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Usage statistics for the noun figure:

spoken English41.09%written English58.91% conversational speech9.38%task-oriented speech90.63% imaginative writing32.99%informational writing67.01%
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The word figure is considered to be an easy one, according to the Dale-Chall word list, which includes 3000 words that all fourth-grade American students should know and understand.

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Definition of the noun figure

What does figure mean as a name of something?

Figure is one of the top 100 most common nouns in the English language.View more statistics!

noun - plural: figures

  1. a diagram or picture illustrating textual material
    • example: the area covered can be seen from Figure 2
    • lexical domain: Communicative Processes - nouns denoting communicative processes and contents
    • synonym of figure: fig
    • more generic word: illustration = artwork that helps make something clear or attractive
  2. alternative names for the body of a human being
  3. one of the elements that collectively form a system of numeration
  4. a model of a bodily form (especially of a person)
    • example: he made a figure of Santa Claus
    • lexical domain: Artifacts - nouns denoting man-made objects
    • more generic words: model / simulation = representation of something
    • more specific words:
      • dummy = a figure representing the human form
      • figurehead = figure on the bow of some sailing vessels
      • statuette / figurine = a small carved or molded figure
      • marionette / puppet = a small figure of a person operated from above with strings by a puppeteer
      • snowman = a figure of a person made of packed snow
    • instance: Trojan Horse / Wooden Horse = a large hollow wooden figure of a horse (filled with Greek soldiers) left by the Greeks outside Troy during the Trojan War
  5. a well-known or notable person
  6. a combination of points and lines and planes that form a visible palpable shape
  7. an amount of money expressed numerically
  8. the impression produced by a person
    • examples: he cut a fine figure | a heroic figure
    • lexical domain: Attributes - nouns denoting attributes of people and objects
    • more generic words: effect / impression = an outward appearance
  9. the property possessed by a sum or total or indefinite quantity of units or individuals
  10. language used in a figurative or nonliteral sense
    • lexical domain: Communicative Processes - nouns denoting communicative processes and contents
    • synonyms of figure: figure of speech / image / trope
    • more generic term: rhetorical device = a use of language that creates a literary effect
    • more specific words:
      • conceit = an elaborate poetic image or a far-fetched comparison of very dissimilar things
      • irony = a trope that involves incongruity between what is expected and what occurs
      • exaggeration / hyperbole = extravagant exaggeration
      • kenning = conventional metaphoric name for something, used especially in Old English and Old Norse poetry
      • metaphor = a figure of speech in which an expression is used to refer to something that it does not literally denote in order to suggest a similarity
      • metonymy = substituting the name of an attribute or feature for the name of the thing itself
      • oxymoron = conjoining contradictory terms
      • personification / prosopopoeia = representing an abstract quality or idea as a person or creature
      • simile = a figure of speech that expresses a resemblance between things of different kinds
      • synecdoche = substituting a more inclusive term for a less inclusive one or vice versa
      • zeugma = use of a verb with two or more complements, playing on the verb's polysemy, for humorous effect
  11. a unitary percept having structure and coherence that is the object of attention and that stands out against a ground
  12. a decorative or artistic work
    • lexical domain: Artifacts - nouns denoting man-made objects
    • synonyms of figure: design / pattern
    • more generic words: decoration / ornament / ornamentation = something used to beautify
    • more specific terms:
      • argyle / argyll = a design consisting of a pattern of varicolored diamonds on a solid background
      • bear claw = an incised design resembling the claw of a bear
      • damascene = a design produced by inlaying gold or silver into steel
      • decalcomania / decal = either a design that is fixed to some surface or a paper bearing the design which is to be transferred to the surface
      • device = any ornamental pattern or design
      • emblem = special design or visual object representing a quality, type, group, etc.
      • herringbone pattern / herringbone = a pattern of columns of short parallel lines with all the lines in one column sloping one way and lines in adjacent columns sloping the other way
      • linocut = a design carved in relief into a block of linoleum
      • mandala = any of various geometric designs (usually circular) symbolizing the universe
      • mihrab = a design in the shape of niche in a Muslim prayer rug
      • motive / motif = a design or figure that consists of recurring shapes or colors, as in architecture or decoration
      • polka dot = design consisting of a pattern of regularly spaced circular spots
      • pyrograph = a design produced by pyrography
      • screen saver = a moving design that appears on a computer screen when there has been no input for a specified period of time
      • sunburst = a design consisting of a central disk resembling the sun and rays emanating from it
      • tattoo = a design on the skin made by tattooing
      • tetraskelion / tetraskele = a figure consisting of four stylized human arms or legs (or bent lines) radiating from a center
      • triskelion / triskele = a figure consisting of three stylized human arms or legs (or three bent lines) radiating from a center
      • weave = pattern of weaving or structure of a fabric
      • marking = a pattern of marks
  13. a predetermined set of movements in dancing or skating
    • example: she made the best score on compulsory figures
    • lexical domain: Acts - nouns denoting acts or actions
    • more generic words: maneuver / manoeuvre / play = a deliberate coordinated movement requiring dexterity and skill
    • more specific terms:
      • figure eight = a skating figure that carves an 8 in the ice
      • spread eagle = a skating figure executed with the skates heel to heel in a straight line

Alternative definition of the noun figure


  1. A drawing or representation conveying information.
  2. A person or thing representing a certain consciousness.
  3. A human figure, which dress or corset must fit to; the shape of human body.
  4. A numeral.
  5. A number.
  6. A shape.
  7. A visible pattern as in wood or cloth.
  8. A dance figure.
  9. A figure of speech.

Specialised definition of the noun figure

Glossary of sports

term for characterizing a movement sequence that forms a closed unit, e.g. in figure- and roller- (inline-) skating, in dancing (formation dancing), equestrian sport (dressage), and swimming (synchronized swimming). (Herbert Haag & Gerald Haag. 2003. Dictionary. Sport, Physical Education, Sport Science. Kiel, Institut für Sport und Sportwissenschaften)

Definition of the verb figure

What does figure mean as a doing word?

Figure is one of the top 1000 most common verbs in the English language.View more statistics!

verb - inflections: figured | figuring | figures

  1. judge to be probable
    • syntax:
      Syntactic formulaExample for the syntactic formula
      [Agent - being or organization] [Verb] on [Theme, noun phrase with -ing]She relies on him coming back in time
      [Agent - being or organization] [Verb] on [Theme, noun phrase with infinitive]She relies on him to help
      [Agent - being or organization] [Verb] on [Theme, possessive with -ing]She relies on his helping
      [Agent - being or organization] [Verb] on [Theme, subject control with -ing]She relies on coming back in time
      [Agent - being or organization] [Verb] on [Theme, not sentential clause]She relies on it

      Rely Verbs (with the same syntax): bank, bargain, bet, count, depend, gamble, reckon, rely, take a chance, wager.

    • lexical domain: Cognition - verbs of thinking, judging, analyzing, doubting
    • synonyms of figure: calculate / count on / estimate / forecast / reckon
    • more generic terms: evaluate / judge / pass judgment = form a critical opinion of
    • more specific terms: take into account / allow = allow or plan for a certain possibility
  2. be or play a part of or in
    • examples: Elections figure prominently in every government program | How do the elections figure in the current pattern of internal politics?
    • lexical domain: Stative - verbs of being, having, spatial relations
    • synonym of figure: enter
    • more generic word: be = have the quality of being
  3. imagine; conceive of; see in one's mind
  4. make a mathematical calculation or computation
  5. understand

Alternative definition of the verb figure


  1. To solve a mathematical problem.
  2. To come to understand.


Who is Figure?

Figure is a musical artist.


Figure a.k.a. 【FIGURe;】 is a musical group.


Figure is a record label.


  1. "Figure" is an artwork by Pablo Picasso, completed in (80 years ago).
    • subject: Human figure
  2. "Figure" is a sculpture (welded steel) by Jim Love, begun in (56 years ago).
    • media: welded steel
    • subject: Human figure
  3. "Figure" is a painting (oil paint), begun in and completed in (88 years ago).
    • media: oil paint
    • subject: Human figure
  4. "Figure" is a sculpture (bronze) by Jacques Lipchitz, begun in (89 years ago).
    • media: bronze
    • subject: Human figure
  5. "Figure" is an artwork (marble) by Isamu Noguchi, begun in (69 years ago).
    • media: marble
    • subject: Human figure
  6. "Figure" is an artwork by Joan Mir, begun in (83 years ago).
    • subject: Human figure
  7. "Figure" is an artwork by Mario Sironi.


  1. Figure: A musical figure or figuration is the shortest idea in music; a short succession of notes, often recurring. It may have melodic pitch, harmonic progression and rhythm. The 1964 Grove's Dictionary defines the figure as "the exact counterpart of the German 'motiv' and the French 'motif'": it produces a "single complete and distinct impression". To Scruton, however, "A figure is distinguished from a motif in that a figure is background while a motif is foreground: "A figure resembles a moulding in architecture: it is 'open at both ends', so as to be endlessly repeatable. In hearing a phrase as a figure, rather than a motif, we are at the same time placing it in the background, even if it is...strong and melodious.
  2. Figure: In wood, figure refers to the appearance of wood, as seen on a longitudinal surface: a "figured wood" is not plain.
  3. Figure was a small bay stallion owned by Justin Morgan; he became the foundation sire of the Morgan horse breed.
  4. Figure weaving combines many variations of the plain, twill and satin weave.

Phrases with Figure

Phrases starting with the word Figure:

  1. figure 8
  2. figure out
  3. Figure Dash
  4. figure loom
  5. Figure Poem
  6. figure eight
  7. figure skate

Phrases ending with the word Figure:

  1. Go Figure
  2. Big Figure
  3. lay figure
  4. six-figure
  5. wax figure
  6. Dark Figure
  7. Hate figure
  8. Snow Figure
  9. plane figure
  10. solid figure
  11. stick figure
  12. three-figure
  13. Action figure

View more phrases with the word Figure in thesaurus!

Printed dictionaries and other books with definitions for Figure

Click on a title to look inside that book (if available):

Google previewEngraved Prints of Texas (2005)

1554 - 1900 by Mavis Parrott Kelsey, Robin Brandt Hutchison

20} (The first figure is a Geomys clarkii, or Pecos gopher, found near the Pecos River. The second figure is a Perognathus hispidus found in Mexico and Texas. The third figure is a ...

Google previewMyths And Symbols (2012)

by Stephen D. Peet

The second figure is the raven, called by these people Caugh. This, the raven, is the...

Google previewThe American Antiquarian and Oriental Journal (1893)

The second figure is the raven, called by these people Caugh. This, the...

Google previewE.J. Brill's First Encyclopaedia of Islam, 1913-1936 (1993)

by M. Th. Houtsma

The corresponding figure is the tenth. It is unlucky, male and talib. If it is in the fourteenth place, the interval necessary for the accomplishment of the desire formulated is 150 days. It reaches the maximum size in the ninth place and strength in ...

Google previewMental Science and Methods of Mental Culture (1885)

Designed for the Use of Normal Schools, Academies, and Private Students Preparing to be Teachers by Edward Brooks

The first figure is that in which the middle term is the subject of the major and predicate of the minor premise; as, “M is P; S is M; hence S is P.” The second figure is that in which the middle term is the predicate of both premises; as, “P is M; S is ...

Google previewThe Chemistry of the Theatre (2010)

Performativity of Time by J. Limon

It has to be stressed therefore that the actor is a live human being for whom theatre is a profession or hobby, whereas the figure is a fictional creation of the former. In other words, the actor is both the co-creator and the material substance of a ...

Google previewGohar Logical Mathematics 5

by Raza Ahmad Bhatti

The following figure is a triangle. To find its perimeter, we add all its side measures. Perimeter of the triangle KLM : 3.5 cm + 2 cm + 4 cm = 9.5 cm 4 cm M Therefore, we can conclude this formula to find the perimeter of a triangle. Perimeter of a ...

Google previewA Dictionary of General Knowledge; or, an Explanation of words and things connected with all the arts and sciences. Illustrated, etc (1831)

by George Crabb

A figure is a space included within one or more boundaries, called sides; it is rectilinear when contained by right lines, and curvilinear when contained by curved...

Google previewHistorical Dictionary of Figure Skating (2011)

by James R. Hines

Introduction Figure skating is the most popular televised sport at the quadrennial Olympic Winter Games and the oldest of the winter sports, having first been contested at the games of the fourth Olympiad in London in 1908. The first official ...

Google previewNewnes Dictionary of Electronics (2002)

by S W Amos, Roger Amos

See Figure L.8. back-up Of equipment, to duplicate vital hardware so that, in the event of a failure, the normal service can be resumed with minimal delay. Of data, to make a copy of one or more files or a whole disk so that, if the original should ...

Google previewEncyclopedia of Emulsion Technology (1987)

Basic Theory, Measurement, Applications by Daniel Schuster

100X A 100% B Figure 8. Ribbon graph. amounts of some other substance or if mixtures of A and B are processed for varying length of time, the various final products can be plotted on a ribbon graph. Alternatively, if a specific starting material ...

Online dictionaries and encyclopedias with entries for Figure

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Usage statistics about figure

The following statistics are based on the British National Corpus, so they are representative for the British English from the later part of the 20th century, both spoken and written.

Usage statistics for the noun figure:

spoken English41.09%written English58.91% conversational speech9.38%task-oriented speech90.63% imaginative writing32.99%informational writing67.01%

Distribution of usage frequency for the most common synonyms of the noun figure:


Comparison of usage frequency between the noun figure and its most common antonym:


Distribution of usage frequency for the most common synonyms of the verb figure:


Photos about Figure

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View more pictures about Wax figure, Stick figure, Action figure, and Figure skating.

If you need related images for an article or a report, you can download stock photos:
Small photo of Mini figure modelSmall photo of Mini figure modelSmall photo of Mini figure modelSmall photo of Mini figure modelSmall photo of Stone figure in Koblenz, GermanySmall photo of The wooden figure Who: Figure What: Wooden figure When: 11 September 2016 Where: Kieferngrund 1, 17459 ZempinSmall photo of The wooden figure Who: Figure What: Wooden figure When: 11 September 2016 Where: Kieferngrund 1, 17459 Zempin More...

Video language resources about Figure

Click on an item to play that video:

View more videos about Go Figure, figure out, lay figure, Dark Figure, Hate figure, Snow Figure, Figure eight, Action figure, Father figure, Figure It Out, Public figure, Ballpark Figure, Figure of merit, Terminal Figure, Figure of speech, and Lissajous figure.

See also the pronunciation examples of Figure!

Quotes about Figure

You would hardly believe how difficult it is to place a figure alone on a canvas, and to concentrate all the interest on this single and universal figure and still keep it living and real. (Edouard Manet)
more quotes about figure...

Scrabble value of F4I1G2U1R1E1

The value of this 6-letter word is 10 points. It is included in the first and second editions of the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary.

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