figure

Anything with form has a certain shape, or figure, but we most often use the word to suggest a human’s form. That's why all those dolls are called "action figures" — they have the physical shape of people.

In a broad sense, the noun figure can be used to suggest anything with a physical presence. In technical writings, pictures representing some concept are usually labeled as figures. A physically attractive woman is said to have a nice figure. We also say that a prominent person is a well-known figure. The word also can refer to a number, as in "a dollar figure." As a verb, the word suggests deciphering, as when you figure something out. Go figure.

Definitions of figure
  1. noun
    the form or body of a human being
    synonyms: anatomy, bod, build, chassis, flesh, form, frame, human body, material body, physical body, physique, shape, soma
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    person
    a human body (usually including the clothing)
    juvenile body
    the body of a young person
    adult body
    the body of an adult human being
    male body
    the body of a male human being
    female body
    the body of a female human being
    child's body
    the body of a human child
    adult female body, woman's body
    the body of an adult woman
    adult male body, man's body
    the body of an adult man
    type of:
    body, organic structure, physical structure
    the entire structure of an organism (an animal, plant, or human being)
  2. noun
    a model of a bodily form (especially of a person)
    “he made a figure of Santa Claus”
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    examples:
    Trojan Horse
    a large hollow wooden figure of a horse (filled with Greek soldiers) left by the Greeks outside Troy during the Trojan War
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    dummy
    a figure representing the human form
    figurehead
    figure on the bow of some sailing vessels
    figurine, statuette
    a small carved or molded figure
    marionette, puppet
    a small figure of a person operated from above with strings by a puppeteer
    snowman
    a figure of a person made of packed snow
    lay figure
    dummy in the form of an artist's jointed model of the human body
    form, manakin, manikin, mannequin, mannikin
    a life-size dummy used to display clothes
    ventriloquist's dummy
    a wooden dummy into which a ventriloquist projects the voice
    type of:
    model, simulation
    a representation of something (sometimes on a smaller scale)
  3. noun
    a well-known or notable person
    “she is an important figure in modern music”
    synonyms: name, public figure
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    type of:
    important person, influential person, personage
    a person whose actions and opinions strongly influence the course of events
  4. noun
    the impression produced by a person
    “he cut a fine figure
    “a heroic figure
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    type of:
    effect, impression
    an outward appearance
  5. noun
    a unitary percept having structure and coherence that is the object of attention and that stands out against a ground
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    Antonyms:
    ground
    a relatively homogeneous percept extending back of the figure on which attention is focused
    type of:
    percept, perception, perceptual experience
    the representation of what is perceived; basic component in the formation of a concept
  6. noun
    a combination of points and lines and planes that form a visible palpable shape
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    equilateral
    a figure whose sides are all equal
    pencil
    a figure formed by a set of straight lines or light rays meeting at a point
    plane figure, two-dimensional figure
    a two-dimensional shape
    solid figure, three-dimensional figure
    a three-dimensional shape
    subfigure
    a figure that is a part of another figure
    parallel
    (mathematics) one of a set of parallel geometric figures (parallel lines or planes)
    sculpture
    a three-dimensional work of plastic art
    heart
    a plane figure with rounded sides curving inward at the top and intersecting at the bottom; conventionally used on playing cards and valentines
    polygon, polygonal shape
    a closed plane figure bounded by straight sides
    conic, conic section
    (geometry) a curve generated by the intersection of a plane and a circular cone
    oblong
    a plane figure that deviates from a square or circle due to elongation
    hemicycle, semicircle
    a plane figure with the shape of half a circle
    sector
    a plane figure bounded by two radii and the included arc of a circle
    star
    a plane figure with 5 or more points; often used as an emblem
    paraboloid
    a surface having parabolic sections parallel to a single coordinate axis and elliptic sections perpendicular to that axis
    ellipsoid
    a surface whose plane sections are all ellipses or circles
    flank
    a subfigure consisting of a side of something
    hemisphere
    half of a sphere
    tree, tree diagram
    a figure that branches from a single root
    facet
    a smooth surface (as of a bone or cut gemstone)
    branch, leg, ramification
    a part of a forked or branching shape
    type of:
    form, shape
    the spatial arrangement of something as distinct from its substance
  7. noun
    a diagram or picture illustrating textual material
    “the area covered can be seen from Figure 2”
    synonyms: fig
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    type of:
    illustration
    artwork that helps make something clear or attractive
  8. noun
    a predetermined set of movements in dancing or skating
    “she made the best score on compulsory figures
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    types:
    figure eight
    a skating figure that carves an 8 in the ice
    spread eagle
    a skating figure executed with the skates heel to heel in a straight line
    type of:
    maneuver, manoeuvre, play
    a deliberate coordinated movement requiring dexterity and skill
  9. noun
    a decorative or artistic work
    synonyms: design, pattern
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    argyle, argyll
    a design consisting of a pattern of varicolored diamonds on a solid background (originally for knitted articles); patterned after the tartan of a clan in western Scotland
    bear claw
    an incised design resembling the claw of a bear; used in Native American pottery
    damascene
    a design produced by inlaying gold or silver into steel
    decal, decalcomania
    either a design that is fixed to some surface or a paper bearing the design which is to be transferred to the surface
    device
    any ornamental pattern or design (as in embroidery)
    emblem, icon
    special design or visual object representing a quality, type, group, etc.
    herringbone, herringbone pattern
    a pattern of columns of short parallel lines with all the lines in one column sloping one way and lines in adjacent columns sloping the other way; it is used in weaving, masonry, parquetry, embroidery
    linocut
    a design carved in relief into a block of linoleum
    mandala
    any of various geometric designs (usually circular) symbolizing the universe; used chiefly in Hinduism and Buddhism as an aid to meditation
    mihrab
    (Islam) a design in the shape of niche in a Muslim prayer rug; during worship the niche must be pointed toward Mecca
    motif, motive
    a design or figure that consists of recurring shapes or colors, as in architecture or decoration
    polka dot
    design consisting of a pattern of regularly spaced circular spots
    pyrograph
    a design produced by pyrography
    screen saver
    (computer science) a moving design that appears on a computer screen when there has been no input for a specified period of time
    sunburst
    a design consisting of a central disk resembling the sun and rays emanating from it
    tattoo
    a design on the skin made by tattooing
    tetraskele, tetraskelion
    a figure consisting of four stylized human arms or legs (or bent lines) radiating from a center
    triskele, triskelion
    a figure consisting of three stylized human arms or legs (or three bent lines) radiating from a center
    weave
    pattern of weaving or structure of a fabric
    marking
    a pattern of marks
    check
    a textile pattern of squares or crossed lines (resembling a checkerboard)
    colophon
    a publisher's emblem printed in a book (usually on the title page)
    colors, colours
    a distinguishing emblem
    crest
    (heraldry) in medieval times, an emblem used to decorate a helmet
    Cross
    a representation of the structure on which Jesus was crucified; used as an emblem of Christianity or in heraldry
    device
    an emblematic design (especially in heraldry)
    flag
    emblem usually consisting of a rectangular piece of cloth of distinctive design
    heraldry
    emblem indicating the right of a person to bear arms
    open weave
    a weave in which warp threads never come together, leaving interstices in the fabric
    plain weave, taffeta weave
    a basic style of weave in which the weft and warp threads intertwine alternately to produce a checkerboard effect
    satin weave
    a weave in which the filling and warp threads intersect in such a way as to give a smooth compact surface with no distinguishable twill line
    seal, stamp
    a device incised to make an impression; used to secure a closing or to authenticate documents
    skull and crossbones
    emblem warning of danger or death
    totem
    emblem consisting of an object such as an animal or plant; serves as the symbol of a family or clan (especially among American Indians)
    totem pole
    a tribal emblem consisting of a pillar carved and painted with totemic figures; erected by Indian tribes of the northwest Pacific coast
    twill, twill weave
    a weave used to produce the effect of parallel diagonal ribs
    blaze
    a light-colored marking
    crisscross, cross, mark
    a marking that consists of lines that cross each other
    eyespot, ocellus
    an eyelike marking (as on the wings of some butterflies); usually a spot of color inside a ring of another color
    shading
    graded markings that indicate light or shaded areas in a drawing or painting
    dapple, fleck, maculation, patch, speckle, spot
    a small contrasting part of something
    bar, streak, stripe
    a narrow marking of a different color or texture from the background
    Hakenkreuz, swastika
    the official emblem of the Nazi Party and the Third Reich; a cross with the arms bent at right angles in a clockwise direction
    type of:
    decoration, ornament, ornamentation
    something used to beautify
  10. noun
    the property possessed by a sum or total or indefinite quantity of units or individuals
    “the figure was about a thousand”
    synonyms: number
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    multiplicity, numerosity, numerousness
    a large number
    preponderance, prevalence
    a superiority in numbers or amount
    countlessness, innumerableness
    a number beyond counting
    bulk, majority
    the property resulting from being or relating to the greater in number of two parts; the main part
    minority
    being or relating to the smaller in number of two parts
    fewness
    the quality of being small in number
    roundness
    the quality of being round numbers
    multitudinousness
    a very large number (especially of people)
    type of:
    amount
    the relative magnitude of something with reference to a criterion
  11. noun
    an amount of money expressed numerically
    “a figure of $17 was suggested”
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    type of:
    amount, amount of money, sum, sum of money
    a quantity of money
  12. noun
    one of the elements that collectively form a system of numeration
    synonyms: digit
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    binary digit
    either 0 or 1 in binary notation
    octal digit
    a digit from 0 to 7 in octal notation
    decimal digit
    a digit from 0 to 9 in decimal notation
    duodecimal digit
    a digit from 0 to 11 in duodecimal notation
    hexadecimal digit
    a digit from 0 to 15 in hexadecimal notation
    significant digit, significant figure
    any digit of a number that is known with certainty; any digit of a number beginning with the leftmost non-zero digit and ending with the rightmost non-zero digit (or a zero considered to be the exact value)
    0, cipher, cypher, nought, zero
    a mathematical element that when added to another number yields the same number
    1, I, ace, one, single, unity
    the smallest whole number or a numeral representing this number
    2, II, deuce, two
    the cardinal number that is the sum of one and one or a numeral representing this number
    3, III, deuce-ace, leash, tercet, ternary, ternion, terzetto, three, threesome, tierce, trey, triad, trine, trinity, trio, triplet, troika
    the cardinal number that is the sum of one and one and one
    4, IV, Little Joe, four, foursome, quadruplet, quartet, quatern, quaternary, quaternion, quaternity, tetrad
    the cardinal number that is the sum of three and one
    5, Little Phoebe, Phoebe, V, cinque, fin, five, fivesome, pentad, quint, quintet, quintuplet
    the cardinal number that is the sum of four and one
    6, Captain Hicks, VI, half a dozen, hexad, sestet, sextet, sextuplet, sise, six, sixer
    the cardinal number that is the sum of five and one
    7, VII, heptad, septenary, septet, seven, sevener
    the cardinal number that is the sum of six and one
    8, VIII, eight, eighter, eighter from Decatur, octad, octet, octonary, ogdoad
    the cardinal number that is the sum of seven and one
    9, IX, Nina from Carolina, ennead, nine, niner
    the cardinal number that is the sum of eight and one
    monad, monas
    a singular metaphysical entity from which material properties are said to derive
    singleton
    a single object (as distinguished from a pair)
    craps, snake eyes
    expressions used when when two dice are thrown and both come up showing one spot
    brace, couple, couplet, distich, duad, duet, duo, dyad, pair, span, twain, twosome, yoke
    two items of the same kind
    type of:
    integer, whole number
    any of the natural numbers or their negatives or zero
  13. verb
    make a mathematical calculation or computation
    synonyms: calculate, cipher, compute, cypher, reckon, work out
    work out
    be calculated
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    quantise, quantize
    apply quantum theory to; restrict the number of possible values of (a quantity) or states of (a physical entity or system) so that certain variables can assume only certain discrete magnitudes that are integral multiples of a common factor
    extract
    calculate the root of a number
    process
    perform mathematical and logical operations on (data) according to programmed instructions in order to obtain the required information
    prorate
    divide or assess proportionally
    miscalculate, misestimate
    calculate incorrectly
    recalculate
    calculate anew
    average, average out
    compute the average of
    factor, factor in, factor out
    resolve into factors
    add, add together
    make an addition by combining numbers
    deduct, subtract, take off
    make a subtraction
    multiply
    combine by multiplication
    divide, fraction
    perform a division
    extrapolate, interpolate
    estimate the value of
    differentiate
    calculate a derivative; take the derivative
    integrate
    calculate the integral of; calculate by integration
    survey
    plot a map of (land)
    approximate, estimate, gauge, guess, judge
    judge tentatively or form an estimate of (quantities or time)
    budget
    make a budget
    capitalise, capitalize
    compute the present value of a business or an income
    resolve, solve
    find the solution
    square
    raise to the second power
    cube
    raise to the third power
    foot, foot up
    add a column of numbers
    carry back
    deduct a loss or an unused credit from taxable income for a prior period
    raise
    multiply (a number) by itself a specified number of times: 8 is 2 raised to the power 3
    halve
    divide by two; divide into halves
    quarter
    divide by four; divide into quarters
    triangulate
    survey by triangulation
    quantise, quantize
    approximate (a signal varying continuously in amplitude) by one whose amplitude is restricted to a prescribed set of discrete values
    misgauge
    gauge something incorrectly or improperly
    place, put, set
    estimate
    give
    estimate the duration or outcome of something
    lowball, underestimate
    make a deliberately low estimate
    assess
    estimate the value of (property) for taxation
    make
    calculate as being
    count, reckon
    take account of
    overcapitalise, overcapitalize
    estimate the capital value of (a company) at an unreasonably or unlawfully high level
    factorise, factorize
    resolve (a polynomial) into factors
    truncate
    approximate by ignoring all terms beyond a chosen one
    guesstimate
    estimate based on a calculation
    type of:
    reason
    think logically
  14. noun
    language used in a figurative or nonliteral sense
    synonyms: figure of speech, image, trope
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    conceit
    an elaborate poetic image or a far-fetched comparison of very dissimilar things
    irony
    a trope that involves incongruity between what is expected and what occurs
    exaggeration, hyperbole
    extravagant exaggeration
    kenning
    a compound word used as a conventional metaphorical name for something, specially in Old English and Old Norse poetry
    metaphor
    a figure of speech in which an expression is used to refer to something that it does not literally denote in order to suggest a similarity
    metonymy
    substituting the name of an attribute or feature for the name of the thing itself (as in `they counted heads')
    oxymoron
    conjoining contradictory terms (as in `deafening silence')
    personification, prosopopoeia
    representing an abstract quality or idea as a person or creature
    simile
    a figure of speech that expresses a resemblance between things of different kinds (usually formed with `like' or `as')
    synecdoche
    a figure of speech in which part of something is used to refer to or represent the whole thing (or vice versa)
    zeugma
    use of a word to govern two or more words though appropriate to only one
    synesthesia
    a figure of speech in which an author appeals to more than one of the five senses
    dramatic irony
    (theater) irony that occurs when the meaning of the situation is understood by the audience but not by the characters in the play
    dead metaphor, frozen metaphor
    a metaphor that has occurred so often that it has become a new meaning of the expression (e.g., `he is a snake' may once have been a metaphor but after years of use it has died and become a new sense of the word `snake')
    mixed metaphor
    a combination of two or more metaphors that together produce a ridiculous effect
    synesthetic metaphor
    a metaphor that exploits a similarity between experiences in different sense modalities
    metalepsis
    substituting metonymy of one figurative sense for another
    syllepsis
    use of a word to govern two or more words though agreeing in number or case etc. with only one
    verbal irony
    when the intended meaning of a speaker’s words contrasts with the literal meaning
    situational irony
    when the result of an event or action is the opposite of what was intended or expected
    type of:
    rhetorical device
    a use of language that creates a literary effect (but often without regard for literal significance)
  15. verb
    imagine; conceive of; see in one's mind
    synonyms: envision, fancy, image, picture, project, see, visualise, visualize
    realise, realize, see, understand
    perceive (an idea or situation) mentally
    visualise, visualize
    form a mental picture of something that is invisible or abstract
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    conceive of, envisage, ideate, imagine
    form a mental image of something that is not present or that is not the case
  16. verb
    understand
    “He didn't figure her”
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    type of:
    apprehend, compass, comprehend, dig, get the picture, grasp, grok, savvy
    understand or perceive the meaning of something
  17. verb
    judge to be probable
    synonyms: calculate, count on, estimate, forecast, reckon
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    types:
    allow, take into account
    allow or plan for a certain possibility; concede the truth or validity of something
    budget for
    calculate enough money for; provide for in the budget
    type of:
    evaluate, judge, pass judgment
    form a critical opinion of
  18. verb
    be or play a part of or in
    “Elections figure prominently in every government program”
    “How do the elections figure in the current pattern of internal politics?”
    synonyms: enter
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    type of:
    be
    have the quality of being; (copula, used with an adjective or a predicate noun)
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