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
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 perplexingwhy 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 But the overall figure is dwarfed by the $1 billion settlement Pacific Gas & Electric reached with local governments in Northern California for fires its equipment caused in recent years. Brian Melley, The Denver Post, "Utility to pay $360 million for major Southern California wildfires," 13 Nov. 2019 When the fees associated with the sale are included, the overall figure jumps to approximately $620,000, or 484,000 British pounds. Fox News, "Chinese vase bought for $1 sells for $500G," 13 Nov. 2019 The school valued Carrell’s skills in the low six figures—he was offered a spot on the Storm roster, single-handedly eliminating all his future debt in the name of video games. Luke Winkie, The Atlantic, "Where Gamers Are the Only Varsity Athletes," 13 Nov. 2019 Five different players have notched double figures at least once, with Mariella Fasoula scoring 29 most recently against Radford. Alexa Philippou, courant.com, "UConn women’s basketball vs. Vanderbilt: time, how to watch, broadcasters, preview," 13 Nov. 2019 Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren and other prominent figures think this a problem, and want to break up the big tech firms. Allison Schrager, Quartz, "The best way to tame Big Tech isn’t necessarily to break it up," 13 Nov. 2019 Her speech lauded the efforts of social activists from past and present but took time to distinguish one prominent figure: Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Chris Bumbaca, USA TODAY, "In speech, Megan Rapinoe praises Colin Kaepernick: '(He's) still effectively banned from the NFL'," 13 Nov. 2019 Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, seemed alarmed at how quickly Mr. Solomon’s story was amplified by high-profile figures like Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Trump’s son. New York Times, "The Man Trump Trusts for News on Ukraine," 12 Nov. 2019 Free Playmobil figure mystery packs and coloring books will be given away. Amy Schwabe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Playmobil is bringing toy showrooms to two U.S. stores: FAO Schwarz in New York and The Smiley Barn in Delafield," 12 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Tesla helped me figure myself out’ Tesla contends the USA TODAY’s focus on safety issues is unfair. USA Today, "Worker injuries, 911 calls, housing crisis: Recruiting Tesla exacts a price," 12 Nov. 2019 And, of course, not all of us have the time (or desire) to figure these things out, which is why there is definitely a market for a more personalized and streamlined approach to lipstick shade-matching. Rebecca Dancer, Allure, "Clinique Launches Even Better Pop Lip Colour Foundation, a New Way to Find Your Ideal Shades of Lipstick," 5 Nov. 2019 The way teaching would happen was: Here's a pork butt, figure it out. Hilary Cadigan, Bon Appétit, "Erika Nakamura and Jocelyn Guest on Butchering, Motherhood, and Starting Over," 30 Oct. 2019 There was also no plan for how to convert Pacific Coast Highway into a one-way road, which left a single California Highway Patrol officer to figure it out, the report stated. Matt Stiles, Los Angeles Times, "Woolsey fire response hurt by poor disaster preparation, lack of firefighters, report says," 23 Oct. 2019 But Mindy wants you to have the basic information and then use deductive reasoning to figure it out. Dahlia Ghabour, The Courier-Journal, "Who run the world? This Louisville culinary program proves it's female chefs," 22 Oct. 2019 The questions piled up, and teams of scientists flocked to Greenland to figure it out. Jonathan Nackstrand, National Geographic, "Greenland's melting ice may affect everyone's future," 15 Oct. 2019 Take everything with a grain of salt, and use the stud finder in conjunction with the placement of electrical and plumbing fixtures to figure things out. Bradley Ford, Popular Mechanics, "The Best Stud Finders for Any Job," 16 Sep. 2019 Jones will be joined by juniors Alex O’Connell or Jordan Goldwire or newcomer Stanley—who figures to get his share of starting assignments as a freakishly athletic shooting guard—in the backcourt and Moore should see immediate minutes at the three. Emily Caron, SI.com, "Duke Expecting Big Things From Five-Star Big Man Vernon Carey Jr.," 13 Sep. 2019

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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Statistics for figure

Last Updated

16 Nov 2019

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
How to pronounce figure (audio)

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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