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elixir

a supposed remedy for all ailments

desiccated

dried up

cessation

a stopping; a discontinuance

juxtapose

to place side-by-side for comparison

kinetic

pertaining to motion

garrulous

talkative

fetish

an object that receives respect or devotion

scintillate

to sparkle; to twinkle; to sparkle intellectually

lachrymose

tearful, weepy

fissure

an opening; a groove; a split

epitome

a typical example

languid

sluggish; drooping from weakness

delineate

to describe, to depict

legerdemain

sleight of hand; deception

libertine

one who leads an immoral life

stanza

a fixed number of lines of verse forming a unit of a poem

couplet

a stanza consisting of two successive lines of verse

heroic couplet

a couplet consisting of two rhymed lines of iambic pentameter and written in an elevated style

meter

rhythmical pattern of a poem

rhyme

correspondence in the sounds of two or more lines (especially final sounds)

blank verse

unrhymed verse (usually in iambic pentameter)

free verse

unrhymed verse without a consistent metrical pattern

slant rhyme

a rhyme in which the sounds are similar, but not exact, as in home and come or close and lose

sight rhyme

a form of rhyme that depends on appearance rather than sound (moose, choose)

rhyme scheme

the pattern of rhyme in a poem

halcyon

calm; pleasant

fastidious

hard to please; fussy

badinage

playful, teasing talk

malapropism

a word humourously misused

garner

to gather; to acquire

kismet

destiny; fate; fortune (one's lot in life)

hegira

flight; escape

paradigm

a model; an example

debauchery

corruption; self-indulgence

milieu

environment; setting

regress

to move backward

bilious

bad tempered; cross

necromancy

magic, especially that practiced by a witch

gumption

courage and initiative; common sense

blandishment

flattery

tercet

three line stanza

quatrain

four line stanza

cinquain

five line stanza

sestet

six line stanza

septet

seven line stanza

octave

eight line stanza

enjambment

the continuation of meaning, without pause or break, from one line of poetry to the next

end-stopped rhyme

a line of verse that ends in a full pause, usually indicated by a mark of punctuation.

scansion

analysis of verse into metrical patterns

onomatopoeia

using words that imitate the sound they denote

nirvana

a condition of great peace or happiness

salutary

healthful; wholesome

despicable

contemptible; hateful

harlequin

a clown

empathy

an understanding of another's feelings

brevity

briefness; short duration

savant

a person of extensive learning; an eminent scholar

obsequious

excessively submissive or overly

redundant

repetitious; using more words than needed

offal

garbage; waste parts

hoi polloi

the common people; the masses

sentient

conscious; capable of feeling or perceiving

impinge

to encroach; to trespass

cataract

a large waterfall

animosity

hatred

lyric poetry

a type of emotional songlike poetry, distinguished from dramatic and narrative poetry

sonnet

a verse form consisting of 14 lines with a fixed rhyme scheme

Shakespearean sonnet

a sonnet consisting three quatrains and a concluding couplet in iambic pentameter with the rhyme pattern abab cdcd efef gg

Spenserian Sonnet

a sonnet consisting of three quatrains and a concluding couplet in iambic pentameter with the rhyme pattern abab bcbd cdcd ee

Petrarchan Sonnet

a sonnet consisting of an octave with the rhyme pattern abbaabba, followed by a sestet with the rhyme pattern cdecde or cdcdcd

ode

a lyric poem with complex stanza forms

ballad

a type of poem that is meant to be sung and is both lyric and narrative in nature

folk ballad

a song that is traditionally sung by the common people of a region and forms part of their culture

literary ballad

a story told in verse where the writer imitates a folk ballad

villanelle

a short poem of fixed form, written in tercets, usually five in number, followed by a final quatrain, all being based on two rhymes.

sestina

6 six-line stanzas ending with tercet; last words of each line in 1st stanza are repeated as last words in next stanza

dramatic monologue

a poem in which a speaker addresses a silent listener

bombast

impressive but meaningless language

orthography

correct spelling

paleontology

a science dealing with prehistoric

recoil

to retreat; to draw back

panache

self-confidence; a showy manner

saturnine

gloomy; sluggish

endemic

confined to a particular country or area

mendacious

lying; false; deceitful

obviate

to prevent; to get around

paroxysm

a sudden outburst; a fit

aggrandize

to increase the range of; to expand
to make appear larger

deign

to lower oneself before an inferior

flaunt

to show off

shibboleth

a word or pronunciation that distinguishes someone of a particular group

elicit

to draw forth; to call forth

concrete poetry

poetry that uses the appearance of the verse lines on the page to suggest or imitate the poem's subject

closed poetic form

poetic form subject to a fixed structure and pattern

open poetic form

poetic form free from regularity and consistency in elements such as rhyme, line length, and metrical form

rime royal

a seven-line stanza of iambic pentameter rhymed ababbcc, used by Chaucer and other medieval poets.

rondeau

a French verse form of 10 or 13 lines running on two rhymes

pathetic fallacy

the fallacy of attributing human feelings to inanimate objects

archaism

the use of deliberately old-fashioned language

neologism

the act of inventing a word or phrase

poetic license

the freedom a poet has to rhyme or not, make up words, etc.

beat movement

a social and artistic movement of the 1950's stressing unrestrained literary self expression and nonconformity with the mainstream culture

orifice

mouth; opening

hallow

to make holy

perdition

damnation; ruin; hell

chaff

worthless matter

aesthetic

pertaining to beauty

empirical

based on practical experience rather than theory

germane

relevant; fitting

hermetic

tightly sealed

meretricious

attractive in a cheap, flashy way

querulous

complaining; grumbling

flaccid

flabby

hospice

a shelter for travelers or orphans or the ill or the destitute

egregious

remarkably bad; outrageous

ratiocinate

to reason; to think

foment

to stir up; to incite

elegy

a mournful poem

metaphysical poetry

exploration of complex ideas through extended metaphors and paradox

synaesthesia

the use of one kind of sensory experience to describe another

pun

a humorous play on words

juxtaposition

a side-by-side position

volta

the shift or point of dramatic change in a poem

terza rima

an Italian form of iambic verse consisting of eleven-syllable lines arranged in tercets, the middle line of each tercet rhyming with the first and last lines of the following tercet

conceit

a fanciful, particularly clever extended metaphor

catachresis

an extravagant, implied metaphor using words in an alien or unusual way

pastoral

a literary work idealizing the rural life (especially the life of shepherds)

refrain

a regularly repeated line or group of lines in a poem or song

salient

significant; conspicuous; standing out from the rest

recant

to withdraw or disavow a statement or opinion

jocular

humorous; lighthearted

palliate

to ease; to lessen; to soothe

malleable

capable of being changed; easily shaped

recreant

a coward; a traitor

affinity

an attraction to

impalpable

unable to be felt; intangible

fiscal

pertaining to finances

regale

to delight with something pleasing or amusing

miscreant

a vicious person

flagellate

to whip; to last

lascivious

lustful or lewd

flout

to ridicule; to show contempt for

salacious

obscene; lustful

alliterative verse

A verse form that uses alliteration as one of the major organizing principles of a poetic line.

cacophony

loud confusing disagreeable sounds

anapest

a metrical unit with unstressed-unstressed-stressed syllables

trochee

a metrical unit with stressed-stressed-unstressed syllables

iamb

a metrical unit with unstressed-stressed syllables

dactyl

a metrical unit with stressed-unstressed-unstressed syllables

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