Adjective "figurative" definition and examples



Definitions and examples


Departing from a literal use of words; metaphorical.
  1. 'All these restrictions suggest that the country's newfound "sovereign "status is more figurative than literal.'
  2. 'The irony is that in the subsequent stories, so many are living in darkness, both figurative and literal.'
  3. 'He loves figurative language, and uses it when describing these relationships, perhaps as a sort of avoidance.'
  4. 'But I just think that figurative usages don't in fact help richness and vibrancy much.'
  5. 'Using it is too much of a literal and figurative headache, and if you get sloppy there's always the danger of nasty results.'
  6. 'Particularly when used in a figurative sense to refer to having heard something unpleasant.'
  7. 'It would make his move towards a criticism of absolute time both figurative and literal.'
  8. 'Although told that such usage might be metaphorical or figurative, Tess is undeterred.'
  9. 'In consequence he thinks that excessive caution has characterized instruction in figurative language.'
  10. 'They go there in search of excitement and electricity - in both a figurative and a literal sense.'
(of an artist or work of art) representing forms that are recognizably derived from life.
  1. 'Even so, the signature styles of the figurative work are very much in evidence.'
  2. 'The bust was sculpted by internationally-renowned figurative artist Ian Walters.'
  3. 'Currently, she lives in Seattle, Washington where she works as a figurative artist and writer.'
  4. 'The city of New York has been an inspiration for figurative painter Hector McDonnell.'
  5. 'The subject of her work is mostly figurative in nature and is often that of people, especially children, she has encountered in her travels.'
  6. 'Freud is better known as a figurative painter but his early paintings, often linear in character, owe much to his graphic work.'
  7. 'A figurative painter throughout his career, Beckmann depicted the world around him with an unparalleled intensity.'
  8. 'In his figurative works he let the figure bulge out of anatomical specifications and proportions.'
  9. 'Duncan creates elegant female forms and her work is figurative, though not representational.'
  10. 'As well as figurative work, Mary works on the landscape.'


1. of the nature of or involving a figure of speech, especially a metaphor; metaphorical and not literal: The word “head” has several figurative senses, as in “She's the head of the company.”.Synonyms: metaphorical, not literal, symbolic.

2. metaphorically so called: His remark was a figurative boomerang.

3. abounding in or fond of figures of speech: Elizabethan poetry is highly figurative.Synonyms: ornate, ornamental, flowery, elaborate, florid, grandiloquent.

4. repre

More examples(as adjective)

"works can be figurative."

"paintings can be figurative."

"senses can be figurative."

"languages can be figurative."

"arts can be figurative."

More examples++


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