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Meaning of FIGURATE

 
Webster's 1913 Dictionary
 
 Definition: 
\Fig"ur*ate\, a. [L. figuratus, p. p. of figurare. See
{Figure}.]
1. Of a definite form or figure.

         Plants are all figurate and determinate, which
         inanimate bodies are not.             --Bacon.

2. Figurative; metaphorical. [Obs.] --Bale.

3. (Mus.) Florid; figurative; involving passing discords by
   the freer melodic movement of one or more parts or voices
   in the harmony; as, figurate counterpoint or descant.

{Figurate counterpoint} or {descant} (Mus.), that which is
   not simple, or in which the parts do not move together
   tone for tone, but in which freer movement of one or more
   parts mingles passing discords with the harmony; -- called
   also {figural}, {figurative}, and {figured counterpoint}
   or {descant} (although the term figured is more commonly
   applied to a bass with numerals written above or below to
   indicate the other notes of the harmony).

{Figurate numbers} (Math.), numbers, or series of numbers,
   formed from any arithmetical progression in which the
   first term is a unit, and the difference a whole number,
   by taking the first term, and the sums of the first two,
   first three, first four, etc., as the successive terms of
   a new series, from which another may be formed in the same
   manner, and so on, the numbers in the resulting series
   being such that points representing them are capable of
   symmetrical arrangement in different geometrical figures,
   as triangles, squares, pentagons, etc.

Note: In the following example, the two lower lines are
      composed of figurate numbers, those in the second line
      being triangular, and represented thus: -- . 1, 2, 3,
      4, etc. . . . 1, 3, 6, 10, etc. . . . . . . . etc. 1,
      4, 10, 20, etc . . . . . . . . . . . .

 

 

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