Definition of figurative in English:


Syllabification: fig·ur·a·tive
Pronunciation: /ˈfiɡyərədiv


1Departing from a literal use of words; metaphorical: gold, in the figurative language of the people, was “the tears wept by the sun.”
More example sentences
  • For example, is the term metaphor itself literal or figurative?
  • Teens comprehend abstract language, such as idioms, figurative language, and metaphors.
  • A figurative remark takes on literal construction, a metaphor is concretized in fact.
2(Of an artist or work of art) representing forms that are recognizably derived from life.
More example sentences
  • The standard was derived from the smaller figurative works on some of the larger paintings and then we kept to that.
  • On the contrary at any given point of time an abstract artist could do figurative work.
  • Duncan creates elegant female forms and her work is figurative, though not representational.


Middle English: from late Latin figurativus, from figurare 'to form or fashion', from figura (see figure).



More example sentences
  • With the kind of muscle, figuratively speaking, that Arnold has, it's possible.
  • Unfortunately they have to cross many boundaries, both literally and figuratively, in this search for truth.
  • Above all, we must not, figuratively speaking, tie their hands when it comes to disciplining their children.


More example sentences
  • Förster's figurativeness never corresponded to the dogmas of socialist realism, and was misunderstood and massively criticised in the early years of the GDR.
  • The works are unified - surprisingly, given the figurativeness of the show - by abstract elements used by all of the artists.
  • That figurativeness was really funny.

Definition of figurative in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day deictic
Pronunciation: ˈdīktik
denoting a word whose meaning depends on context...