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Pronunciation (US): 

 Dictionary entry overview: What does figurative mean? 

FIGURATIVE (adjective)
  The adjective FIGURATIVE has 2 senses:

1. (used of the meanings of words or text) not literal; using figures of speech
2. consisting of or forming human or animal figures

  Familiarity information: FIGURATIVE used as an adjective is rare.

 Dictionary entry details 

FIGURATIVE (adjective)

Sense 1figurative [BACK TO TOP]


(used of the meanings of words or text) not literal; using figures of speech


figurative; nonliteral

Context example:

figurative language


analogical (expressing, composed of, or based on an analogy)

extended (beyond the literal or primary sense)

metaphoric; metaphorical (expressing one thing in terms normally denoting another)

metonymic; metonymical (using the name of one thing for that of another with which it is closely associated)

poetic (characterized by romantic imagery)

synecdochic; synecdochical (using the name of a part for that of the whole or the whole for the part; or the special for the general or the general for the special; or the material for the thing made of it)

tropical (characterized by or of the nature of a trope or tropes; changed from its literal sense)


rhetorical (concerned with effect or style of writing and speaking)


literal (limited to the explicit meaning of a word or text)

Sense 2figurative [BACK TO TOP]


Consisting of or forming human or animal figures


figural; figurative

Context examples:

a figural design / the figurative art of the humanistic tradition


representational ((used especially of art) depicting objects, figures,or scenes as seen)

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