• Two figures walk through a snowy landscape
    Two figures walk through a snowy landscape
  • WordNet 3.6
    • adj figurative (used of the meanings of words or text) not literal; using figures of speech "figurative language"
    • adj figurative consisting of or forming human or animal figures "a figural design","the figurative art of the humanistic tradition"- Herbert Read"
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

two uniformed figures two uniformed figures
Decorated with figures and text Decorated with figures and text
Showing the entrance with carvings of figures above it Showing the entrance with carvings of figures above it
Showing columns with decorated frieze above, including figures and inscription Showing columns with decorated frieze above, including figures and inscription
Showing central figures with floral design, the whole surrounded by a repeating key pattern Showing central figures with floral design, the whole surrounded by a repeating key pattern
Showing doors, columns and carved figures Showing doors, columns and carved figures
Showing figures and inscription Showing figures and inscription
Features a large carved figure and a frieze of smaller figures Features a large carved figure and a frieze of smaller figures

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: In 1908, figure skating became the first winter sport to be included in the Olympics.
    • Figurative Abounding in figures of speech; flowery; florid; as, a highly figurative description.
    • Figurative Relating to the representation of form or figure by drawing, carving, etc. See Figure n., 2. "They belonged to a nation dedicated to the figurative arts, and they wrote for a public familiar with painted form."
    • Figurative Representing by a figure, or by resemblance; typical; representative. "This, they will say, was figurative , and served, by God's appointment, but for a time, to shadow out the true glory of a more divine sanctity."
    • Figurative Used in a sense that is tropical, as a metaphor; not literal; -- applied to words and expressions.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: Scientists have figured out that the speed of nerve impulses in the brain is 404 feet per second. If an idea is complex enough to take 100 nerve messages from one side of the brain to the other, the thought could be completed in less than a tenth of a second.
    • figurative Representing by means of a figure; manifesting or suggesting by resemblance; typical; emblematic.
    • figurative Of the nature of or involving a figure of rhetoric; used in a metaphorical or tropical sense; metaphorical; not literal.
    • figurative Abounding with figures of speech; ornate; flowery; florid: as, a description highly figurative.
    • figurative In music, same as figurate, 3.
    • figurative In geometry, at infinity.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: The annual Night of the Radishes is held in Oaxaca, Mexico. It's held on December 23rd of every year as part of a pre-Christmas tradition. Farmers carve figures from radishes and display them in the city's main plaza.
    • adj Figurative (rhet.) representing by, containing, or abounding in figures: metaphorical: flowery: typical
    • ***


  • Francis Bacon
    “A graceful and pleasing figure is a perpetual letter of recommendation.”
  • T. S. Eliot
    “Hell is oneself, hell is alone, the other figures in it merely projections. There is nothing to escape from and nothing to escape to. One is always alone.”
  • William E. Gladstone
    “He is the purest figure in history. [About George Washington]”
  • Michael Burke
    Michael Burke
    “Good instincts usually tell you what to do before your head has figured it out.”
  • Ezra Pound
    “A heroic figure... not wholly to blame for the religion that's been foisted on him.”
  • Charles Haddon Spurgeon
    “It is a great pity when the one who should be the head figure is a mere figure head.”


Ballpark figure - A ballpark figure is a rough or approximate number (guesstimate) to give a general idea of something, like a rough estimate for a cost, etc.
Father figure - A father figure is an older man, often in a position of power or authority, who commands great respect and inspires feelings like those for a father.


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. figurativus,: cf. F. figuratif,. See Figurative
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Fr.,—L. figura, fingĕre, to form.


In literature:

The facts and figures in it had been well arranged.
"The Coryston Family" by Mrs. Humphry Ward
But the figure was so shadowy that he could tell nothing about him.
"The Rock of Chickamauga" by Joseph A. Altsheler
There is no harm, either, if the stuffed figure be given the simulated habiliments of some friend of yours.
"The Wolf's Long Howl" by Stanley Waterloo
Figures 3 and 4 are representations of the Parsee towers of silence, drawn by Mr. Holmes, mainly from the description given.
"A further contribution to the study of the mortuary customs of the North American Indians" by H. C. Yarrow
Her pictures are not large and are principally figures or figures in landscape, and all in water-colors.
"Women in the fine arts, from the Seventh Century B.C. to the Twentieth Century A.D." by Clara Erskine Clement
Natural weakness is portrayed in figure 1; sudden weakness in figure 4.
"Delsarte System of Oratory" by Various
After a moment he became aware of a figure at his elbow.
"The Rules of the Game" by Stewart Edward White
A tiny figure appeared riding down the first long grade, and then another figure.
"Partners of Chance" by Henry Herbert Knibbs
The figures of this account were very large, totalling into six figures.
"The Story of the Foss River Ranch" by Ridgwell Cullum
I sold her a four-figure bill in half an hour.
"Half Portions" by Edna Ferber
He had moved swiftly, his lean figure propelled towards the window by long, nervous strides.
"The Man in the Twilight" by Ridgwell Cullum
A figure, so distant that only a keen eye would notice it, was approaching.
"The Free Rangers" by Joseph A. Altsheler
"A Voyage to New Holland" by William Dampier
The lock bore both figures and letters in concentric rings, and he saw that the seven figures Harry had written formed a word.
"Satan Sanderson" by Hallie Erminie Rives
The sixth drawer contains six curved figures (an ellipse, an oval, etc., and a flower-like figure formed by four crossed arcs).
"The Montessori Method" by Maria Montessori
The human figure and the recognisable natural object were only auxiliaries, never the sought-for result.
"Modern Painting, Its Tendency and Meaning" by Willard Huntington Wright
As this was a favorable opportunity, I asked and obtained a sight of this mysterious figure.
"Discoveries among the Ruins of Nineveh and Babylon" by Austen H. Layard
There were black figures standing around the fire holes.
"Mountain" by Clement Wood
A huge sombre figure filled it and there was a little musical jingle of keys.
"The Drunkard" by Cyril Arthur Edward Ranger Gull
In figures 80 and 81 the red does not represent bone as in the other figures, but simply the ligamentum longitudinale superius.
"The Works of Francis Maitland Balfour, Volume 1" by Francis Maitland Balfour

In poetry:

A fragment moon hangs from the bare tung tree
The water clock runs out, all is still
Who sees the dim figure come and go alone
Misty, indistinct, the shadow of a lone wild goose?
"Pu suan tzu" by Su Tung-po
"So sang the Gotham wise men, while the bowl
Upon an ebbing tide mov'd from the shore,
And as their figures blurr'd with distance, sang
Again, and fainter both the tune and words.
"The Passing Of The Sages" by Oscar Fay Adams
The figures are placed at the grave of my bones.
All figures knowing it is the other death
they came for. Each figure standing alone.
The heart burst with love and lost its breath.
"The Break" by Anne Sexton
Nothing beyond. Ah yes! From out the station
A stiff, gaunt figure thrown against the sky,
Beckoning me with some wooden salutation
Caught from his signals as the train flashed by;
"The Station-Master Of Lone Prairie" by Francis Bret Harte
"Wouldst thou be for ever dull and idle,"
Said the boy, "no wisdom thou'lt attain to;
See, I'll straightway paint for thee a figure,—
How to paint a beauteous figure, show thee."
"Love As A Landscape Painter" by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
So when the declin'd years their course have run,
And mortals trod the path they trod before;
My name or birth-place shall no more be known,
Eras'd like figures on the sandy shore.
"Time: An Elegy. Written Near The Ruins Of Elgin Cathedral" by Robert Alves

In news:

Threshold Repertory Theatre is celebrating its third season by taking audiences on a figurative world tour.
But it doesn't come natural -- behind her slim and svelte figure is a regimented diet and a multitasking fitness workout.
People complained about the Taco Bell dog and the sock puppet (the latter our favorite tv figure of the year, and when does he get to host his own talk show?
Figuring out who has which type hasn't been easy.
All you have to figure out i.
That's just one of the reasons the Air Force is trying to figure out how to use it as a fuel source.
Although a seemingly positive development, this figure is on par with the revenues the industry recorded in the 2000-2001 financial year.
Abir Sabri, celebrated for her alabaster skin, ebony hair, pouting lips and full figure, used to star in racy Egyptian TV shows and movies.
The Bubbleman is a ubiquitous figure in the West Seattle area entertaining kids with his creations.
Americans sue one another all the time, so the idea of attaching a monetary figure to one's suffering or loss should hardly come as a shock.
With its small population but large number of retail stores lining Interstate 5, Burlington has the highest retail sales per person for cities in Washington, according to new figures from the state Department of Revenue.
Figures were compiled from the "ratio of outstanding debt by type" listed on each state's most recent CAFR report.
Economist at event at Blue Ridge CTC says true unemployment figure is about 16 percent.
The stick figures spray-painted on the Capitol may be around for a little bit longer.
Speculation began on Saturday, and was refueled again today, that House Democrats, led by Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes, would figure out a way to--at the very least--make sure a telecom immunity provision becomes law.

In science:

Figure 2: Figures depict the running time (in seconds) vs increasing number of rows/columns (scaled by 1000) for the case of random dense overdetermined (Figure 2(a)) and underdetermined (Figure 2(b)) least squares problems.
Randomized Extended Kaczmarz for Solving Least-Squares
The limitation of this can clearly be seen in Figure 1(d), where a segmental model has been trained on the data in Figure 1(a) and then used to parse the speci(cid:12)c waveform in Figure 1(b) (\parsing" means inferring the most likely state sequence given the model).
Modeling Waveform Shapes with Random Eects Segmental Hidden Markov Models
Figure 22: Projection of the file “Verbes.xml” The menu in Figure 22 displays the lexical entries of the constructed files. Figure 23 is an example of the verbs that are found in the file "Verbes.xml".
A prototype for projecting HPSG syntactic lexica towards LMF
In the example given in Figure 4, we consider the last prime number to be 2003 and we find the prime pairs for even numbers over the range 4 to 2002. The number of primes with a difference of 2 is 35, with a difference of 4 is 65, and with a difference of 6 is 129. Figure 4 is roughly the mirror image of Figure 2.
On Randomness of Goldbach Sequences
Typical realizations of these periodizations are represented on Figures 8 and 9 for N = 100 — 4 periods are reproduced. A close look at Figure 9 reveals the mismatch between stationarity and enforced periodicity (which does not appear on Figure 8 — this is the core of the “coupling” strategy).
Random walk in random environment, corrector equation, and homogenized coefficients: from theory to numerics, back and forth
In Figure 2 the graph of the riskiness ρ (Figure 2(a)) as well as the solution λ of equation (1) (Figure 2(b)), which is the reciprocal of the riskiness, is plotted against the maximal gain b of the gambles.
The Foster-Hart Measure of Riskiness for General Gambles
In addition, because the βcusp in Figure 2 are twice as large as those in Figure 1 (they are not drawn according to the proportion in the two Figures), the areas or the probabilities to yield more than two images of a single source for the cases in Figure 2 would be much larger than those in Figure 1.
Multipole Gravitational Lensing and High-order Perturbations on the Quadrupole Lens
Every evolving graph or multigraph traces a path in Figure 2, just as it does in Figure 1; but in Figure 2 the state (r, d) represents excess r and deficiency d.
The birth of the giant component
The same procedure could be used to define branch state vectors in spacetimes with closed timelike curves (Figure 2), in spacetimes with spatial topology change (Figure 1), and in evaporating black hole spacetimes (Figure 3).
Generalized Quantum Theory and Black Hole Evaporation
Nonspecial sheets of valence ≥ 3 we shrink to the middle as shown in Figure 21 where the collapse of the two nonspecial sheets from Figure 18 is shown (the meaning of the arrow in Figure 21 will be explained below).
Random Matrices and Random Permutations
However, we note that Figure 4 of Takamiya et al. shows B − mZ vs. B , rather than mZ . A similar representation of Figure 8 of this paper looks very similar to Figure 4a of Takamiya et al., which is reasonable, given that Figure 8 implies a strong compression of the mZ axis, which effectively hides the scale error.
On the CCD Calibration of Zwicky galaxy magnitudes & The Properties of Nearby Field Galaxies
Coupling into and from the past (see Figure 8) is to coupling into and into the past (Figure 7) as binary-backoff coupling from the past algorithm (Figure 2) is to the coupling into the past (Figure 1).
How to Couple from the Past Using a Read-Once Source of Randomness
Chandra’s capability for high-resolution imaging (§ 4.1.1) enables detailed high-resolution studies of the structure of extended x-ray sources, including supernova remnants (Figure 11), astrophysical jets (Figure 16, and hot gas in galaxies and clusters of galaxies (Figure 17).
Chandra X-Ray Observatory (CXO):Overview
Figure 6B shows the same analysis as Figure 5B, indicating that there are no bins with a statistically significant deviation from the hypothesis of an isotropic distribution. Of the 42 very short S GRBs, there are 19 in the excess region (Figure 5)..
Primordial Black Holes and the Asymmetrical Distribution of Short GRB Events
Figure 5 shows the evolution of Eg and that of Eu as function of PH pressure. Eg values were determined from Tauc formula expressed by equation 2 using figure 6 plotting, and those of Eu from Urbach law formulated by equation 3 using figure 7 graphing.
On the Structural and Optical Properties of Sputtered Hydrogenated Amorphous Silicon Thin Films