Share this entry
figural Line breaks: fig|ural
Pronunciation: /ˈfɪɡjʊr(ə)l/

Definition of figural in English:


1 another term for figurative.
Example sentences
  • Fading in and out of these plasterlike surfaces are Lee's personal hieroglyphs of drawn and painted figural and insect forms.
  • Sears continued to win significant prizes for her figural work throughout the decade, but she also began to turn her attention toward another mode of artistic expression-photography.
  • In this case, internal evidence indicates that the writing, ornament, and figural paintings were all executed by a single hand.
1.1(In postmodernist writing) relating to or denoting a form of signification which relies on imagery and association rather than on rational and linguistic concepts.
Example sentences
  • Our received knowledge is that film is primarily a ‘visual’ medium; ergo, its represented references and appeal to most of our other senses are understood as figural rather than literal.
  • Did you begin with the notion of a ‘sonnet’ sequence and use it as the container into which figural patterns were discharged, or did the writing seem to insist on certain formal conditions as you proceeded and revised?
  • Various motifs, figural echoes, and symmetries have a fugitive presence in the film: they come and go, never entirely gathering all the fragments into a reassuring whole.


Late Middle English: from Old French, or from late Latin figuralis, from figura 'form, shape' (see figure).

Definition of figural in:
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources