Definition of figuration in English:



mass noun
  • 1Ornamentation by means of figures or designs.

    • ‘These transformations of nature into pattern, of narrative into schema, of figuration into device are what gives ornament its authentic character.’
    • ‘In the history of ornament it is descriptive or illusionistic figuration that is aberrant.’
    • ‘This new emphasis on figuration also led to a flowering in the production of illustrated manuscripts from the thirteenth century onward.’
    1. 1.1Music The use of florid counterpoint.
      ‘the figuration of the accompaniment comes out too strongly’
      count noun ‘in modern music we have small ostinato figurations’
      • ‘The music is certainly not immune from figuration that assists finger dexterity, but it is polished less for fingers and more for ears.’
      • ‘Throughout the concerto, the soloist is put through his paces with miles of finger-bending figurations.’
      • ‘By the second movement they had gained impetus, each variation infused with poise and delicacy, especially the leader's virtuoso figuration and Emma Denton's eloquent cello theme.’
      • ‘Its figuration, design and style are comparable to similar works by North German composers of the late seventeenth century.’
      • ‘Finally, a brisk march-like statement expands with changing figuration and buoyant mood to a scintillating finale.’
  • 2Allegorical representation.

    ‘the figuration of ‘The Possessed’ is much more complex’
    • ‘When watching this scene, the spectator cannot but be conscious of a figuration of ‘repression’.’
    • ‘Yet it is not capitalism but Protest itself which depends upon this figuration of the Father.’
    • ‘The self's figuration as a trajectory that collapses or can't move ahead finds its formal parallel in Jarnot's insistent, incessant use of repetition, anaphora, litany, and incantation.’
    • ‘This figuration of temporality by the spatial sequence of the words on the page is often, in turn, emblematized in narratives by the actual journeys upon which their characters embark.’
    • ‘But the article puts up a convincing case that what is ‘bodily or emotional figuration for us, preserved metaphors of somatic consciousness, was the literal stuff of psychological theory for early modern scriptors of the body’.’
    • ‘[The] figuration of the rhizome, then, allows me to think outside systems, outside order, outside stability.’
    • ‘This figuration needs to be balanced with ‘a consideration of the protensive dimension of the living through of embodied norms in praxis’.’
    • ‘The winning poem of this year's Boston Review poetry contest is an extended dramatic meditation on problems and principles of owing and figuration.’
    • ‘Curiosity also connects the allegorical figuration of Nell's story and the novel's anti-didactic agenda.’
    • ‘The crystalline mirror reminds us that the images of the dream vision are not mimetic representations but allegorical figurations.’
    • ‘It is not so much the use of language that Rousseau deplores - even less of figurative language, since figuration represents for Rousseau the form under which language first appeared.’
    • ‘The plinth becomes the very figuration of what cannot be figured.’


Middle English (in the senses ‘outline’ and ‘making of arithmetical figures’): from Latin figuratio(n-), from figurare ‘to form or fashion’, from figura (see figure).