Figure; dress; array. "Were they all in full fig, the females with feathers on their heads, the males with chapeaux bras?" (Prof. Wilson)

1. <botany> A small fruit tree (Ficus Carica) with large leaves, known from the remotest antiquity. It was probably native from Syria westward to the Canary Islands.

2. The fruit of a fig tree, which is of round or oblong shape, and of various colours.

The fruit of a fig tree is really the hollow end of a stem, and bears numerous achenia inside the cavity. Many species have little, hard, inedible figs, and in only a few does the fruit become soft and pulpy. The fruit of the cultivated varieties is much prized in its fresh state, and also when dried or preserved. See Caprification.

3. A small piece of tobacco.

4. The value of a fig, practically nothing; a fico; used in scorn or contempt. "A fig for Peter." Cochineal fig. See Conchineal fig. Fig dust, a preparation of fine oatmeal for feeding caged birds. Fig faun, one of a class of rural deities or monsters supposed to live on figs. "Therefore shall dragons dwell there with the fig fauns.

<zoology>" Fig gnat, a small fly said to be injurious to figs. Fig leaf, the leaf tree; hence, in allusion to the first clothing of Adam and Eve (Genesis III.7), a covering for a thing that ought to be concealed; especially, an inadequate covering; a symbol for affected modesty.

<botany> Fig marigold, any tree of the genus Ficus, but especially F. Carica which produces the fig of commerce.

Origin: F. Figue the fruit of the tree, Pr. Figa, fr. L. Ficus fig tree, fig. Cf. Fico.

(01 Mar 1998)