Meaning of FIGURE in English

n. & v.


1. a the external form or shape of a thing. b bodily shape (has a well-developed figure).

2 a a person as seen in outline but not identified (saw a figure leaning against the door). b a person as contemplated mentally (a public figure).

3 appearance as giving a certain impression (cut a poor figure).

4 a a representation of the human form in drawing, sculpture, etc. b an image or likeness. c an emblem or type.

5 Geom. a two-dimensional space enclosed by a line or lines, or a three-dimensional space enclosed by a surface or surfaces; any of the classes of these, e.g. the triangle, the sphere.

6 a a numerical symbol, esp. any of the ten in Arabic notation. b a number so expressed. c an amount of money, a value (cannot put a figure on it). d (in pl.) arithmetical calculations.

7 a diagram or illustrative drawing.

8 a decorative pattern.

9 a a division of a set dance, an evolution. b (in skating) a prescribed pattern of movements from a stationary position.

10 Mus. a short succession of notes producing a single impression, a brief melodic or rhythmic formula out of which longer passages are developed.

11 (in full figure of speech) a recognized form of rhetorical expression giving variety, force, etc., esp. metaphor or hyperbole.

12 Gram. a permitted deviation from the usual rules of construction, e.g. ellipsis.

13 Logic the form of a syllogism, classified according to the position of the middle term.

14 a horoscope.


1. intr. appear or be mentioned, esp. prominently.

2 tr. represent in a diagram or picture.

3 tr. imagine; picture mentally.

4 tr. a embellish with a pattern (figured satin). b Mus. embellish with figures.

5 tr. mark with numbers (figured bass) or prices.

6 a tr. calculate. b intr. do arithmetic.

7 tr. be a symbol of, represent typically.

8 esp. US a tr. understand, ascertain, consider. b intr. colloq. be likely or understandable (that figures).

Phrases and idioms:

figured bass Mus. CONTINUO. figure of fun a ridiculous person. figure on US count on, expect. figure out

1. work out by arithmetic or logic.

2 estimate.

3 understand. figure-skater a person who practises figure-skating. figure-skating skating in prescribed patterns from a stationary position.


figureless adj.

Etymology: ME f. OF figure (n.), figurer (v.) f. L figura, figurare, rel. to fingere fashion

Oxford English vocab.      Оксфордский английский словарь.