Figurative Language

Figurative language is language that creates an image, connection, or expands one’s interpretation of what a phrase or idea can mean. It often allows readers to visualize or think about a concept in a new way.

Home » Glossary of Literary Terms » Figurative Language
AJAX progress indicator
  • a
  • Adage
    An adage is a short, familiar and memorable saying that strikes as an irrefutable truth to a wide segment of the population. Read More
  • Ambiguity
    Ambiguity is a word or statement that has more than one meaning. If a phrase is ambiguous, it means multiple things. Read More
  • Analogy
    An analogy is an extensive comparison between one thing and another that is very different from it. Read More
  • Antiphrasis
    Antiphrasis is a rhetorical device that occurs when someone says the opposite of what they mean but their true meaning is obvious. Read More
  • Antithesis
    Antithesis occurs when two contrasting ideas are put together to achieve a desired outcome. Read More
  • Aporia
    Aporia is a figure of speech where a speaker or writer poses a question. This question expresses doubt or confusion. Read More
  • Archaism
    An archaism is a figure of speech in which a writer’s choice of word or phrase is purposefully old fashioned. Read More
  • Asyndeton
    Asyndeton is a figure of speech that occurs when words like “and” and “or” (coordinating conjunctions) are removed from sentences. Read More
  • c
  • Catachresis
    Catachresis is a figure of speech. it occurs when writers use mixed metaphors inappropriately. Read More
  • Conceit
    The word conceit refers to two different kinds of comparisons: the metaphysical, made famous by John Donne, and the Petrarchan. Read More
  • f
  • Figure of Speech
    A figure of speech is created when a writer uses figurative language or that which has another meaning other than its basic definition. Read More
  • h
  • Hyperbaton
    A hyperbaton is a figure of speech in which the order of words in a sentence or line are rearranged. Read More
  • Hyperbole
    Hyperbole is defined as an intentionally exaggerated description, comparison, or exclamation meant to make a specific impact on a reader. Read More
  • i
  • Idiom
    An idiom is a short-expression that means something different than its literal translation. Read More
  • Imagery
    Imagery refers to the elements of a poem that engage a reader’s senses. These are the important sights, sounds, feelings, and smells. Read More
  • Implied Metaphor
    An implied metaphor is a literary device that’s used in everything from short stories to novels and poems. Read More
  • Irony
    Irony occurs when an outcome is different than expected. It is very possible for one situation to strike one reader as ironic and another not. Read More
  • l
  • Litotes
    Litotes is a figure of speech that includes a phrase in which a negative word is used in order to express something positive. Read More
  • m
  • Meiosis
    Meiosis is a figure of speech that when used minimizes the importance of something. This is done through the use of a euphemism. Read More
  • Metalepsis
    Metalepsis is a figure of speech that occurs when a writer uses a phrase or word in a new context. The chosen phrase or word comes from a different figure of speech. Read More
  • Metaphor
    A metaphor is used to describe an object, person, situation or action in a way that helps a reader understand it, without using "like" or "as". Read More
  • Metonymy
    Metonymy a kind of figurative language that refers to a situation in which one term is substituted for another. Read More
  • n
  • Nonce Word
    A nonce word is a made-up word, or lexeme, created by a writer in poetry or fiction.  Read More
  • o
  • Onomatopoeia
    An onomatopoeia is a word that imitates the natural sound of a thing. Read More
  • Overstatement
    Overstatement is a type of figurative language. They are descriptions of events, people, situations, and objects that are over exaggerated. Read More
  • Oxymoron
    An oxymoron is a kind of figurative language in which two contrasting things are connected together. Read More
  • p
  • Procatalepsis
    Procatalepsis occurs when the person speaking addresses another point of view before the opponent even speaks. Read More
  • r
  • Reductio ad Absurdum
    Reductio ad absurdum is used when a speaker argues for their position by attempting to point out the absurdity in the alternative argument. Read More
  • s
  • Sensory Language
    Sensory language is the words used to create images that trigger the reader’s senses. These include sight, sound, smell, and taste. Read More
  • Simile
    A simile is a comparison between two unlike things that uses the words “like” or “as”. Read More
  • Spoonerism
    Spoonerism occurs when a writer changes the first letters of a word. This might create a new word or something nonsensical. Read More
  • t
  • Trope
    A trope, in literature, is the use of figurative language to make descriptions more evocative and interesting. Read More
  • z
  • Zeugma
    Zeugma occurs when the writer uses a single word capable of conveying two different meanings at the same time. Read More
>

Discover and learn about the greatest poetry, straight to your inbox

Start Your Perfect Poetry Journey

Ad blocker detected

To create the home of poetry, we fund this through advertising

Please help us help you by disabling your ad blocker

 

We appreciate your support