Figurate Fig"ur*ate, a. [L. figuratus, p. p. of figurare. See {Figure}.] 1. Of a definite form or figure. [1913 Webster]

Plants are all figurate and determinate, which inanimate bodies are not. --Bacon. [1913 Webster]

2. Figurative; metaphorical. [Obs.] --Bale. [1913 Webster]

3. (Mus.) Florid; figurative; involving passing discords by the freer melodic movement of one or more parts or voices in the harmony; as, figurate counterpoint or descant. [1913 Webster]

{Figurate counterpoint} or {Figurate descant} (Mus.), that which is not simple, or in which the parts do not move together tone for tone, but in which freer movement of one or more parts mingles passing discords with the harmony; -- called also {figural}, {figurative}, and {figured counterpoint} or {descant} (although the term figured is more commonly applied to a bass with numerals written above or below to indicate the other notes of the harmony).

{Figurate numbers} (Math.), numbers, or series of numbers, formed from any arithmetical progression in which the first term is a unit, and the difference a whole number, by taking the first term, and the sums of the first two, first three, first four, etc., as the successive terms of a new series, from which another may be formed in the same manner, and so on, the numbers in the resulting series being such that points representing them are capable of symmetrical arrangement in different geometrical figures, as triangles, squares, pentagons, etc.

Note: In the following example, the two lower lines are composed of figurate numbers, those in the second line being triangular, and represented thus: . 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. . . . 1, 3, 6, 10, etc. . . . . . . . etc. 1, 4, 10, 20, etc . . . . . . . . . . . . [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Descant — or discant can refer to several different things in music, depending on the period in question; etymologically, the word means a voice (cantus) above or removed from others. A discant (occasionally, particularly later, written descant) is a form… …   Wikipedia

  • Descant — Des cant (d[e^]s k[a^]nt), n. [OF. descant, deschant, F. d[ e]chant, discant, LL. discantus, fr. L. dis + cantus singing, melody, fr. canere to sing. See {Chant}, and cf. {Descant}, v. i., {Discant}.] 1. (Mus.) (a) Originally, a double song; a… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Descant — Des*cant (d[e^]s*k[a^]nt ), v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Descanted}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Descanting}.] [From descant; n.; or directly fr. OF. descanter, deschanter; L. dis + cantare to sing.] 1. To sing a variation or accomplishment. [1913 Webster] 2. To… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • descant — [des′kant΄; ] for v., also [ des kant′] n. [ME < Anglo Fr deschaunt & ML discantus < L dis , from, apart + cantus, song: see CHANT] 1. Medieval Music a) two part singing in which there is a fixed, known melody and an additional but… …   English World dictionary

  • descant — index censure, comment, converse, declaim Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • descant — vb 1 *sing, troll, carol, warble, trill, hymn, chant, intone 2 *discourse, expatiate, dilate …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • descant — ► NOUN ▪ an independent treble melody sung or played above a basic melody. ► VERB ▪ talk tediously or at length. ORIGIN Latin discantus part song, refrain …   English terms dictionary

  • descant — {{11}}descant (n.) late 14c., from O.N.Fr. descant (O.Fr. deschant), from M.L. discantus refrain, part song, from L. dis asunder, apart (see DIS (Cf. dis )) + cantus song (see CHANT (Cf. chant)). Spelling was partly Latinized 16c. Originally… …   Etymology dictionary

  • descant — descanter, n. n., adj. /des kant/; v. /des kant , dis /, n. 1. Music. a. a melody or counterpoint accompanying a simple musical theme and usually written above it. b. (in part music) the soprano. c. a song or melody. 2. a variation upon anything; …   Universalium

  • descant — [14] Etymologically, descant is a parallel formation to English part song. English acquired it via Old French deschant from medieval Latin discantus ‘refrain’, a compound noun formed from the prefix dis ‘apart’ and cantus ‘song’. The notion… …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

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