metaphorically so called: His remark was a figurative boomerang.
abounding in or fond of figures of speech: Elizabethan poetry is highly figurative.
representing by means of a figure or likeness, as in drawing or sculpture.
representing by a figure or emblem; emblematic.
Origin of figurative
1350–1400;Middle English < Late Latinfigūrātīvus (see figure) + -ive; replacing Middle Englishfiguratif < Middle French
Related formsfig·ur·a·tive·ly, adverbfig·ur·a·tive·ness, nounnon·fig·ur·a·tive, adjectivenon·fig·ur·a·tive·ly, adverbnon·fig·ur·a·tive·ness, nounsem·i·fig·ur·a·tive, adjectivesem·i·fig·ur·a·tive·ly, adverbsem·i·fig·ur·a·tive·ness, nounun·fig·ur·a·tive, adjectiveun·fig·ur·a·tive·ly, adverbun·fig·ur·a·tive·ness, nounCan be confusedfigurativelyliterallyvirtually (see usage note at literally)
late 14c., from Old French figuratif "metaphorical," from Late Latin figurativus, from figurat-, past participle stem of figurare "to form, shape," from figura "a shape, form, figure" (see figure (n.)). Of speech, language, etc., "involving figures of speech," from 1845. Related: Figuratively.