthew Ormseth, Los Angeles Times, 27 Apr. 2021 The 49ers apparently will have lots of time to figure it out. Ann Killion, SFChronicle.com, 7 Dec. 2020 Some smart neighbors will figure, ‘Well, if the ships can’t come here, maybe that (annoying) terminal goes away.’ ... Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, 16 May 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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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

5 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Figure.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/figure. Accessed 15 Jun. 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

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