I looked in dictionary for the meaning of "figurar" but failed to find anything satisfactory. Context:

Figura, una pregunta, ¿tú qué crees?

¿Cómo lo llevas? Figura. ¿Bien o superbien?

These are quotes taken from Podcast #110 published at Españolautomático.

  • 1
    Hello Bluelion7, thank you for posting your fist question at this site! Now, in order to maximize changes of accurate responses, you may need to provide a little more context. As it is, the phrase "Figura, una pregunta, ¿tu que crees?", sounds hard to parse. Where was it written in?, is it a home-work? Does the phrase follow an illustration or story provided?
    – ipp
    Oct 13 '19 at 23:24
  • 1
    Yes ,there were 2 contexts 1) "figura una pregunta,¿tu que crees? ¿hay monos en España. And 2) ¿cómo lo llevas,figura? ¿bien o superbien? It is from podacsts of Españolautomático.com no. 110. Thank you all so far for your contributions.
    – Bluelion7
    Oct 14 '19 at 8:46

Look at figura not figurar


  1. f. Persona que destaca en una determinada actividad. El premiado es una figura de la investigación científica.

  2. m. y f. coloq. Esp. Persona que sobresale o se distingue entre otras. Usado también en sentido irónico. El tío es un figura que quiere hacerse famoso como sea.

See especially the latter one. It can used ironically to imply that someone is not as smart as they pretend to be.

So, in that context "figura" is used with the meaning of "dude" or "smart ass". Imagine that you addressed this person as "professor", even if you know they don't hold the proper degree, just to emphasize that you are challenging some of they assumptions.

  • Hmm, I would have thought it was less modern, and would have meant something like "Think about it." Oct 14 '19 at 1:54

I listened to parts of the podcast episode in question. At approximately 11:40 (minutes:seconds) I found a clear example of how the male podcast host uses "Figura":

Figura. ¿Sabes de dónde viene este refrán?

There is a hypothesis that it is some strange kind of Spanglish or a lousy translation from English, but I disagree. I listened to enough of the podcast to get a clear impression that

  (a) Someone wrote a script, and the two hosts are reading from it as they are recording.

  (b) The male host appears to be a native speaker.

  (c) The female host appears to have a slight German accent: she uses a glottal stop in words that begin with a vowel, and her intonation tends to go down towards the end of a sentence (which makes her a bit hard to understand).

  (d) They both speak with an Iberian (not Latin American) accent.

There is a related meaning at spanishdict.com:

5. (imaginarse)
a. to imagine
me figuro que vendrá en tren (I imagine she'll come by train)
ya me lo figuraba yo (I thought as much)
¿se rió? — figúrate (did she laugh? — and how!)

The usage in the podcast appears to be with this meaning, but not as a pronominal.

Thus, we can translate "Figura. ¿Sabes de dónde viene este refrán?" as

Imagine [think for a moment]. Do you know where this saying comes from?

I don't know if the podcast author is

 (i) simplifying for the audience of Spanish learners

 (ii) using a regionalism

 (iii) making a mistake due to Spanish not being their first language

I can relate to (iii). I'm quite fluent in Spanish but sometimes I misuse a word, get a gender wrong, make a mistake with a conjugation, etc. This also happens to my spouse whose first language is German. Their level of English is very, very good, but nevertheless they manage to misuse some vocabulary item or other almost every day.


I asked the podcast creators. Here's how the email chain went:

Oct. 15
Karo, te pido un favor, ¿podrías echar un ojo a esta pregunta acerca de tu podcast? Gracias. Meaning of "figura" in coloquial languange

Oct. 18
Hola, [nombre]: Gracias por esta indicación. La verdad es es sorprendente cuánta confusión. Demasiada gente dando respuestas, sin saber realmente la respuesta. Nos han hecho esta pregunta muchas veces en nuestro blog y en nuestras redes sociales. Pero si esa persona ha decidido preguntar en otro lugar en vez de preguntarnos a nosotros, lo respetamos. Por tanto, no vamos a intervenir. Saludos, Karo y Mauro

Oct. 18
Hola Karo y Mauro, Oye, por favor, no lo tomes mal, que se haya preguntado en Spanish.StackExchange. Fíjate, si ustedes participaran ahí, de vez en cuando, contestando preguntas, eso les ayudaría a correr la voz de su podcast.
Estoy segur@ que si echan un ojo a nuestro sitio, verán que es un servicio buenísimo, que no está en ninguna competencia con ustedes. Somos TODOS voluntarios en stackexchange.

Sadly there was no further response.

  • Would the silent downvoter care to provide some feedback? Oct 15 '19 at 2:13
  • I'm not that downvoter and I agree with your points a) to d) but I don't think that "figura" in the podcast is a form of the verb figurar(se). As you have pointed the male seems native, a native would have said "figúrate" at the end of the sentence, after "¿Sabes de donde viene...?". I agree with Diego, it probably means just "dude".
    – RubioRic
    Oct 15 '19 at 6:14
  • @RubioRic - Did you listen to any of the podcast? I got the vibes that both of the hosts were reading from a script. Oct 15 '19 at 6:20
  • Yes, I have listened some minutes of the linked podcast before commenting and as I said I agree with your point a). The page seems to have been written by a native, probably the script too.
    – RubioRic
    Oct 15 '19 at 6:51
  • @walen - I see, thanks for explaining. // I've been meaning to post an update. Finally got that done now. Oct 27 '19 at 22:28

The world "figura" does not exist (as if conjugated in imperative form) and is giving you trouble because appear as a literal translation of the informal usage of figure out found in English

figure out (informal) To come to understand; to discover or find a solution; to deduce.

(Look that in Spanish, the third definition of the verb figurar, from lat. figurāre, comes close but not exactly, used as to imagine or suppose, but not exactly to mean "think of")


  1. tr. prnl. Imaginarse o suponer algo. "Me figuro que será por aquí cerca."

The phrase is not well built, not in proper Spanish (but some case of Spanglish that would cause confusion to most Spanish speakers)

Considering the context you provided, —that statement in a follow-up question for gauging your comprehension of an audio podcast—, the correct way to express it would be:

Piensa (Formula / Haz) una pregunta. ¿Qué crees?,¿hay monos en España? [Think of a question Do you think that there are monkeys in Spain?

Also for the case you mentioned, asking about your performance, they should say it differently

¿Qué tan bien crees que lo estás haciendo? (o ¿Qué tan bien piensas que vas entendiendo?¿Bien o Super Bien? [How well do you think you are doing? Good or super-good?]

  • 1
    Thank you all so much! Very helpful indeed!
    – Bluelion7
    Oct 14 '19 at 16:35

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