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

The company doesn't disclose specific sales figures. Paul R. La Monica, CNN, "Tiger Woods' comeback is great for the golf business," 12 June 2019 Frames typically go right to the very bottom of the letters, and so the computer figures that the bottom part of the F is actually an E. The state should outlaw license plate frames. Gary Richards, The Mercury News, "California gas tax to jump nearly 6 cents a gallon on July 1: Roadshow," 12 June 2019 As foreclosures mount, the study says, that figure compounds. USA Today, "Seniors were sold a risk-free retirement with reverse mortgages. Now they face foreclosure.," 12 June 2019 Just that imposing, loving figure that makes everyone feel special. Jimmy Golen, courant.com, "Red Sox, Big Papi fans rally around Ortiz after shooting," 11 June 2019 On Monday, the panel hosted Watergate-era figure John Dean in a largely theatrical hearing — one Republican member suggested using a Ouija board to conjure a late president. Jennifer Haberkorn, latimes.com, "Rep. Zoe Lofgren has been through two impeachments. She doesn’t want a third," 11 June 2019 While many media figures understandably, in the wake of the election, focused on the Russia sanctions the bill included, the Iranian sanctions furthered undermined Iranian-American relations. Tyler Bellstrom, The New Republic, "The Biggest Barrier to a Leftist Foreign Policy: Democrats," 11 June 2019 Though monthly figures are volatile, concerns were raised by the news that the economy contracted by 0.4% in April largely because of car plant shutdowns from the likes of Jaguar Land Rover and Honda. Washington Post, "UK labor market strong despite Brexit uncertainties," 11 June 2019 With that in place, RAMBleed hammers the A0 and A2 activation pages shown in the figure. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Researchers use Rowhammer bit flips to steal 2048-bit crypto key," 11 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

This game did not figure to be a gimme for Washington. Scott Hanson, The Seattle Times, "Huskies hold on for a needed victory, topping San Diego 66-63 behind Jaylen Nowell’s 18 points," 13 Nov. 2018 Then again, Hand figured he’d be dealt a year ago, too. Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY, "Will Manny Machado, Brad Hand and others get traded before All-Star Game?," 9 July 2018 But other than that, the Magic don’t figure to make any high-profile signings. Josh Robbins, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Keeping Aaron Gordon, finding point guard help top Magic’s free agency wish list," 1 July 2018 Actually, almost nothing. Matt Harvey doesn’t figure to fit Cincinnati’s future or pay scale. Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati.com, "Doc: Reds should hold cards until after the season," 1 July 2018 The Royals' offense went mostly punchless for another night, this time against a starter who didn't figure to be overwhelming. Jesse Newell, kansascity, "Jakob Junis improves on biggest weakness, but Royals' losing streak goes on," 20 June 2018 Most people can figure it out their biggest priorities by consulting their bank statements, monthly calendars, or list of pet peeves. Terri Huggins Hart, Good Housekeeping, "10 Brilliant Couples Therapy Hacks That Will Help Strengthen Any Relationship," 5 Apr. 2019 Still, Europe’s richest and most successful clubs figure to have the most direct say in future plans for UEFA and FIFA. Mike Corder, The Seattle Times, "Euro clubs explore promotion-relegation for Champions League," 26 Mar. 2019 According to the sports website The Athletic, only nine teams figure to have significant cap space at their disposal this summer. Josh Robbins, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Magic Mailbag: Will Orlando re-sign Aaron Gordon?," 30 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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Statistics for figure

Last Updated

15 Jun 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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