—n. 1. a numerical symbol, esp. an Arabic numeral.
2. an amount or value expressed in numbers.
3. figures,the use of numbers in calculating; arithmetic: to be poor at figures. 4. a written symbol other than a letter.
5. form or shape, as determined by outlines or exterior surfaces: to be round, square, or cubical in figure. 6. the bodily form or frame: a slender or graceful figure. 7. an individual bodily form or a person with reference to form or appearance: A tall figure stood in the doorway. 8. a character or personage, esp. one of distinction: a well-known figure in society. 9. a person's public image or presence: a controversial political figure. 10. the appearance or impression made by a person or sometimes a thing: to make quite a figure in financial circles; to present a wretched figure of poverty. 11. a representation, pictorial or sculptured, esp. of the human form: The frieze was bordered with the figures of men and animals. 12. an emblem, type, or symbol: The dove is a figure of peace. 13. Rhet.a figure of speech.
14. a textural pattern, as in cloth or wood: draperies with an embossed silk figure. 15. a distinct movement or division of a dance.
16. a movement, pattern, or series of movements in skating.
17. Music.a short succession of musical notes, as either a melody or a group of chords, that produces a single complete and distinct impression.
18. Geom.a combination of geometric elements disposed in a particular form or shape: The circle, square, and polygon are plane figures. The sphere, cube, and polyhedron are solid figures. 19. Logic.the form of a categorical syllogism with respect to the relative position of the middle term.
20. Optics.the precise curve required on the surface of an optical element, esp. the mirror or correcting plate of a reflecting telescope.
21. the natural pattern on a sawed wood surface produced by the intersection of knots, burls, growth rings, etc.
22. a phantasm or illusion.
23. cut a figure. See cut (defs. 42, 44b).
—v.t. 1. to compute or calculate (often fol. by up): to figure up a total. 2. to express in figures.
3. to mark or adorn with a design or pattern.
4. to portray by speech or action.
5. to represent or express by a figure of speech.
6. to represent by a pictorial or sculptured figure, a diagram, or the like; picture or depict; trace (an outline, silhouette, etc.).
7. Informal.to conclude, judge, reason, or think about: I figured that you wanted me to stay. 8. Music. a. to embellish with passing notes or other decorations.
b. to write figures above or below (a bass part) to indicate accompanying chords.
—v.i. 1. to compute or work with numerical figures.
2. to be or appear, esp. in a conspicuous or prominent way: His name figures importantly in my report. 3. Informal.(of a situation, act, request, etc.) to be logical, expected, or reasonable: He quit the job when he didn't get a raise—it figured. 4. figure in,to add in: Figure in rent and utilities as overhead. 5. figure on,Informal. a. to count or rely on.
b. to take into consideration; plan on: You had better figure on running into heavy traffic leaving the city. 6. figure out,Informal. a. to understand; solve: We couldn't figure out where all the money had gone. b. to calculate; compute.
7. figure up,Informal.to total: The bill figures up to exactly $1000.