Careful Words

figure (n.)

figure (v.)

figure (adj.)

But, alas, to make me

A fixed figure for the time of scorn

To point his slow unmoving finger at!

William Shakespeare (1564-1616): Othello. Act iv. Sc. 2.

  A fellow that makes no figure in company, and has a mind as narrow as the neck of a vinegar-cruet.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784): Tour to the Hebrides. Sept. 30, 1773.

  One of the sophisms of Chrysippus was, "If you have not lost a thing, you have it."

Diogenes Laertius (Circa 200 a d): Chrysippus. xi.

The baby figure of the giant mass

Of things to come.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616): Troilus and Cressida. Act i. Sc. 3.

When we mean to build,

We first survey the plot, then draw the model;

And when we see the figure of the house,

Then must we rate the cost of the erection.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616): King Henry IV. Part II. Act i. Sc. 3.

We figure to ourselves

The thing we like; and then we build it up,

As chance will have it, on the rock or sand,—

For thought is tired of wandering o'er the world,

And homebound Fancy runs her bark ashore.

Sir Henry Taylor (1800-18—): Philip Van Artevelde. Part i. Act i. Sc. 5.