Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “figurative”

See all translations

figurative

adjective uk   /ˈfɪɡ.ər.ə.tɪv/ us    /-ɚ.ə.t̬ɪv/

figurative adjective (LANGUAGE)

( written abbreviation fig.) (of words and phrases) used not with their basic meaning but with a more imaginative meaning, in order to create a special effect: Of course, she was using the term "massacre" in the figurative sense.
Compare

figurative adjective (ART)

(of a painting, drawing, etc.) representing something as it really looks, rather than in an abstract way
(Definition of figurative from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of figurative?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “figurative” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

exercise

physical activity that you do to make your body strong and healthy

Word of the Day

Byronic, Orwellian and Darwinian: adjectives from names.

by Liz Walter,
April 15, 2015
Becoming an adjective is a strange kind of memorial, but it is often a sign of a person having had real influence on the world. Science is full of examples, from Hippocrates, the Greek medic born around 460 BC, who gave his name to the Hippocratic Oath still used by doctors today,

Read More 

bio-inspiration noun

April 13, 2015
the adoption of patterns and structures found in nature for the purposes of engineering, manufacturing, science, etc. The MIT researchers actually aren’t the only robotics team to turn to cheetahs for bio-inspiration.

Read More