figure ( figures plural & 3rd person present) ( figuring present participle) ( figured past tense & past participle )
1 n-count A figure is a particular amount expressed as a number, especially a statistic.
It would be very nice if we had a true figure of how many people in this country haven't got a job..., It will not be long before the inflation figure starts to fall..., New Government figures predict that one in two marriages will end in divorce.
2 n-count A figure is any of the ten written symbols from 0 to 9 that are used to represent a number.
3 n-plural An amount or number that is in single figures is between zero and nine. An amount or number that is in double figures is between ten and ninety-nine. You can also say, for example, that an amount or number is in three figures when it is between one hundred and nine hundred and ninety-nine.
Inflation, which has usually been in single figures, is running at more than 12%..., Crawley, with 14, was the only other player to reach double figures...
4 n-count You refer to someone that you can see as a figure when you cannot see them clearly or when you are describing them.
usu with supp, oft N of n
She waited, standing on the bridge, until his figure vanished against the grey backdrop of the Palace...
5 n-count In art, a figure is a person in a drawing or a painting, or a statue of a person.
...a life-size bronze figure of a brooding, hooded woman.
6 n-count Your figure is the shape of your body.
with supp, oft poss/adj N
Take pride in your health and your figure..., Janet was a natural blonde with a good figure.
7 n-count Someone who is referred to as a figure of a particular kind is a person who is well-known and important in some way.
The movement is supported by key figures in the three main political parties.
8 n-count If you say that someone is, for example, a mother figure or a hero figure, you mean that other people regard them as the type of person stated or suggested.
with supp, usu n N, N of n
Sometimes young lads just need to turn to a mother figure for a bit of a chat and reassurance.
9 n-count In books and magazines, the diagrams which help to show or explain information are referred to as figures.
also N num
If you look at a world map (see Figure 1) you can identify the major wine-producing regions...
10 n-count In geometry, a figure is a shape, especially a regular shape. (TECHNICAL) usu supp N
Draw a pentagon, a regular five-sided figure.
11 verb If you figure that something is the case, you think or guess that it is the case.
INFORMAL She figured that both she and Ned had learned a lot from the experience. V that
12 verb If you say `That figures' or `It figures', you mean that the fact referred to is not surprising.
INFORMAL When I finished, he said, `Yeah. That figures'... that/it V, Also it V that
13 verb If a person or thing figuresin something, they appear in or are included in it. no passive Human rights violations figured prominently in the report. V in n, Also V as n figure on phrasal verb If you figure on something, you plan that it will happen or assume that it will happen when making your plans. INFORMAL
(=reckon on) Jack worked as hard as he could to build his business, but he hadn't figured on a few obstacles. V P n/-ing figure out phrasal verb If you figure out a solution to a problem or the reason for something, you succeed in solving it or understanding it. INFORMAL
(=work out) It took them about one month to figure out how to start the equipment... V P wh/that They're trying to figure out the politics of this whole situation... V P n (not pron) I don't have to be a detective to figure that out. V n P
father figure ( father figures plural ) , father-figure If you describe someone as a father figure, you mean that you feel able to turn to that person for advice and support in the same way that you might turn to your father. n-count
She believed her daughter needed a father-figure..., He became a father figure to the whole company.
-figure combines with a number, usually `five', `six', or `seven', to form adjectives which say how many figures are in a number. These adjectives usually describe a large amount of money. For example, a six-figure sum is between 100,000 and 999,999. comb in adj ADJ n
Columbia Pictures paid him a six-figure sum for the film rights.
figure eight ( figure eights plural ) A figure eight is the same as a figure of eight.
Figure-hugging clothes fit very close to the body of the person who is wearing them. Figure-hugging is usually used to describe clothes worn by women. adj
figure of eight ( figures of eight plural ) A figure of eight is something that has the shape of the number 8, for example a knot or a movement done by a skater.
in AM, usually use figure eight
figure of speech ( figures of speech plural ) A figure of speech is an expression or word that is used with a metaphorical rather than a literal meaning. n-count
Of course I'm not. It was just a figure of speech.
Figure skating is skating in an attractive pattern, usually with spins and jumps included. n-uncount
mother figure ( mother figures plural ) , mother-figure If you regard someone as a mother figure, you think of them as having the role of a mother and being the person you can turn to for help, advice, or support. n-count