See more synonyms for fig on
  1. any tree or shrub belonging to the genus Ficus, of the mulberry family, especially a small tree, F. carica, native to southwestern Asia, bearing a turbinate or pear-shaped fruit that is eaten fresh, preserved, or dried.
  2. the fruit of such a tree or shrub, or of any related species.
  3. any of various plants having a fruit somewhat resembling this.
  4. a contemptibly trifling or worthless amount; the least bit: His help wasn't worth a fig.
  5. a gesture of contempt.

Origin of fig

1175–1225; Middle English fige < Old French < Old Provençal figa < Vulgar Latin *fīca, for Latin fīcus


  1. dress or array: to appear at a party in full fig.
  2. condition: to feel in fine fig.

Origin of fig

1685–95; earlier feague to liven, whip up < German fegen to furbish, sweep, clean; akin to fair1


  1. figurative.
  2. figuratively.
  3. figure; figures. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for fig

fig, mulberry, pineapple, damn, hoot, darn

Examples from the Web for fig

Contemporary Examples of fig

Historical Examples of fig

  • In his sane moments he did not care a fig for anybody's birthday.


    William J. Locke

  • A fig for Macbeth's philosophy that "blood will have blood."

  • Let them boast of their Moorish gallantry and their infidel marriages—a fig for them!

    Gomez Arias

    Joaqun Telesforo de Trueba y Coso

  • But Gervaise ended by not caring a fig for these thwacks, not more than she did for anything else.


    Emile Zola

  • If he be a slave who has gathered, he shall receive a stroke for every grape or fig.



British Dictionary definitions for fig


  1. any moraceous tree or shrub of the tropical and subtropical genus Ficus, in which the flowers are borne inside a pear-shaped receptacle
  2. the fruit of any of these trees, esp of F. carica, which develops from the receptacle and has sweet flesh containing numerous seedlike structures
  3. any of various plants or trees having a fruit similar to this
  4. Hottentot fig or sour fig a succulent plant, Mesembryanthemum edule, of southern Africa, having a capsular fruit containing edible pulp: family Aizoaceae
  5. (used with a negative) something of negligible value; jotI don't care a fig for your opinion
  6. Also: feg dialect a piece or segment from an orange
  7. Also called: fico an insulting gesture made with the thumb between the first two fingers or under the upper teeth

Word Origin for fig

C13: from Old French figue, from Old Provençal figa, from Latin fīcus fig tree


verb figs, figging or figged (tr)
  1. (foll by out or up) to dress (up) or rig (out)
  2. to administer stimulating drugs to (a horse)
  1. dress, appearance, or array (esp in the phrase in full fig)
  2. physical condition or formin bad fig

Word Origin for fig

C17 feague, of uncertain origin


abbreviation for
  1. figurative(ly)
  2. figure
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for fig

early 13c., from Old French figue (12c.), from Old Provençal figa, from Vulgar Latin *fica, from Latin ficus "fig tree, fig," from a pre-Indo-European Mediterranean language, possibly a Semitic one (cf. Phoenician pagh "half-ripe fig"). A reborrowing of a word that had been taken directly from Latin as Old English fic.

The insulting sense of the word in Shakespeare, etc. (A fig for ...) is 1570s, in part from fig as "small, valueless thing," but also from Greek and Italian use of their versions of the word as slang for "vulva," apparently because of how a ripe fig looks when split open [Rawson, Weekley]. Giving the fig (French faire la figue, Spanish dar la higa) was an indecent gesture of ancient provenance, made by putting the thumb between two fingers or into the mouth, with the intended effect of the modern gesture of "flipping the bird" (see bird (n.3)). See sycophant. Use of fig leaf in figurative sense of "flimsy disguise" (1550s) is from Gen. iii:7.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with fig


see under not give a damn.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.