There is sentence that A tells his friend when he(A) sees him with a new car(hot rod):

'' never had you figured for a gearhead''

I think I need an explanation for ''had'' and meaning/part of speech of it here.

  • 1
    "I never though you'd be a gearhead."/"I never took you for a gearhead."
    – MorganFR
    Oct 27, 2016 at 9:10
  • The below answers are both good. Note that this is very idiomatic. The pattern of the verb is "figure (someone) for (something)" and means "consider (someone) to be (something)", but this past tense is hard to predict from that model. Jun 16, 2017 at 14:24

2 Answers 2


To "figure" is "think, consider, or expect to be the case." (google marks it as North American, but I think this usage is fairly common in the UK too). For example "I figured that she was your wife" = I thought, based on what I worked out, that woman was your wife. There is also an interjection "That figures!" meaning "That makes sense to me". A gearhead is a new word for me, but from context I suppose it means one who loves cars (I'd use petrolhead)

The "had" is the regular past perfect tense. Its not really essential but works well here. So "I never had you figured for a gearhead" = prior to seeing you with a hotrod, I never expected you to be a car lover.


The idiomatic expression

I had you (all) figured out.

means someone understands you and your motivations very well.

In your example

I never figured you to be a motorhead.
I never thought/understood you to be a motorhead

The speaker is saying there are still some aspects about you which are a mystery.

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