Definition of figure noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈfɪɡə(r)//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈfɪɡjər//
    Describing art
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  1. 1  [countable, usually plural] a number representing a particular amount, especially one given in official information the latest trade/sales/unemployment, etc. figures Viewing figures for the series have dropped dramatically. Figures for April show a slight improvement on previous months By 2009, this figure had risen to 14 million. The final figure looks like being much higher than predicted. Experts put the real figure at closer to 75%.
  2. 2  [countable] a symbol rather than a word representing one of the numbers between 0 and 9 Write the figure ‘7’ on the board. a six-figure salary (= over 100 000 pounds or dollars) His salary is now in six figures. see also double figures, single figures
  3. 3  figures [plural] (informal) the area of mathematics that deals with adding, multiplying, etc. numbers synonym arithmetic Are you any good at figures? I'm afraid I don't have a head for figures (= I am not good at adding, etc.).
  4. person
  5. 4  [countable] a person of the type mentioned a leading figure in the music industry a political figure a figure of authority When she last saw him, he was a sad figure—old and tired. a relatively unknown figure the world of fashion one of the most popular figures in athletics see also father figure, mother figure
  6. 5  [countable] the shape of a person seen from a distance or not clearly a tall figure in black I saw a shadowy figure approaching.
  7. shape of body
  8. 6  [countable] the shape of the human body, especially a woman’s body that is attractive She's always had a good figure. I'm watching my figure (= trying not to get fat). CollocationsPhysical appearance A person may be described as having:Eyes (bright) blue/​green/(dark/​light) brown/​hazel eyes deep-set/​sunken/​bulging/​protruding eyes small/​beady/​sparkling/​twinkling/(informal) shifty eyes piercing/​penetrating/​steely eyes bloodshot/​watery/​puffy eyes bushy/​thick/​dark/​raised/​arched eyebrows long/​dark/​thick/​curly/​false eyelashes/​lashesFace a flat/​bulbous/​pointed/​sharp/​snub nose a straight/​a hooked/​a Roman/(formal) an aquiline nose full/​thick/​thin/​pouty lips dry/​chapped/​cracked lips flushed/​rosy/​red/​ruddy/​pale cheeks soft/​chubby/​sunken cheeks white/​perfect/​crooked/​protruding teeth a large/​high/​broad/​wide/​sloping forehead a strong/​weak/​pointed/​double chin a long/​full/​bushy/​wispy/​goatee beard a long/​thin/​bushy/​droopy/​handlebar/​pencil moustache/ (especially US English) mustacheHair and skin pale/​fair/​olive/​dark/​tanned skin dry/​oily/​smooth/​rough/​leathery/​wrinkled skin a dark/​pale/​light/​sallow/​ruddy/​olive/​swarthy/​clear complexion deep/​fine/​little/​facial wrinkles blonde/​blond/​fair/(light/​dark) brown/(jet-)black/​auburn/​red/(British English) ginger/​grey hair straight/​curly/​wavy/​frizzy/​spiky hair thick/​thin/​fine/​bushy/​thinning hair dyed/​bleached/​soft/​silky/​dry/​greasy/​shiny hair long/​short/​shoulder-length/​cropped hair a bald/​balding/​shaved head a receding hairline a bald patch/​spot a side/​centre/(US English) center (British English) parting/ (North American English) partBody a long/​short/​thick/​slender/(disapproving) scrawny neck broad/​narrow/​sloping/​rounded/​hunched shoulders a bare/​broad/​muscular/​small/​large chest a flat/​swollen/​bulging stomach a small/​tiny/​narrow/​slim/​slender/28-inch waist big/​wide/​narrow/​slim hips a straight/​bent/​arched/​broad/​hairy back thin/​slender/​muscular arms big/​large/​small/​manicured/​calloused/​gloved hands long/​short/​fat/​slender/​delicate/​bony fingers long/​muscular/​hairy/​shapely/(both informal, often disapproving) skinny/​spindly legs muscular/​chubby/(informal, disapproving) flabby thighs big/​little/​small/​dainty/​wide/​narrow/​bare feet a good/​a slim/​a slender/​an hourglass figure be of slim/​medium/​average/​large/​athletic/​stocky build
  9. in painting/story
  10. 7[countable] a person or an animal in a drawing, painting, etc., or in a story The central figure in the painting is the artist's daughter. See related entries: Describing art
  11. statue
  12. 8[countable] a statue of a person or an animal a bronze figure of a horse
  13. picture/diagram
  14. 9[countable] (abbreviation fig.) a picture, diagram, etc. in a book, that is referred to by a number The results are illustrated in figure 3 opposite.
  15. geometry
  16. 10 [countable] a particular shape formed by lines or surfaces a five-sided figure a solid figure
  17. movement on ice
  18. 11[countable] a pattern or series of movements performed on ice The skater executed a perfect set of figures.
  19. Word OriginMiddle 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’.Extra examples He cut a dashing figure in his uniform. He was a familiar figure in the local pub. I was never very good at figures. Lots of different figures were being bandied about. See Figure 8. She still had a lovely figure. She’s kept her figure after all these years. The government has just released new unemployment figures. The industry remains in the doldrums, according to official figures out today. The rate of inflation has now reached double figures. The seated figure in the corner beckoned me over. These figures don’t add up. They were visited by the unlikely figure of Bill Clinton. You can’t put a dollar figure on the lives ruined by the hurricane. You need to watch your figure. a figure of authority/​fun a key figure on the committee the central figure in the photo By 2004, this figure had risen to 14 million. Experts put the real figure at closer to 75%. Figure 4 represents the process of soil erosion. Figures for April show a slight improvement on previous months. He’s a leading figure in the music industry. I’m watching my figure. Inflation is now in single/​double figures. She’s always had a good figure. She’s earning a six-figure salary. There before him stood a tall figure in black. Viewing figures for the series have dropped dramatically. When she last saw him he was a sad figure—old and tired. a cult/​public/​political figureIdioms
    be/become a figure of fun
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    to be/become somebody that other people laugh at
    (of a person) to have a particular appearance He cut a striking figure in his white dinner jacket. accurate and detailed information I've asked to see all the facts and figures before I make a decision. More Like This Alliteration in idioms belt and braces, black and blue, born and bred, chalk and cheese, chop and change, done and dusted, down and dirty, in dribs and drabs, eat somebody out of house and home, facts and figures, fast and furious, first and foremost, forgive and forget, hale and hearty, hem and haw, kith and kin, mix and match, part and parcel, puff and pant, to rack and ruin, rant and rave, risk life and limb, short and sweet, signed and sealed, spic and span, through thick and thin, this and that, top and tail, tried and tested, wax and waneSee worksheet.
    put a figure on something
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    to say the exact price or number of something It’s impossible to put a figure on the number of homeless people in London.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: figure