Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


1. The act of forming something into a particular shape.
2. A shape, form, or outline.
3. The act of representing with figures.
4. A figurative representation.
5. Music
a. Ornamentation of a passage by embellishing and often repeating figures.
b. The pattern made by such embellishment or repetition.


1. (Classical Music) music
a. the employment of characteristic patterns of notes, esp in variations on a theme
b. decoration or florid ornamentation in general
2. (Rhetoric) the act or an instance of representing figuratively, as by means of allegory or emblem
3. (Art Terms) a figurative or emblematic representation
4. (Art Terms) the act of decorating with a design


(ˌfɪg yəˈreɪ ʃən)

1. the act of shaping into a particular figure.
2. the resulting figure or shape: emblematic figurations of the sun and the moon.
3. the act of representing figuratively.
4. a figurative representation.
5. the act of marking or adorning with a design.
a. musical ornamentation used to embellish a melodic line.
b. the figuring of a bass part.
[1400–50; late Middle English < Latin]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.figuration - representing figuratively as by emblem or allegory
representation - an activity that stands as an equivalent of something or results in an equivalent
symbolising, symbolizing - the act of representing something with a symbol
2.figuration - decorating with a design
decoration - the act of decorating something (in the hope of making it more attractive)
References in periodicals archive ?
As a result, "the desire for social equality, which these novels represent in domestic figuration, reflects black people's chronic quest for civil liberty, a quest that has been and continues to be fundamental to virtually all aspects of their lives.
It also chronicled the struggles of a midcentury painter to reconcile the twin poles of modernism: figuration and abstraction.
Figuration and chord progressions in the development section are similar to those in a number of classical sonatas and thus offer good preparation for these works.
But the preponderance of the language and its tone and rhythm here focus toward the intellectual analysis and figuration of the humanity of the male self and the sacrifice of that self to the female.
Since, in Peter Martyr's reading the manner of Christ's saying is figurative and the meaning is spiritual, truth and figuration come enticingly -- perhaps also deceptively -- close in it.
The sole piece of evidence she offers on Venus is an oration delivered in 1559 by Luigi Groto, "the blind man of Adria," whose unprecedented figuration was taken up by no one else.
It's tremendous fun seeing her rethink Jasper Johns and Bruce Nauman (with partially clad or bewigged body casts), Andy Warhol (his products become her logotypes), Sigmar Polke (from dots to plaids), Chuck Close (fingerprints disaggregated from figuration and made into Rorschachs), Richard Serra (whose rusting vertical plates get outfitted with stove-top burners), et al.
15] Under James, the number of libels aimed at the king's favorites increases exponentially and also includes a wide range of lurid figuration.
Craft begins with bronze as a way to question the viability of monumentality while pushing figuration to its nonrepresentational limits.
There is a similar but more complex and subtle shift from figuration to abstraction in the two works from the "Autochromes" series, which consists of large reproductions of early color photographs that have become almost undifferentiated monochrome surfaces.
These display the figuration of Augustine both to illustrate and to challenge humanist practices.
He shares a sense of perplexity with Munro, though his paint handling and figuration are much more precise; and his disturbing mixture of visual elements and references is akin to Cooke's compositional range, though Quinn's are more overtly humorous.