# Shapes and figures: are they synonyms? [closed]

Is there a difference between shapes and figures, or these words are synonyms in terms of geometry? Thank you.

## closed as off-topic by user3169, Nathan Tuggy, Glorfindel, Em.♦, JavaLatteDec 4 '16 at 9:30

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

• "This question should include more details than have been provided here. Please edit to add the research you have done in your efforts to answer the question, or provide more context. See: Details, Please." – user3169, Nathan Tuggy, Glorfindel, Em., JavaLatte
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

• Your question needs to be expanded to show your understanding of the meaning of the words, along with some examples of said shapes/figures you are wondering about. figure has a broad usage so additional details are needed to focus on your problem. – user3169 Dec 3 '16 at 21:15
• Shape is one of the possible meanings of figure. Have a look at this dictionary definition: if that doesn't explain everything to you, please ask a more specific question. dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/figure – JavaLatte Dec 4 '16 at 9:30

In geometry, there are certain set "shapes" (outlines) that are defined:

2-D: circles, squares, triangles, rectangles...
3-D: cubes, cylinders, spheres...

The instances, or when they occur, are called "figures"

A cube is a 3-D figure.
A circle is a planar figure.

The figure is in the shape of a square.

Example

The definition of a square is that it has four equals sides and the angles between the sides are 90 degrees. This defines a square's "shape", what it will look like, but since it has not been drawn, there is no "figure of a square", only the idea of its "shape".

Draw a square:

Now, that the square is drawn: the black square is a "figure" of a square.

• "Look at this picture. This is a square. It's a..." Shape or figure? Which word is preferable here? – Yulia Dec 3 '16 at 11:32
• The "figure" (picture) has the "shape" of a square", "It is a "figure" of a square". The "figure" is the "picture", the "shape" is what it looks like. – Peter Dec 3 '16 at 17:27