[fig-yer; especially British fig-er]
a numerical symbol, especially an Arabic numeral.
an amount or value expressed in numbers.
figures, the use of numbers in calculating; arithmetic: to be poor at figures.
a written symbol other than a letter.
form or shape, as determined by outlines or exterior surfaces: to be round, square, or cubical in figure.
the bodily form or frame: a slender or graceful figure.
an individual bodily form or a person with reference to form or appearance: A tall figure stood in the doorway.
a character or personage, especially one of distinction: a well-known figure in society.
a person's public image or presence: a controversial political figure.
the appearance or impression made by a person or sometimes a thing: to make quite a figure in financial circles; to present a wretched figure of poverty.
a representation, pictorial or sculptured, especially of the human form: The frieze was bordered with the figures of men and animals.
an emblem, type, or symbol: The dove is a figure of peace.
Rhetoric. a figure of speech.
a textural pattern, as in cloth or wood: draperies with an embossed silk figure.
a distinct movement or division of a dance.
a movement, pattern, or series of movements in skating.
Music. a short succession of musical notes, as either a melody or a group of chords, that produces a single complete and distinct impression.
Geometry. a combination of geometric elements disposed in a particular form or shape: The circle, square, and polygon are plane figures. The sphere, cube, and polyhedron are solid figures.
Logic. the form of a categorical syllogism with respect to the relative position of the middle term.
Optics. the precise curve required on the surface of an optical element, especially the mirror or correcting plate of a reflecting telescope.
the natural pattern on a sawed wood surface produced by the intersection of knots, burls, growth rings, etc.
a phantasm or illusion.
verb (used with object), figured, figuring.
to compute or calculate (often followed by up ): to figure up a total.
to express in figures.
to mark or adorn with a design or pattern.
to portray by speech or action.
to represent or express by a figure of speech.
to represent by a pictorial or sculptured figure, a diagram, or the like; picture or depict; trace (an outline, silhouette, etc.).
Informal. to conclude, judge, reason, or think about: I figured that you wanted me to stay.
to embellish with passing notes or other decorations.
to write figures above or below (a bass part) to indicate accompanying chords.
verb (used without object), figured, figuring.
to compute or work with numerical figures.
to be or appear, especially in a conspicuous or prominent way: His name figures importantly in my report.
Informal. (of a situation, act, request, etc.) to be logical, expected, or reasonable: He quit the job when he didn't get a raise—it figured.
Verb phrases
figure in, to add in: Figure in rent and utilities as overhead.
figure on, Informal.
to count or rely on.
to take into consideration; plan on: You had better figure on running into heavy traffic leaving the city.
figure out, Informal.
to understand; solve: We couldn't figure out where all the money had gone.
to calculate; compute.
figure up, Informal. to total: The bill figures up to exactly $1000.
cut a figure. cut ( defs 84, 85b ).

1175–1225; Middle English < Old French < Latin figūra shape, trope, equivalent to fig- (base of fingere to shape) + -ūra -ure

figurable, adjective
figureless, adjective
figurer, noun
outfigure, verb (used with object), outfigured, outfiguring.
refigure, verb (used with object), refigured, refiguring.
subfigure, noun
unfigurable, adjective

1. number. 2. sum, total; price. 5. See form. 8. personality. 23. reckon. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To figure out
World English Dictionary
figure (ˈfɪɡə, US ˈfɪɡjər)
1.  any written symbol other than a letter, esp a whole number
2.  another name for digit
3.  an amount expressed numerically: a figure of 1800 was suggested
4.  (plural) calculations with numbers: he's good at figures
5.  visible shape or form; outline
6.  the human form, esp as regards size or shape: a girl with a slender figure
7.  a slim bodily shape (esp in the phrases keeporlose one's figure)
8.  a character or personage, esp a prominent or notable one; personality: a figure in politics
9.  the impression created by a person through behaviour (esp in the phrase to cut a fine, bold, etc, figure)
10.  a.  a person as impressed on the mind: the figure of Napoleon
 b.  (in combination): father-figure
11.  a representation in painting or sculpture, esp of the human form
12.  an illustration or explanatory diagram in a text
13.  a representative object or symbol; emblem
14.  a pattern or design, as on fabric or in wood
15.  a predetermined set of movements in dancing or skating
16.  geometry any combination of points, lines, curves, or planes. A plane figure, such as a circle, encloses an area; a solid figure such as a sphere, encloses a volume
17.  rhetoric See figure of speech
18.  logic Compare mood one of the four possible arrangements of the three terms in the premises of a syllogism
19.  music
 a.  figured bass See thorough bass a numeral written above or below a note in a part
 b.  a characteristic short pattern of notes
vb (when tr, often foll by up) (usually foll by in)
20.  to calculate or compute (sums, amounts, etc)
21.  informal chiefly (US), (Canadian), (NZ) (tr; usually takes a clause as object) to think or conclude; consider
22.  (tr) to represent by a diagram or illustration
23.  (tr) to pattern or mark with a design
24.  (tr) to depict or portray in a painting, etc
25.  (tr) rhetoric to express by means of a figure of speech
26.  (tr) to imagine
27.  (tr) music
 a.  to decorate (a melody line or part) with ornamentation
 b.  figured bass See thorough bass to provide figures above or below (a bass part) as an indication of the accompanying harmonies required
28.  to be included: his name figures in the article
29.  informal (intr) to accord with expectation; be logical: it figures that he wouldn't come
30.  informal go figure an expression of surprise, astonishment, wonder, etc
[C13: from Latin figūra a shape, from fingere to mould]

figure out
1.  to calculate or reckon
2.  to understand

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

early 13c., from O.Fr. figure, from L. figura "a shape, form, figure," from PIE *dheigh- "to form, build" (see dough); originally in English with meaning "numeral," but sense of "form, likeness" is almost as old (mid-13c.). The verb meaning "to picture in the mind" is from
c.1600. Related: Figured; figuring. Philosophical and scientific senses are from L. figura being used to translate Gk. skhema. The rhetorical use of figure dates to late 14c.; hence figure of speech (1824).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

figure fig·ure (fĭg'yər)

  1. A form or shape, as of the human body.

  2. A person representing the essential aspects of a particular role.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

figure out

  1. Discover or determine, as in Let's figure out a way to help. [Early 1900s]

  2. Solve or decipher, as in Can you figure out this puzzle? [Early 1800s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
Still he could not get her figure out of his mind and as he grew older it
  became more definite.
We're going to figure out the best method in the next few days and then proceed.
Now, all you need to do is figure out how to fill it.
When you understand these things, it's easy to figure out how to tune your
  irrigation system to your plants.
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature