to figure out

Idiom Definition

"to figure out"

to think about and solve or understand:

a problem, a situation or some kind of puzzle;

a person, usually the person's behavior

Idiom Definition - to figure out


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - to figure out

Stewart and his assistant have been working on a complex accounting problem all day.  They have been studying and analyzing the problem in many different ways but have not been able to solve it yet.  They must finish the task by the end of the day because Stewart must give the work to the boss the next day.  With one hour left in the day, Stewart's assistant takes a break from the problem and walks around the room.  Stewart remarks to his assistant...

"We need to figure this out in the next hour or we will be staying late."

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - to figure out

Imagine a large open area office.  All the workers sitting at their desks can see the supervisor through the glass of the supervisor's office.  A salesman is watching as every minute or two the supervisor gets up and walks around his desk three times and then sits down again.  After watching this performance for quite some time, a secretary leans over to the salesman and comments on the supervisor's behavior.  The salesman replies...

"I know!  I've been trying to figure him out all afternoon."
Test Your Understanding  

to figure out - Usage:


Usage Frequency Index:   70,804   click for frequency by country

to figure out - Gerund Form:

Figuring out a complex problem can be a rewarding experience.

to figure out - Examples:

1)  I figure out the map directions when I know which direction is North.

2)  You figure out the map directions when you know which direction is North.

3)  He figures her out when he thinks about her behavior over time.

4)  She figures him out when she thinks about his behavior over time.

5)  The robot figures out the maze when it uses it sensors and microprocessor.

6)  We figure out the other team's strategy when we study their plays.

7)  You (all) figure out the set of instructions when you (all) read them carefully.

8)  They figure it out when they solve the puzzle.

9)  If you have a favorite doctor, figure out which plans she accepts and consider buying one.

10)  Its super fun to buy mystery fruit and figure out how to eat it.

11)  Your question's a good one, and yeah, tough stuff to figure out exactly sometimes.

12)  A little bit of experimenting will help you figure out which foods your hamster enjoys most.

13)  We're trying to figure out what the next big audience pleasing thing will be.

14)  It doesn't take us very long to figure out that each of the men is talking about a different part of the elephant.

15)  He figured out a way to dupe officials at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

16)  The cops figured out that her injuries were self inflicted.

17)  I know there is an objection, but I haven't yet figured out why.

18)  This is a simple business. It's all about figuring out how to get an audience.

19)  The clues most useful in figuring out something that went wrong often lie in the events immediately prior.

20)  I just need help figuring out what to do afterward. Can someone please help me?