1. The form of anything; shape; outline; appearance. "Flowers have all exquisite figures." (Bacon)

2. 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." (Shak)

3. A pattern in cloth, paper, or other manufactured article; a design wrought out in a fabric; as, the muslin was of a pretty figure.

4. <geometry> 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 surface; any arrangement made up of points, lines, angles, surfaces, etc.

5. The appearance or impression made by the conduct or carrer of a person; as, a sorry figure. "I made some figure there." (Dryden) "Gentlemen of the best figure in the county." (Blackstone)

6. Distinguished appearance; magnificence; conspicuous representation; splendor; show. "That he may live in figure and indulgence." (Law)

7. A character or symbol representing a number; a numeral; a digit; as, 1, 2,3, etc.

8. 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." (Thackeray)

9. 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." (Rom. V. 14)

10. 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. "To represent the imagination under the figure of a wing." (Macaulay)

11. <logic> The form of a syllogism with respect to the relative position of the middle term.

12. Any one of the several regular steps or movements made by a dancer.

13. <astronomy> A horoscope; the diagram of the aspects of the astrological houses.

14. Any short succession of notes, either as melody or as a group of chords, which produce a single complete and distinct impression.

A form of melody or accompaniment kept up through a strain or passage; a musical or motive; a florid embellishment.

Figures are often written upon the staff in music to denote the kind of measure. They are usually in the form of a fraction, the upper figure showing how many notes of the kind indicated by the lower are contained in one measure or bar. Thus, 2/4 signifies that the measure contains two quarter notes. The following are the principal figures used for this purpose: 2/2 2/4 2/8 4/2 2/4 4/8 3/2 3/4 3/8 6/4 6/4 6/8 Academy figure, Canceled figures, Lay figure, etc. See Academy, Cancel, Lay, etc. Figure caster, or Figure flinger, an astrologer. This figure caster." Figure flinging, the practice of astrology. Figure painting, a picture of the human figure, or the act or art of depicting the human figure.


Figure stone, agalmatolite. Figure weaving, the art or process of weaving figured fabrics. To cut a figure, to make a display.

Origin: F, figure, L. Figura; akin to fingere to form, shape, feign. See Feign.

(01 Mar 1998)

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