Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A member of a corps de ballet who does not perform solos.
  • n. A stage performer having no speaking part.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. an actor in the background lacking an aural presence

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One who dances at the opera, not singly, but in groups or figures; an accessory character on the stage, who figures in its scenes, but has nothing to say; hence, one who figures in any scene, without taking a prominent part.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. One who dances in the figures of the ballet.
  • n. An accessory character on the stage, who figures in its scenes, but has nothing to say.
  • n. Hence One who figures in any scene without taking a prominent part.

Etymologies

French, from present participle of figurer, to represent, from Old French, from Latin figūrāre, to form, from figūra, figure; see figure.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

Comments

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  • As the Swan of Avon reminded us, all the world's a stage. Most of the players thereon, however, do not even qualify for lives of quiet desperation, rather they are figurants in what ought to be their own dramas. At least that's the truth of reality on Wall Street.

    June 14, 2010