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figure of speech
A form of expression in language, either spoken or written, that employs nonliteral meaning, unusual construction, or a particular combination of sounds to emphasize or heighten the rhetorical effect. Bob: "Does eating an apple a day really keep doctors away from you?" Doug: "Don't take it so literally, Bob, it's just a figure of speech."
(one) figures (that)
One presumes or anticipates (that); one reckons or thinks (that). If we can maintain these increasing profits, I figure that we'll be able to open a second branch by the end of the year. Mom figures it's time I moved out and found a place of my own to live.
in round figures
In or as a rounded, approximate number. And what do you think an expansion on the house like that would set us back, in round figures at least? In rough figures, it looks like Katie's childcare is going to cost about $1,000 a month.
That makes sense; that is as I expected or might have guessed. A: "Sally already broke up with that new boyfriend of hers." B: "Yeah, that figures. The dude looked like a total drug addict!" Fired from another job, huh? Well, that figures: you were showing up hungover most days of the week!
figure of fun
A person who is ridiculed or not taken seriously. Jesse became tired of being treated like a figure of fun so he changed his demeanor to be taken more seriously.
An approximate number; an estimate. Do you have a ballpark figure for the cost of the renovations? That's just a ballpark figure—they don't know exactly how many people will be attending the event.
be a fine figure of a (man or woman)
To be physically attractive. I'm too nervous to ask Miranda out on a date because she's such a fine figure of a woman. Now that he's been going to the gym regularly, Jeff is a fine figure of a man.
in round numbers
In or as a rounded, approximate number. And what do you think an expansion on the house like that would set us back, in round numbers at least? In round numbers, childcare is going to cost us about $2,000 a month.
It makes sense; it is as I expected or might have guessed. A: "Sally already broke up with that new boyfriend of hers." B: "Yeah, it figures. The dude looked like a total creep!" Fired from another job, huh? Well, it figures. You were showing up late most days of the week!
cut a figure
To convey a particular image. An adjective is often used between "a" and "figure." As the dog ran around while covered in a blanket, he cut a funny figure that entertained the kids.
cut a fine figure
To look attractive and well-dressed. This phrase is often used to describe men. That gentleman sure cut a fine figure in his three-piece suit.
Fig. an estimate; an off-the-cuff guess. I don't need an exact number. A ballpark figure will do.
cut a fine figure
to look good; to look elegant. (Usually said of a male.) Tom really cuts a fine figure on the dance floor. Bill cuts a fine figure since he bought some new clothes.
figure in something
[for someone or something] to play a role in something. Tom figures in our plans for future office management. I don't wish to figure in your future.
figure on doing something
to plan on something. I figured on arriving at the party around eight o'clock. Jane figured on spending $25 on dinner.
figure on someone or something
to count on someone or something; to assume something about someone or something. I am figuring on twelve people for dinner next Friday. We are figuring on you and your wife for dinner next weekend.
figure someone as something
to think of a person as a particular type of person. I figured her as a reliable worker. We figured them all as good credit risks.
figure someone or something in
(on something) to plan on having someone or something included in something. Please figure another ten people in on the picnic. I will figure in those people.
figure someone or something in(to) (something)and figure someone or something in
to reckon someone or something into the total. I will figure the electric bill into the total. We can figure in one more person.
figure someone or something out
to begin to comprehend someone or something; to come to understand someone or something better. I just can't figure you out. I can't figure out quiet people readily.
figure something up
to add up the amount of something. Please figure the bill up. We have to go now. I will figure up the bill right away.
flatter one's figure
Fig. [for clothing] to make one look thin or to make one's figure look better than it is. The lines of this dress really flatter your figure. The trousers had a full cut that flattered Maria's figure.
It's really strange.; Just try to figure it out. She says she wants to have a conversation, but when I try, she does all the talking. Go figure.
*in round numbersand *in round figures
Fig. as an estimated number; a figure that has been rounded off. (*Typically: be ~; express something ~; write something ~.) Please tell me in round numbers what it'll cost. I don't need the exact amount. Just give it to me in round figures.
It makes sense.; It confirms what one might have guessed.; I'm not surprised. Bob: Tom was the one who broke the window. Bill: It figures. He's very careless. Ann: Mary was the last one to arrive. Sally: It figures. She's always late.
*root of the problem
an understanding of the causes or basis of a problem. (*Typically: determine ~; figure out ~; find ~; get to ~; get at ~.) It will take a little more study to get to the root of the problem. Let's stop avoiding the issue and get at the root of the problem.
An acceptable, roughly accurate approximation, as in I know you can't tell me the exact cost; just give me a ballpark figure. This term alludes to a baseball field, which is always an enclosed space. The expression is basically an extension of the somewhat earlier in the ballpark, meaning within a reasonable range, and out of the ballpark, beyond a reasonable range. [Slang; late 1960s]
1. Include, add in. For example, Did you figure in the travel expense?
2. Play a part in, as in His speaking ability definitely figured in his being chosen for the lead, or Their reduced income figures in all their recent decisions.
1. Depend on, count on, as in We figured on your support.
2. Take into consideration, expect, as in We figured on his being late.
3. Plan, as in We'll figure on leaving at noon. All three colloquial usages date from about 1900.
1. Discover or determine, as in Let's figure out a way to help. [Early 1900s]
2. Solve or decipher, as in Can you figure out this puzzle? [Early 1800s]
Calculate, total, as in Please figure up just how many feet of lumber we need. [Late 1800s]
in round numbers
Also, in round figures. As an approximate estimate. For example, How much will the new highway cost, in round numbers? or In round figures a diamond of this quality is worth five thousand dollars, but it depends on the market at the time of selling . This idiom, which uses round in the sense of "whole" or "rounded off," is sometimes used very loosely, as Thomas Hardy did in Far from the Madding Crowd (1874): "Well, ma'am, in round numbers, she's run away with the soldiers." [Mid-1600s] Also see ballpark figure.
Also, that figures. It's (or that's) reasonable; it makes sense. For example, Hanging it upside down sounds like a weird idea, but it figures, or It figures that they won't be coming this year, or So she's complaining again; that figures. This idiom alludes to reckoning up numbers. [Colloquial; mid-1900s]
a ballpark figureor
a ballpark estimate
A ballpark figure or a ballpark estimate is an approximate figure or quantity. Note: A ballpark is a park or stadium where baseball is played. But what are we talking about here — a few thousand, millions, two bucks? Give me a ballpark figure. I think just in a ballpark estimate — about 60-40. Sixty would support, 40 percent would be opposed.
go figuremainly AMERICAN, INFORMAL
People say go figure when they want you to consider something they have just said because it is surprising or interesting. The average wage is $23,000 but you would need to earn $31,000 to buy the typical first home. Go figure. When I interviewed her she seemed like a nice, normal girl. So is this scandal true? Go figure.
1. To be included or require inclusion in order to make a calculation or conclusion: The profit reports will figure in the final budget decision.
2. To include something in making a calculation or conclusion: They failed to figure in all of their travel expenses. Don't forget to figure these numbers in when you write your report.
1. To include something in making a calculation or drawing a conclusion: We have to figure the possibility of a flat tire into our travel plans.
2. To be included or require inclusion in order to make a calculation or conclusion: The decline in profits figured into the manager's recent decision.
1. To depend on something: We figured on your support when we made up the plans.
2. To guess that something will transpire; estimate: I figured on traffic being heavy, so I left early.
3. To plan on doing something; anticipate: We figure on leaving for the store at noon.
1. To discover or decide something: Let's figure out a way to help. We figured out when to hold the next meeting.
2. To solve or decipher something: Can you figure this puzzle out? Late into the night, I figured out my homework assignment.
To calculate something, especially by addition: That's all of the supplies we need; can you figure up the total for us? We figured up the bill incorrectly; everyone owes another $10.
interj. Try to figure it out.; Just try to explain that! They heat the water to make the tea hot, then they put ice in it to make it cold, then they put lemon in it to make it sour, and then they put sugar in it to make it sweet. Go figure.
n. an important person in an event; a person central to an event. Sam is not exactly a key figure, but he can lead us to Mr. Big.
Used in the imperative to indicate the unexpectedness or absurdity of something.