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


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

Other Words from figure


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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Her lissom figure is emphasized by narrow tree trunks and the slender legs of horse ridden through the forest. Natasha Gural, Forbes, 24 June 2022 The Seawolves ski team reached its fundraising figure of $628,000 in fewer than five months and was reinstated in mid-January 2021. Chris Bieri, Anchorage Daily News, 23 June 2022 If instead the yield on the 10-year Treasury security this year averages its current 3.25 percent figure, taxpayers would pay an additional $32 billion in interest, according to the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. David J. Lynch, Washington Post, 19 June 2022 However, its competitive balance figure of 190 from last fall keeps it in Division II. Matt Goul, cleveland, 13 June 2022 In the clip, Spears is wearing her off-the-shoulder Versace wedding gown, beautifully tailored to her figure, with a thigh-high slit and a long train. Aimée Lutkin, ELLE, 12 June 2022 The three-time world champion figure skater is releasing a memoir, to be followed by a children's book, PEOPLE can exclusively reveal. Sam Gillette,, 9 June 2022 Needless to say, her figure is less than desirable. oregonlive, 9 June 2022 In the early 1950s, Newton teenager Tenley Albright, a talented figure skater, used to practice her spins there. Mark Shanahan,, 28 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Directors suggest a mood or a feeling, and Foley artists are left to figure it out. Anna Wiener, The New Yorker, 27 June 2022 Every year, one organization tries to figure it out. Colin Lodewick, Fortune, 23 June 2022 Five is more confused than ever and walks off, seemingly to go figure a few things out. Maggie Fremont,, 22 June 2022 Then there’s Nia Akins (1:58.82) and Sage Hurta (1:59.59), rising young pros who figure into the dogfight for second and third place. Brian Metzler, Outside Online, 22 June 2022 Espinoza has said police took five days to tell her an officer shot Andre, leaving her to figure it out herself using news articles about the incident. Safia Samee Ali, NBC News, 14 June 2022 Hopefully the people that get paid to make those decisions figure that out. Lorenzo Reyes, USA TODAY, 14 June 2022 Hopefully, the people that get paid to make those decisions figure that out. Dave Clark, The Enquirer, 14 June 2022 If there’s a little partnering stumble, everyone goes over to help figure it out. Sarah L. Kaufman, Washington Post, 10 June 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of figure


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


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

History and Etymology for figure


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


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

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

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figure caster

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Last Updated

28 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Figure.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for figure


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


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?


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 Encyclopedia article about figure


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