Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin figura, from fingere
Date: 13th century
a. a number symbol ; numeral, digit
b. plural arithmetical calculations <good at figures> c. a written or printed character d. value especially as expressed in numbers ; sum, price <sold at a low figure> e. plural digits representing an amount (as of money earned or points scored) <made six figures last year> <a score in double figures> 2. a. a geometric form (as a line, triangle, or sphere) especially when considered as a set of geometric elements (as points) in space of a given number of dimensions <a square is a plane figure> b. bodily shape or form especially of a person <a slender figure> c. an object noticeable only as a shape or form <figures moving in the dusk> 3. a. the graphic representation of a form especially of a person or geometric entity b. a diagram or pictorial illustration of textual matter 4. a person, thing, or action representative of another 5. a. figure of speech b. an intentional deviation from the ordinary form or syntactical relation of words 6. the form of a syllogism with respect to the relative position of the middle term 7. an often repetitive pattern or design in a manufactured article (as cloth) or natural product (as wood) <a polka-dot figure> 8. appearance made ; impression produced <the couple cut quite a figure> 9. a. a series of movements in a dance b. an outline representation of a form traced by a series of evolutions (as with skates on an ice surface or by an airplane in the air) 10. a prominent personality ; personage <great figures of history> 11. a short coherent group of notes or chords that may constitute part of a phrase, theme, or composition II. verb (figured; figuring) Date: 14th century transitive verb 1. to represent by or as if by a figure or outline 2. to decorate with a pattern; also to write figures over or under (the bass) in order to indicate the accompanying chords 3. to indicate or represent by numerals 4. a. calculate b. conclude, decide <figured there was no use in further effort>; also assume <figure it will rain> c. regard, consider d. to appear likely <figures to win> intransitive verb 1. a. to be or appear important or conspicuous b. to be involved or implicated <figured in a robbery> 2. to perform a figure in dancing 3. compute, calculate 4. to seem rational, normal, or expected <that figures> 5. to make sense of something — used interjectionally in the phrase go figure to suggest that something is surprising or perplexing <why do they think women will buy this lie? Go figure — Ellen Bravo> • figurer noun
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.