Definition of figurative in English:

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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.
metaphorical, nonliteral, symbolic, allegorical, representative, emblematic
2(Of an artist or work of art) representing forms that are recognizably derived from life.
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.



Pronunciation: /ˈfiɡ(y)ərədivnəs/
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.


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

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: fig·ur·a·tive

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