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a. Based on or making use of figures of speech; metaphorical: figurative language.
b. Containing many figures of speech; ornate.
2. Represented by a figure or resemblance; symbolic or emblematic.
3. Of or relating to artistic representation by means of animal or human figures.

fig′u·ra·tive·ly adv.
fig′u·ra·tive·ness n.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(ˈfɪg yər ə tɪv li)
1. by means of a figure of speech; metaphorically.
2. by means of a figure or emblem; emblematically.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adv.1.figuratively - in a figurative sense; "figuratively speaking,..."
literally - in a literal sense; "literally translated"; "he said so literally"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
بِصورَة مَجازِيَّه أو إستِعاريَّه
bildlichim übertragenen Sinn
á myndrænan hátt, myndrænt
mecâzi olarak


[ˈfɪgərətɪvlɪ] ADVfiguradamente, en sentido figurado
he was speaking figurativelyhablaba en sentido figurado
you should understand this figurativelyhay que entender esto en sentido figurado
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[ˈfɪgərətɪvli] advau sens figuré
literally and figuratively → au propre comme au figuré
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


advim übertragenen Sinn; figuratively speakingbildlich gesprochen; I’m speaking figuratively theredas ist natürlich nicht wörtlich gemeint
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[ˈfɪgərətɪvlɪ] advin modo figurato
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(ˈfigə) , ((American) ˈfigjər) noun
1. the form or shape of a person. A mysterious figure came towards me; That girl has got a good figure.
2. a (geometrical) shape. The page was covered with a series of triangles, squares and other geometrical figures.
3. a symbol representing a number. a six-figure telephone number.
4. a diagram or drawing to explain something. The parts of a flower are shown in figure 3.
1. to appear (in a story etc). She figures largely in the story.
2. to think, estimate or consider. I figured that you would arrive before half past eight.
ˈfigurative (-rətiv) adjective
of or using figures of speech. figurative language.
ˈfiguratively adverb
ˈfigurehead noun
1. a person who is officially a leader but who does little or has little power. She is the real leader of the party – he is only a figurehead.
2. an ornamental figure (usually of carved wood) attached to the front of a ship.
figure of speech
one of several devices (eg metaphor, simile) for using words not with their ordinary meanings but to make a striking effect.
figure out
to understand. I can't figure out why he said that.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.
References in classic literature ?
Less figuratively speaking, he came up into the printing-office to expose from the book the nefarious plagiarism of an editor in a neighboring city, who had adapted with the change of names and a word or two here and there, whole passages from the essay on Barere, to the denunciation of a brother editor.
To express myself less figuratively, he determined to go to sea.
There was a star upon his forehead, and around his young face there glowed an aureole of gold and roses--to speak figuratively, for the star upon his brow was hope, and the gold and roses encircling his head, a miniature rainbow, were youth and health.
This has been figuratively taught to princes by ancient writers, who describe how Achilles and many other princes of old were given to the Centaur Chiron to nurse, who brought them up in his discipline; which means solely that, as they had for a teacher one who was half beast and half man, so it is necessary for a prince to know how to make use of both natures, and that one without the other is not durable.
Anybody can see that between the last paragraph of "An Outcast" and the first of "The Lagoon" there has been no change of pen, figuratively speaking.
Rising from the midst of vast plains and prairies, traversing several degrees of latitude, dividing the waters of the Atlantic and the Pacific, and seeming to bind with diverging ridges the level regions on its flanks, it has been figuratively termed the backbone of the northern continent.
That Pollyanna had taken the skeleton literally instead of figuratively, she knew very well; but, perversely, she refrained from correcting the mistake.
As true as I live, he's dying for you; breaking his heart at your fickleness: not figuratively, but actually.
But Tom received it literally and figuratively, at the same time.
Then with a little wave of her hands and a brilliant smile, she figuratively dismissed the subject.
Doctor was a trim rosy-cheeked, silver-haired little lady who took Anne at once to her heart, literally and figuratively.
Morally and physically -- figuratively and literally -- was the effect electric.