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Figure of Speech

An expression in which the words are used in a non-literal sense to present a figure, picture or image.

Allusion

A reference to some person, place or event that has literary, historical or geographical significance.

Antithesis

Opposing words or ideas written in grammatical parallels.

Apostrophe

Addressing someone (dead) or something (an idea), not present, as though present.

Conceit

A far-fetched and ingenious comparison between two unlike things.

Hyperbole

An exaggeration for the sake of emphasis which is not to be taken literally.

Litotes

An understatement conveyed by stating the opposite of what one means or by stating a fact in the negative.

Metonymy

The substitution of a word naming an object for another word closely associated with it.

Onomatopoeia

The use of a word to represent or imitate natural sounds.

Paradox

A statement, often metaphorical, that seems to be self-contradictory but has valid meaning.

Personification

The giving of human characteristics to inanimate objects, ideas or animals.

Pun

A play on words that are identical or similar but have diverse meanings.

Oxymoron

A type of paradox in which two linked words contradict each other (e.g., "jumbo shrimp").

Synecdoche

A substitution in which a part is used to represent the whole.

Understatement

Saying less than one means or saying what one means with less force than the occasion warrants.

Fable

A short tale that teaches a moral lesson in which the characters are usually (but not always) animals with human qualities and speech.

Lyric

Any short, musical poem which expresses the poet's clearly revealed thoughts and feelings.

Haiku

It is a three-line Japanese poem, usually about nature. The first line has five syllables, the second has seven syllables, and the third line has five syllables.

Pastoral

A poem that idealizes rural living and nature.

Limerick

A five-line nonsense poem with anapestic meter.

Fixed Form

A traditional pattern that applies to a whole poem.

Villanelle

It consists of five tercets and a quatrain rhyming "aba" (with a variation in the quatrain). The first and third lines of the first tercet alternate as the final lines of the other stanzas; these lines are again repeated as the final two lines of the poem.

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