from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A written or printed symbol representing something other than a letter, especially a number.
  • noun Mathematical calculations.
  • noun An amount represented in numbers.
  • noun One of the digits specified as making up a larger number.
  • noun Mathematics A geometric form consisting of any combination of points, lines, or planes.
  • noun The outline, form, or silhouette of a thing.
  • noun The shape or form of a human body.
  • noun An indistinct object or shape.
  • noun A person, especially a well-known one.
  • noun Impression or appearance made.
  • noun A person, animal, or object that symbolizes something.
  • noun A pictorial or sculptural representation, especially of the human body.
  • noun A diagram.
  • noun A design or pattern, as in a textile.
  • noun An illustration printed from an engraved plate or block.
  • noun A configuration or distinct group of steps in a dance.
  • noun A pattern traced by a series of movements, as in ice skating.
  • noun Music A brief melodic or harmonic unit often constituting the basis of a larger phrase or structure.
  • noun Logic Any one of the forms that a syllogism can take, depending on the position of the middle term.
  • intransitive verb Mathematics To calculate with numbers.
  • intransitive verb To make a likeness of; depict.
  • intransitive verb To adorn with a design or figures.
  • intransitive verb To write a sequence of conventionalized numbers below or above (the bassline) to indicate harmony.
  • intransitive verb To embellish with an ornamental pattern.
  • intransitive verb To conclude, believe, or predict.
  • intransitive verb To consider or regard.
  • intransitive verb Mathematics To calculate; compute.
  • intransitive verb To be or seem important or prominent.
  • intransitive verb To be pertinent or involved.
  • intransitive verb Informal To seem reasonable or expected.
  • idiom (go figure) Used in the imperative to indicate the unexpectedness or absurdity of something.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun The artificial representation of a form, as in sculpture, drawing or painting, embroidery, etc.; especially, the human body represented by art of any kind.
  • noun A cut or diagram inserted in printed text, or one of a number of representations on the same plate. Abbreviated fig.
  • noun 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.


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

[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin figūra; see dheigh- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English figure, from Old French figure, from Latin figura ("form, shape, form of a word, a figure of speech, Late Latin a sketch, drawing"), from fingere ("to form, shape, mold, fashion")


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  • Now, since the recurring decimal. [.9] is equal to 9/9, and therefore to 1, it is evident that, although the clown who bears the figure 1 is absent, the man who bears the figure 9 by this simple artifice has for the occasion given his _figure_ the value of the

    The Canterbury Puzzles And Other Curious Problems Henry Ernest Dudeney 1893

  • Hence, when we acquire the idea of solidity, we acquire at the same time the idea of FIGURE; and this idea of figure, or motion of _a part_ of the organ of touch, exactly resembles _in its figure_ the figure of the body that occasions it; and thus exactly acquaints us with this property of the external world.

    Zoonomia, Vol. I Or, the Laws of Organic Life Erasmus Darwin 1766

  • Reason it rocks: The fact that the main figure is screaming his throat raw with the headliners of the issue is enough for me.

    Willpower from Supertown Emotes Like Crazy pabba 2009

  • The narrative, spelled out in the program, tells the story of the title figure, a rebellious spirit who leads his fellow gladiators against the oppressive army of Imperial Rome.

    Those Mighty Men in Tights Robert Greskovic 2010

  • The narrative, spelled out in the program, tells the story of the title figure, a rebellious spirit who leads his fellow gladiators against the oppressive army of Imperial Rome.

    Those Mighty Men in Tights Robert Greskovic 2010

  • Here, Piper as he is mostly known is now a powerful general, and discovers something about his past, who he is, and a powerful sorcerer or two including the title figure as he is ordered into the field by a waning Patriarch to make war on the infidel.

    Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror: Lord Of the Silent Kingdom - Glen Cook Blue Tyson 2009

  • If Mr. Welch's choreography has anything more to it than a relentless series of dancers stepping into arabesque pose to pause as if in standard classroom exercises, it would be in the duets arranged for his title figure and the men in her life.

    A Biography in Need of an Editor 2009

  • Even the title figure Clooney portrays does not eagerly don his superhero cape.

    "Michael Clayton", Issues of Accountability and Brave New Films' "The Real Rudy: Radios" 2007

  • The title figure of Shakespeare's play is referred to as 'black Othello'.

    Shakespeare Bevington, David 2002

  • The title figure, King Cymbeline, is significantly like Lear.

    Shakespeare Bevington, David 2002


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    July 22, 2009