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.
- AdageAn adage is a short, familiar and memorable saying that strikes as an irrefutable truth to a wide segment of the population.
- AmbiguityAmbiguity is a word or statement that has more than one meaning. If a phrase is ambiguous, it means multiple things.
- AnalogyAn analogy is an extensive comparison between one thing and another that is very different from it.
- AntiphrasisAntiphrasis is a rhetorical device that occurs when someone says the opposite of what they mean but their true meaning is obvious.
- AntithesisAntithesis occurs when two contrasting ideas are put together to achieve a desired outcome.
- AporiaAporia is a figure of speech where a speaker or writer poses a question. This question expresses doubt or confusion.
- ArchaismAn archaism is a figure of speech in which a writer’s choice of word or phrase is purposefully old fashioned.
- AsyndetonAsyndeton is a figure of speech that occurs when words like “and” and “or” (coordinating conjunctions) are removed from sentences.
- CatachresisCatachresis is a figure of speech. it occurs when writers use mixed metaphors inappropriately.
- ConceitThe word conceit refers to two different kinds of comparisons: the metaphysical, made famous by John Donne, and the Petrarchan.
- Epic SimileAn epic simile is a long poetic comparison, that uses like or as, and which goes on for several lines. It grows more complicated and reveals its meaning as the lines progress.
- Figure of SpeechA figure of speech is created when a writer uses figurative language or that which has another meaning other than its basic definition.
- HyperbatonA hyperbaton is a figure of speech in which the order of words in a sentence or line are rearranged.
- HyperboleHyperbole is defined as an intentionally exaggerated description, comparison, or exclamation meant to make a specific impact on a reader.
- IdiomAn idiom is a short-expression that means something different than its literal translation.
- ImageryImagery refers to the elements of a poem that engage a reader’s senses. These are the important sights, sounds, feelings, and smells.
- Implied MetaphorAn implied metaphor is a literary device that’s used in everything from short stories to novels and poems.
- IronyIrony occurs when an outcome is different than expected. It is very possible for one situation to strike one reader as ironic and another not.
- LitotesLitotes is a figure of speech that includes a phrase in which a negative word is used in order to express something positive.
- MeiosisMeiosis is a figure of speech that when used minimizes the importance of something. This is done through the use of a euphemism.
- MetalepsisMetalepsis 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.
- MetaphorA 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".
- MetonymyMetonymy a kind of figurative language that refers to a situation in which one term is substituted for another.
- Mixed MetaphorA mixed metaphor is a literary device that occurs when two or more dissimilar metaphors are fused to forge a comparison, typically creating a ludicrous effect.
- Nonce WordA nonce word is a made-up word, or lexeme, created by a writer in poetry or fiction.
- OnomatopoeiaAn onomatopoeia is a word that imitates the natural sound of a thing.
- OverstatementOverstatement is a type of figurative language. They are descriptions of events, people, situations, and objects that are over exaggerated.
- OxymoronAn oxymoron is a kind of figurative language in which two contrasting things are connected together.
- PloceA ploce is a figure of speech. It occurs when a poet repeats a word with a different emphasis. The technique is used in poetry, prose, and drama.
- ProcatalepsisProcatalepsis occurs when the person speaking addresses another point of view before the opponent even speaks.
- Reductio ad AbsurdumReductio ad absurdum is used when a speaker argues for their position by attempting to point out the absurdity in the alternative argument.
- Sensory LanguageSensory language is the words used to create images that trigger the reader’s senses. These include sight, sound, smell, and taste.
- SimileA simile is a comparison between two unlike things that uses the words “like” or “as”.
- SpoonerismSpoonerism occurs when a writer changes the first letters of a word. This might create a new word or something nonsensical.
- TropeA trope, in literature, is the use of figurative language to make descriptions more evocative and interesting.
- ZeugmaZeugma occurs when the writer uses a single word capable of conveying two different meanings at the same time.
Explore more categories in the Literary Terms Glossary:
William Shakespeare is considered to be one of, if not the, most important English-language writers of all time. He crafted
A proverb is a short saying that’s used to convey wisdom or advice. It is widely known within a specific
Meter is the rhythmic structure of a poem. It refers to the number of syllables and the arrangement of stresses
A poetic form is the structure of the poem. This includes how long it is, how many lines or words
A literary movement is a term used to define literature created during the same time period by different authors. They
A definition is an explanation of a word’s meaning, in this case, in regard to how it’s used in literature.
Literary devices are techniques writers use to improve their work. They can hint at themes, convey the meaning of the
An idiom is a phrase that cannot be understood through its individual words. It often uses figurative language, allusions, and
Genre is a category of composition, whether that is artistic, literary, or musical. A genre is defined by its style,
Figurative language is language that creates an image, connection, or expands one’s interpretation of what a phrase or idea can
Diction is the writer’s choice of words and phrases and how those phrases convey their story. Depending on the type