figure

Definitions

General English

Accounting

Aviation

  • noun a number, especially in mathematical calculations
  • noun a form consisting of any combination of points or lines, e.g. a triangle

Construction

  • The natural wood pattern that is created by growth rings, knots and other deviations from regular grain.

Information & Library Science

Media Studies

  • noun an illustration or diagram in a book or article

Politics

  • noun a particular number

Origin & History of “figure”

Figure comes via Old French from Latin figūra ‘form, shape, figure’, a derivative of the same base (*fig-) as produced fingere ‘make, shape’ (whence English effigy, faint, feign, and fiction). many of the technical Latin uses of the word, including ‘geometric figure’, are direct translations of Greek skhéma, which also meant literally ‘form, shape’, but the sense ‘numerical symbol’ is a later development.

Also from the base *fig- was derived Latin figmentum ‘something created or invented’, from which English gets figment (15th c.).
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