figure

Definitions

  • Two figures walk through a snowy landscape
    Two figures walk through a snowy landscape
  • WordNet 3.6
    • v figure understand "He didn't figure her"
    • v figure make a mathematical calculation or computation
    • v figure judge to be probable
    • v figure imagine; conceive of; see in one's mind "I can't see him on horseback!","I can see what will happen","I can see a risk in this strategy"
    • v figure be or play a part of or in "Elections figure prominently in every government program","How do the elections figure in the current pattern of internal politics?"
    • n figure a predetermined set of movements in dancing or skating "she made the best score on compulsory figures"
    • n figure a decorative or artistic work "the coach had a design on the doors"
    • n figure a model of a bodily form (especially of a person) "he made a figure of Santa Claus"
    • n figure the impression produced by a person "he cut a fine figure","a heroic figure"
    • n figure the property possessed by a sum or total or indefinite quantity of units or individuals "he had a number of chores to do","the number of parameters is small","the figure was about a thousand"
    • n figure alternative names for the body of a human being "Leonardo studied the human body","he has a strong physique","the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak"
    • n figure a unitary percept having structure and coherence that is the object of attention and that stands out against a ground
    • n figure a diagram or picture illustrating textual material "the area covered can be seen from Figure 2"
    • n figure language used in a figurative or nonliteral sense
    • n figure a well-known or notable person "they studied all the great names in the history of France","she is an important figure in modern music"
    • n figure an amount of money expressed numerically "a figure of $17 was suggested"
    • n figure one of the elements that collectively form a system of numeration "0 and 1 are digits"
    • n figure a combination of points and lines and planes that form a visible palpable shape
    • ***

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: The word Nike comes from Greek Mythology. Nike is the goddess of victory and was often depicted as a small winged figure whom the goddess Athene carried
    • Figure A character or symbol representing a number; a numeral; a digit; as, 1, 2,3, etc.
    • Figure (Geom) A diagram or drawing, made to represent a magnitude or the relation of two or more magnitudes; a surface or space inclosed on all sides; -- called superficial when inclosed by lines, and solid when inclosed by surfaces; any arrangement made up of points, lines, angles, surfaces, etc.
    • Figure (Music) A form of melody or accompaniment kept up through a strain or passage; a musical phrase or motive; a florid embellishment.
    • Figure (Astrol) A horoscope; the diagram of the aspects of the astrological houses.
    • Figure (Rhet) A mode of expressing abstract or immaterial ideas by words which suggest pictures or images from the physical world; pictorial language; a trope; hence, any deviation from the plainest form of statement. Also called a figure of speech. "To represent the imagination under the figure of a wing."
    • Figure A pattern in cloth, paper, or other manufactured article; a design wrought out in a fabric; as, the muslin was of a pretty figure .
    • Figure A person, thing, or action, conceived of as analogous to another person, thing, or action, of which it thus becomes a type or representative. "Who is the figure of Him that was to come."
    • Figure (Dancing) Any one of the several regular steps or movements made by a dancer.
    • Figure (Music) Any short succession of notes, either as melody or as a group of chords, which produce a single complete and distinct impression.
    • Figure Distinguished appearance; magnificence; conspicuous representation; splendor; show. "That he may live in figure and indulgence."
    • Figure The appearance or impression made by the conduct or career of a person; as, a sorry figure . "I made some figure there.""Gentlemen of the best figure in the county."
    • Figure (Logic) The form of a syllogism with respect to the relative position of the middle term.
    • Figure The form of anything; shape; outline; appearance. "Flowers have all exquisite figures ."
    • Figure The representation of any form, as by drawing, painting, modeling, carving, embroidering, etc.; especially, a representation of the human body; as, a figure in bronze; a figure cut in marble. "A coin that bears the figure of an angel."
    • Figure To calculate; to contrive; to scheme; as, he is figuring to secure the nomination.
    • Figure To embellish with design; to adorn with figures. "The vaulty top of heaven Figured quite o'er with burning meteors."
    • Figure (Mus) To embellish.
    • Figure To indicate by numerals; also, to compute. "As through a crystal glass the figured hours are seen."
    • Figure To make a figure; to be distinguished or conspicious; as, the envoy figured at court. "Sociable, hospitable, eloquent, admired, figuring away brilliantly."
    • Figure To prefigure; to foreshow. "In this the heaven figures some event."
    • Figure To represent by a figure, as to form or mold; to make an image of, either palpable or ideal; also, to fashion into a determinate form; to shape. "If love, alas! be pain I bear,""No thought can figure , and no tongue declare.Prior."
    • Figure To represent by a metaphor; to signify or symbolize. "Whose white vestments figure innocence."
    • Figure (Mus) To write over or under the bass, as figures or other characters, in order to indicate the accompanying chords.
    • Figure Value, as expressed in numbers; price; as, the goods are estimated or sold at a low figure . "With nineteen thousand a year at the very lowest figure ."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: The reason firehouses have circular stairways is from the days of yorewhen the engines were pulled by horses. The horses were stabled on theground floor and figured out how to walk up straight staircases.
    • n figure A line, or a collection of connected straight or curved lines or surfaces, having a definite shape; specifically, in geometry, any combination of lines, surfaces, or solids formed under given conditions.
    • n figure In general, the visible or tangible form of anything; the shape of the outline or exterior surface; form; shape; fashion: as, a beautiful female figure; the grotesque figure of a satyr; the figure of the earth.
    • n figure Hence A body; a visible object or shape; especially, a human form as a whole; a person regarded simply as a body; an appearance representing a body.
    • n figure The artificial representation of a form, as in sculpture, drawing or painting, embroidery, etc.; especially, the human body represented by art of any kind.
    • n figure A cut or diagram inserted in printed text, or one of a number of representations on the same plate. Abbreviated fig.
    • n figure A personage or personality; a character; especially, a person of standing or consideration: as, he is a figure, or a conspicuous figure, in the society of the place.
    • n figure Appearance or manifestation; show; display; standing; position: used of the comparative prominence, consideration, or estimation of a person or thing, and in an absolute sense to signify marked prominence, importance, or distinction.
    • n figure Outward manifestation; the state of being set out in regular order.
    • n figure In logic, the form of a syllogism with respect to the relative position of the middle term. In the second figure the middle term is predicate of both premises; in the third figure it is the subject of both. Some logicians admit only three figures, and they define the first figure as having the middle term the subject of one premise and the predicate of the other. Other logicians admit four figures, and define the first as having the middle term the subject of that premise which contains the predicate of the conclusion, and the predicate of the other premise; while the fourth figure has the middle term the subject of that premise which contains the subject of the conclusion, and the predicate of the other.
    • n figure In astrology, a diagram which represents the heavens at any time; a scheme; a horoscope; also, a diagram used in the practice of geomancy.
    • n figure A movement of a dance; one of the regular divisions of a dance, comprising a special set of evolutions, and separated from the next movement by a slight pause.
    • n figure In music: A short theme or motive having a distinct rhythmic, melodic, or harmonic individuality, which is often the germ of extended movements; usually, the shortest complete idea or form into which a phrase can be divided without being reduced to separate tones.
    • n figure A numeral subjoined to a written bass to indicate briefly the nature of the unwritten harmony. see figured bass, under bass.
    • n figure Any significant written or printed character other than a letter; specifically, an arithmetical character, especially one of the Arabic figures, the nine digits and the cipher: sometimes used of a digit, as distinguished from a cipher: as, a full figure.
    • n figure Value, as expressed in numbers; price: as, the goods were sold at a high figure.
    • n figure A mystical type; an antecedent symbol or emblem; that which prefigures or represents a coming reality.
    • n figure In rhetoric, a peculiar or special use of words; employment of words in forms, combinations, or meanings different from those properly or ordinarily assigned to them; use of certain forms of speech to produce a special effect. An unintentional, unauthorized, or unjustifiable deviation from grammatical usage is not a figure, but a solecism. The names of most of the figures of rhetoric are inherited from the terms used by the ancient Greek and Roman grammarians and rhetoricians. Also called figure of speech.
    • n figure An image; a fancy; a product of the imagination.
    • figure To make a figure, image, likeness, or picture of; represent artificially in any way: as, to figure a plant, shell, etc.
    • figure To cover or adorn with figures or images; mark with figures; form figures in by art; fashion into a figure; diversify; variegate: as, to figure velvet or muslin.
    • figure To represent figuratively or symbolically; symbolize.
    • figure To imagine; image in the mind.
    • figure To prefigure; foreshow.
    • figure To mark with or note by significant figures; mark or indicate significantly or numerically: as, to figure the dial of a clock, or the hours on the dial; to figure the bass in music to show the intended harmony.
    • figure To set down or reckon up in numerical figures; make a calculation of: as, to figure, figure up, or figure out costs, profits, or losses.
    • figure In music: To embellish by adding passing-notes or other decorations, especially definite figures much repeated.
    • figure See del. 6, and figured bass, under bass.
    • figure To make a figure; show one's self; be seen or prominent; take a part.
    • figure To cipher; work by means of figures; make a calculation: as, to figure at a problem; to figure upon a proposed bargain.
    • n figure In ornamental woodwork, the grain of the wood, especially such grain when of unusual richness and when used with special care as a part of the design.
    • n figure plural The highest division of the lowest grade in the classical course in a Jesuit school.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: A Connecticut Toy maker, Herobuilders, sells action figures of President George W. Bush, Islamic militant Osama bin Laden, New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, which are all major figures tied to the September 11, 2001 WTC attacks
    • n Figure fig′ūr the form of anything in outline: the representation of anything in drawing, &c.: a drawing: a design: a statue: appearance: a character denoting a number: value or price: :
    • v.t Figure to form or shape: to make an image of: to mark with figures or designs: to imagine: to symbolise: to foreshow: to note by figures
    • v.i Figure to make figures: to appear as a distinguished person
    • n Figure fig′ūr (rhet.) a deviation from the ordinary mode of expression, in which words are changed from their literal signification or usage
    • n Figure fig′ūr (logic) the form of a syllogism with respect to the position of the middle term: steps in a dance: a type or emblem
    • ***

Quotations

  • T. S. Eliot
    T.%20S.%20Eliot
    “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
    William%20E.%20Gladstone
    “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
    Ezra%20Pound
    “A heroic figure... not wholly to blame for the religion that's been foisted on him.”
  • Charles Haddon Spurgeon
    Charles%20Haddon%20Spurgeon
    “It is a great pity when the one who should be the head figure is a mere figure head.”
  • Jean-Paul Sartre
    Jean-Paul%20Sartre
    “Everything has been figured out, except how to live.”

Idioms

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.
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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.
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Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
F., figure, L. figura,; akin to fingere, to form, shape, feign. See Feign
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Fr.,—L. figura, fingĕre, to form.

Usage

In literature:

It reflected a weak, ungraceful figure and thin face.
"War and Peace" by Leo Tolstoy
Olga, the wardrobe woman, came out from behind her counter, and stood looking down the marble staircase after the small flying figure.
"Long Live the King" by Mary Roberts Rinehart
The stranger drover followed the meagre, shirt-clad figure with shifty eyes; then he buried his face in his mug.
"Bob, Son of Battle" by Alfred Ollivant
It was a Mulehaus job, as we figured it.
"The Sleuth of St. James's Square" by Melville Davisson Post
The figure behind him may mean an island, on which are represented some pueblos and human figures.
"The Prehistoric World" by E. A. Allen
Literally and figuratively this was the final straw.
"Mark Twain, A Biography, 1835-1910, Complete" by Albert Bigelow Paine
Like figures are round figures with round, and irregular and triangular with those of the same kind.
"Essays and Miscellanies" by Plutarch
My Lord Bacon says, that a pleasing figure is a perpetual letter of recommendation.
"The PG Edition of Chesterfield's Letters to His Son" by The Earl of Chesterfield
A man sat at the desk placing figures on a sheet of paper.
"The Blazed Trail" by Stewart Edward White
Taken singly, I suppose that none of the figures in the chapel, except the Virgin's grandmother, should be rated very highly.
"Essays on Life, Art and Science" by Samuel Butler
And all the life between seemed to be suddenly wiped away as a sponge wipes figures off a slate.
"The Captives" by Hugh Walpole
Her figure, sharply outlined in the moonlight, was superb.
"The Men Who Wrought" by Ridgwell Cullum
Then I turned to a path which I figured ought to lead me home.
"Fifty Contemporary One-Act Plays" by Various
Berchem has an Italian Landscape and Figures; an Italian Landscape or Pastoral (dated 1648), with life-sized figures.
"The Standard Galleries - Holland" by Esther Singleton
They were confronted by Leonidas and Clearchus, who stood over the prostrate figure with drawn swords.
"The Golden Hope" by Robert H. Fuller
What should be put on the board, whether the figure alone, or the figure and the proof, depends upon the proposition.
"The Teaching of Geometry" by David Eugene Smith
It forms a tree and has many quaint figures in its intricate design.
"Cathedral Cities of Italy" by William Wiehe Collins
At that moment, a figure moving nearer the wall passed him, walking swiftly.
"Saul of Tarsus" by Elizabeth Miller
In the left hand the figure holds a palm branch, a symbol of conquest.
"The Story of Seville" by Walter M. Gallichan
When the departing congregation had cleared away, his eyes were drawn towards a kneeling figure in front.
"The Outcaste" by F. E. Penny
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In poetry:

Her motionless figure on the road. The song
Rang still between them, vibrant bell to answering bell,
Full of young glory as a bugle; strong;
Still brave; now breaking like a sea-bird's cry 'Farewell!'
"Bitterness" by Victoria Sackville-West
The sun is setting behind the range,
his golden rays pour down
On a little figure, childish, strange,
Bending over a volume worn,
Whose green-clad cover, dusty and torn,
Bears a 'harp without a crown'.
"A Young Rebel" by Alice Guerin Crist
A doubtful figure climbs on the distant steep
Like a love whose unshapen features change and flow;
And the mists that soar from immobile roots asleep
Aspire, it would seem, to a goal where all things go.
"Crimen Amoris" by Clark Ashton Smith
"You never see a decent figure'ead —
Not now," Bill said,
"A fiddlin' bit o' scroll-work at the bow
That's the most now . . .
But Lord! I've seen some beauties, more'n a few,
An' some rare rum uns, too.
"Figureheads" by Cicely Fox Smith
She rose at length, she unknotted the halter; she walked and led
the stallion; two figures, woman and stallion,
Came down the silent emptiness of the dome of the hill, under
the cataract of the moonlight.
"Roan Stallion" by Robinson Jeffers
And now did the portrait a twin-sister seem
To the figure of Geraldine fair:
With the same sweet expression did faithfully teem
Each muscle; each feature; in short not a gleam
Was lost of her beautiful hair.
"The Paint-Kings" by Washington Allston

In news:

He once seemed able to figure out ways to win majors like no other player could.
Wrecking, he figures, is just part of racing.
But I figure credible organizations will go only so far in cooking the numbers.
You can figure it really is love when the bride, known for her patrician roots, has her family and friends learn complicated Greek dances before the wedding.
When Bird gets a boo-boo, his friends all try to figure out a way to make him happy again.
Now Mendelsohn divides his time between this apartment in New York, Bard College (where he is the Charles Ranlett Flint Professor of Humanities), and the Princeton area, where he is a father figure to the two children of a female friend.
Many radio folk in the United States are still trying to figure out what it even is.
Does it ever seem to you that almost the minute your kids or grandkids are finished with one activity, they're struggling to figure out what to do next.
Michigan's Al Borges trying to figure out offense's road woes.
In early July my body was invaded by some corkscrew creatures and I just recently figured out that they invited some "friends" along.
With so many tabletop music systems hitting shelves, Bose figured it was time for a little upgrade.
Staci Glover may be one of the best known figures in Brookside , even though she doesn't live there anymore.
He says he's sometimes the father figure in the lives of some of the men and women he teaches.
When local artist Lillian Brue looks at the map she's labored over for the past two-plus months, she sees more than buildings and figures.
Cody, better known as Buffalo Bill , is one of America's most iconic figures.
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In science:

The result of their fit is shown in Figure 3 (their Figure 5) which is far from convincing.
A Note on the Intermediate Region in Turbulent Boundary Layers
The binary grammar rules are extended as follows (Figure 4 shows the GEN feature added to the rule in Figure 2).
Interfacing Constraint-Based Grammars and Generation Algorithms
Figure 4 shows two stable and three unstable runs up to t = 400M , and Figure 5 shows those three runs that lasted longer up to t = 3000M .
Simple excision of a black hole in 3+1 numerical relativity
By the previous two lemmas we can simplify any configuration from Figure 3 to lie in Figure 4 or to be the first configuration from Figure 3 (the one with (k , r) = (1, 2)) with the requirement that E1 is not a cutting divisor.
Rational polynomials of simple type
The transverse electron dynamics can increase the increment on 25 percent in the high gain exponentional regime as can be seen from (Figure 2, Figure 3).
Influence of guiding magnetic field on emission of stimulated photons in generators utilizing periodic slow-wave structures
Corroborating evidence for this picture has been obtained by Walborn et al. (1999b) using NICMOS, as shown in Figure 1. A roughly spherical shell of “second generation” star formation, including a host of newly discovered IR sources, can be seen around the central R136 concentration (Figure 2).
The Formation of Star Clusters
Thus, high values of LIR (Figure 5a) and LIR/L′ CO (Figure 5b) would result from an extremely efficient production of high-mass stars per unit molecular gas mass in QSOs relative to most LIGs and ULIGs.
Molecular Gas in Infrared-Excess, Optically-Selected QSOs and the Connection with Infrared Luminous Galaxies
However, we note again that the S − T plot (with S and T evaluated at r = 0.1rvir ) is a less accurate indicator of the amount of pre-heating than the more globally representative S − T plot in Figure 4c or the L − T plot (Figure 1c).
Entropy Evolution in Galaxy Groups and Clusters; A Comparison of External and Internal Heating
In Figure 5 we have represented the self-overlap evolution (averages are calculated as in Figure 2).
Self-Organized Critical Random Boolean Networks
In Figure 12 we have plotted the evolution of the theoretical K (t) mean connectivity (lines) and simulations with RBN (symbols) for the same bias values of Figure 11.
Self-Organized Critical Random Boolean Networks
Figure 21 shows Mtot as a function of S for all two-black hole configuration with angular momenta (Figure 11) and separation d = 128, computed by both imaging and puncture methods.
Local and global properties of conformally flat initial data for black hole collisions
The model parameters are the same as in Figure 2 except that a spherical Hanning filter (cosine in Fourier space) has been applied to reduce the anisotropy that was seen in Figure 2.
Multiscale Gaussian Random Fields for Cosmological Simulations
Figure 5 shows the result of convolving the two noise samples of Figure 4 with the density transfer function of Figure 3.
Multiscale Gaussian Random Fields for Cosmological Simulations
Although the effect of this subtraction is barely evident in Figure 4, it dominates the comparison of the two panels in Figure 5 because convolution by the transfer function acts as a low-pass filter.
Multiscale Gaussian Random Fields for Cosmological Simulations
Fig. 5.— High resolution density fluctuation field obtained by convolving white noise (Figure 4) with the ΛCDM density transfer function (left panel of Figure 3).
Multiscale Gaussian Random Fields for Cosmological Simulations
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