American English

Definition of figurative adjective from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    [usually before noun]
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  1. 1(of language, words, phrases, etc.) used in a way that is different from the usual meaning, in order to create a particular mental picture. For example, “He exploded with rage” shows a figurative use of the verb “explode” compare literal, metaphorical
  2. 2(of paintings, art, etc.) showing people, animals, or objects as they really look a figurative artist compare abstract
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adverb She is, figuratively speaking, holding a gun to his head.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: figurative