verb (used with object), fig·ured, fig·ur·ing.
- to embellish with passing notes or other decorations.
- to write figures above or below (a bass part) to indicate accompanying chords.
verb (used without object), fig·ured, fig·ur·ing.
- to count or rely on.
- to take into consideration; plan on: You had better figure on running into heavy traffic leaving the city.
- to understand; solve: We couldn't figure out where all the money had gone.
- to calculate; compute.
Origin of figure
Synonyms for figure
- a person as impressed on the mindthe figure of Napoleon
- (in combination)father-figure
Word Origin for figure
late 14c., "to represent" (in a picture); see figure (n.). Meaning "to shape into" is early 15c.; "to picture in the mind" is from c.1600; "to make an appearance" is c.1600. Meaning "work out a sum" is from 1833, American English. Related: Figured; figuring.
early 13c., "visible form or appearance of a person," from Old French figure (10c.) "shape, body, form, figure; symbol, allegory," from Latin figura "a shape, form, figure," from PIE *dheigh- "to form, build" (see dough); originally in English with meaning "numeral," but sense of "form, likeness" is almost as old (mid-13c.).
Philosophical and scientific senses are from Latin figura being used to translate Greek skhema. The rhetorical use of figure dates to late 14c.; hence figure of speech (1824). Figure eight as a shape was originally figure of eight (c.1600).
Include, add in. For example, Did you figure in the travel expense?
Play a part in, as in His speaking ability definitely figured in his being chosen for the lead, or Their reduced income figures in all their recent decisions.
In addition to the idioms beginning with figure
- figure in
- figure on
- figure out
- figure up
- ballpark figure
- in round numbers (figures)
- it figures