fig·ure / ˈfigyər/ • n. 1. a number, esp. one that forms part of official statistics or relates to the financial performance of a company: official census figures. ∎ a numerical symbol, esp. any of the ten in Arabic notation: the figure 7. ∎ one of a specified number of digits making up a larger number, used to give a rough idea of the order of magnitude: their market price runs into five figures [in comb.] a six-figure salary. ∎ an amount of money: a figure of two thousand dollars. ∎ (figures) arithmetical calculations: she has no head for figures.2. a person's bodily shape, esp. that of a woman: she had always been so proud of her figure. ∎ a person of a particular kind, esp. one who is important or distinctive in some way: Williams became something of a cult figure. ∎ a representation of a human or animal form in drawing or sculpture: starkly painted figures.3. a shape defined by one or more lines in two dimensions (such as a circle or a triangle), or one or more surfaces in three dimensions (such as a sphere or a cuboid): a red ground with white and blue geometric figures. ∎ a diagram or illustrative drawing, esp. in a book or magazine. ∎ Figure Skating a movement or series of movements following a prescribed pattern and often beginning and ending at the same point. ∎ a pattern formed by the movements of a group of people, for example in square dancing or synchronized swimming, as part of a longer dance or display. ∎ archaic the external form or shape of a thing.4. Mus. a short succession of notes producing a single impression.• v. [intr.] 1. be a significant and noticeable part of something: the issue of nuclear policy figured prominently in the talks. ∎ (of a person) play a significant role in a situation or event: he figured largely in opposition to the bill.2. [tr.] calculate or work out (an amount or value) arithmetically.3. inf. think, consider, or expect to be the case: [tr.] for years, teachers had figured him for a dullard. ∎ (of a recent event or newly discovered fact) be logical and unsurprising: well, she supposed that figured.PHRASES: figure of speech a word or phrase used in a nonliteral sense to add rhetorical force to a spoken or written passage: calling her a crab is just a figure of speech.PHRASAL VERBS: figure on inf. count or rely on something happening or being the case in the future: anyone thinking of salmon fishing should figure on paying $200 a day.figure something out inf. solve or discover the cause of a problem: he was trying to figure out why the camera wasn't working.figure someone out reach an understanding of a person's actions, motives, or personality.ORIGIN: Middle English (in the senses ‘distinctive shape of a person or thing,’ ‘representation of something material or immaterial,’ and ‘numerical symbol,’ among others): from Old French figure (noun), figurer (verb), from Latin figura ‘shape, figure, form’; related to fingere ‘form, contrive.’
1. In mus. structure, this word usually carries the same meaning as Motif. A ‘figure of accompaniment’ refers to the mus. cell from which a certain type of song acc. may be evolved.
2. In dancing the word implies a set of movts. by the dancers as a body, forming a distinct division of the whole. This element is prominent in a figure dance, as opposed to a step dance, in which it is largely absent.