What is the French word for figure as in "See Figure 2 on the following page", referring to a chart or illustration in an article or technical document?

I'm aware of la figure for a feature, le chiffre for a number (as the "figures in the table"), but I want to know the idiom that is typically used in French for this particular element of technical reports.


3 Answers 3


It could depend on the kind of "figure". We can use "illustration", "image", "diagramme", "schéma" and also "figure". "Dessin" is another one, for "drawing", but I don't think we would use "dessin" for "figure 1", "figure 2" in a technical document.

But I just opened a random maths book in French, and found "Figure 1", and "Table des figures" sounds ok.

"Figure" is pretty generic, and has a long page on TLFi - it covers a lot of cases under the two meanings of:

Combinaison d'éléments divers dessinant une forme, s'organisant en un motif.


Représentation symbolique d'une réalité, d'une idée, d'une notion abstraite.

(both from the Dictionnaire de l’Académie française, neuvième édition)


Generally, in scientific documents the technical words in English and French are equivalent. "Equation, solution, figure, ..." and many other words give the same meaning.

So as in your case, the sens of figure in french remains in general similar to the English sens.


The generic word for that kind of stuff is actually "figure", i.e.: voir figure 2.


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