1. Representing by a figure, or by resemblance; typical; representative.
This, they will say, was figurative, and served, by God's appointment, but for a time, to shadow out the true glory of a more divine sanctity. --Hooker.
2. Used in a sense that is tropical, as a metaphor; not literal; -- applied to words and expressions.
3. Abounding in figures of speech; flowery; florid; as, a highly figurative description.
4. Relating to the representation of form or figure by drawing, carving, etc. See Figure, n., 2.
They belonged to a nation dedicated to the figurative arts, and they wrote for a public familiar with painted form. --J. A. Symonds.
Figurative counterpoint or Figurative descant. See under Figurate.
-- Fig*ur*a*tive*ly, adv. -- Fig*ur*a*tive*ness, n.
adv : in a figurative sense; "figuratively speaking,..." [ant: literally]