- of the nature of or involving a figure of speech, especially a metaphor; metaphorical and not literal: The word “head” has several figurative senses, as in “She's the head of the company.”
- 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
- of the nature of, resembling, or involving a figure of speech; not literal; metaphorical
- using or filled with figures of speech
- representing by means of an emblem, likeness, figure, etc
- (in painting, sculpture, etc) of, relating to, or characterized by the naturalistic representation of the external world
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.