From Hull AWE
Figurative is a word used in talking about language. It is the adjective from figure, as used in Figures of speech. Its meaning, in the simplest explanation, is 'not literal'. This is explained in more detail at Literal - figurative.
- In Art, figurative has a different, almost opposite, meaning: a figurative painter is one who depicts [human] figures, as opposed to an abstract painter who makes shapes and patterns with no obvious reference to real life.