I suspect that the answer to Claire Groden's question about figures and shapes depends a lot on the context in which these terms are used. This is not a particularly useful observation, so here is another: We frequently refer to the *shape of a curve* or the *shape of a surface*, etc., not usually to the *figure* of a curve or surface. I suspect that the term *figure* is more inclusive than the term *shape.* Unfortunately I am too many miles from the nearest OED to check right now, but you can be sure I will asap. Thanks, Claire, for raising an interesting question about terms we take too much for granted.