figure


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Related to figure: figure of speech, Go figure

figure,

in music, short melodic or rhythmic pattern, the smallest grouping of notes that will produce a single distinct impression. In this sense figure is synonymous with motivemotive
or motif
, in music, a short phrase or passage of two or more notes and repeated or elaborated throughout the composition. The term is usually used synonymously with figure.
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. In music before the 18th cent., a figure had an additional meaning of symbolic significance; it was an illustration in sound of textual details, e.g., a descending group of notes for any word expressing descent. As such, it was part of musical rhetoric.

Figure

Sculptural representation of a person or animal.

Figure

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Figure is an older term for an astrological chart.

figure

[′fig·yər]
(materials)
The natural grain of wood, especially when it is cut as a veneer.

figure

Pattern and natural markings in a wood surface formed by an unusual arrangement or color of the wood fibers and rays. These deviations produce such figures as blister, bird’s-eye, fiddleback, etc.

figure

1. any written symbol other than a letter, esp a whole number
2. another name for digit
3. an amount expressed numerically
4. a representation in painting or sculpture, esp of the human form
5. a pattern or design, as on fabric or in wood
6. a predetermined set of movements in dancing or skating
7. Geometry any combination of points, lines, curves, or planes. A plane figure, such as a circle, encloses an area; a solid figure such as a sphere, encloses a volume
8. Logic one of the four possible arrangements of the three terms in the premises of a syllogism
9. Music
a. a numeral written above or below a note in a part
b. a characteristic short pattern of notes
References in classic literature ?
Byles beheld this figure on the staircase, he shivered as with an ague, but continued to watch him steadfastly, until the gouty gentleman had reached the threshold, made a gesture of anguish and despair, and vanished into the outer gloom, whither the funeral music summoned him.
Suppose that when a person asked you this question either about figure or colour, you were to reply, Man, I do not understand what you want, or know what you are saying; he would look rather astonished and say: Do you not understand that I am looking for the 'simile in multis'?
No," replied the figure evasively; "but I am always present.
But its efforts, it must be acknowledged, served an excellent purpose; for, with each successive whiff, the figure lost more and more of its dizzy and perplexing tenuity and seemed to take denser substance.
The figure was now within the chamber, and she, still dumb--quite dumb, and almost senseless--stood looking on.
I could see figures crowding the forward decks and upper works of the air craft.
Master Pedro made him a bow, saying, "I expected no less of the rare Christianity of the valiant Don Quixote of La Mancha, true helper and protector of all destitute and needy vagabonds; master landlord here and the great Sancho Panza shall be the arbitrators and appraisers between your worship and me of what these dilapidated figures are worth or may be worth.
But perhaps there was something ostentatiously elegant about the languid figure of Seymour leaning against one of the looking-glasses that brought him up short at the entrance, turning his head this way and that like a bewildered bulldog.
I described to her the solitary moorland road, and the grey-gowned woman's figure in front of me, and the gig coming along to meet her, and the salutation of the two girls, and I told her all one look of her face had meant for me, and how I had wildly sought her in vain, and from that day to this had held her image in my heart.
The boats, and trains, and cows and horses were quite meaningless to him, but not quite so baffling as the odd little figures which appeared beneath and between the colored pictures--some strange kind of bug he thought they might be, for many of them had legs though nowhere could he find one with eyes and a mouth.
Yet I found curious survivals; some of the figures of my old life seemed to be waiting for me in the new.
Over the taffrail leant a silent black figure, watching the stars.