figure out

figure out


  • to solve something by using reasoning
  • to clear something up
  • to understand why someone acts in a certain way
  • it is a colloquial phrase and is not often used in a formal conversation

Example Sentences

  1. It doesn’t matter how long it takes. I am going to figure out this math problem.
  2. He was able to figure out who the killer was pretty quickly. That is why I like that show.
  3. She is going to figure out that you lied to her.
  4. Were you able to figure out the new IT system at work?
  5. I am having trouble figuring him out. He is always so mysterious.
  6. She is a difficult person to figure out. Sometimes she is so rude to me.
  7. I can’t figure out why my new colleague is always eating.


Relating to discovering something the phrase seems to have originated in the early 1900s. I can’t figure her out.

Related to solving a problem it has been used since the 1800s. Please help me figure out this math problem.

It is a phrasal verb if used in a context where something literally needs to be figured out. If it is used in a more figurative fashion it is an idiom.


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