50 Literary Devices (Definitions)

This Quizlet is to test students' knowledge of the definitions of common literary devices.
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Terms in this set (...)

alliteration
the repetition of the first sound in words

Alice's aunt ate apples and acorns around August.
Better butter makes a batter better.
allusion
a reference to something literary, mythological, or historical that the author assumes the reader will recognize

"When she lost her job, she acted like a Scrooge, and refused to buy anything that wasn't necessary."

"He was a Good Samaritan yesterday when he helped the lady start her car."
assonance
vowels are repeated in words that are close to each other

"Men sell the wedding bells."

The same vowel sound of the short vowel "-e-" repeats itself in almost all the words
anaphora
the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive clauses

"I want my money right now, right here, all right?"
metaphor
a comparison between two unlike things

Her voice is music to his ears.
The assignment was a breeze.
The skies of his future began to darken.
simile
comparing two unlike things usually formed with 'like' or 'as'

He's as happy as a clam.
Her cheeks are red like a rose.
hyperbole
a figure of speech that uses exaggeration to express strong emotion, make a point, or evoke humor

You always get to go first!
I never get the answer right.
imagery
when the writer or speaker uses their descriptions to access the senses of the reader of listener
consonance
the repetition of consonant sounds in the middle or at the end of words
enjambment
when the writer uses line breaks meaningfully and abruptly to either emphasize a point or to create dual meanings
repetition
when the writer or speaker knowingly repeats a word or group of words for effect
rhyme
when the end or final sound of two or more words are identical
rhythm
when the arrangement of words creates an audible pattern or beat when read out loud
onomatopoeia
when the words sound like what they mean
idiom
an accepted phrase or expression having a meaning different from the literal
personification
representing an abstract quality or idea as a person or creature
meter
a pattern of stressed/unstressed syllables in poetry
end rhyme
rhyme that occurs at the end of two or more lines of poetry
allegory
a story, play, or picture in which characters or settings are used as symbols or abstract ideas
slant rhyme
two words that have some sound in common but do not rhyme exactly
tone
the attitude a writer takes towards a subject, character, or the reader
internal rhyme
rhyme that occurs within a line, rather than at the end
diction
a writer's or speaker's choice of words
oxymoron
an expression in which two words that contradict each other are joined
cacophony
loud, harsh, or disagreeable sounds
blank verse
poetic form written in unrhymed iambic pentameter
free verse
poetic form that does not have a regular meter or rhyme scheme
ballad
a type of poem that is meant to be sung and is both lyric and narrative in nature
colloquial language
informal language; language that is "conversational"
euphemism
an indirect, less offensive way of saying something that is considered unpleasant
elegy
A sad or mournful poem, especially one mourning the dead
irony
a contrast between what is expected and what actually exists or happens
foil
two characters that highlight each other by their differences
foreshadowing
the use of hints and clues to suggest what will happen later in a plot
juxtaposition
placing two elements side by side to present a comparison or contrast
lyric
a short poem of songlike quality
monologue
a speech made by one actor or speaker
ode
a poem usually addressed to a particular person, object or event that has stimulated deep and noble feelings in the poet
paradox
an apparently contradictory statement that actually contains some truth
pun
a play on words, often achieved through the use of words with similar sounds but different meanings
rhetorical question
a question asked for an effect, not actually requiring an answer
sarcasm
harsh words intended to hurt someone
satire
a literary work that ridicules or criticizes a human vice through humor or derision
symbol
something that stands for or represents something else
understatement
saying less than one means, for effect
wit
intellectually amusing language that surprises and delights
stream of consciousness
a style of writing in which the author tries to reproduce the random flow of thoughts in the human mind
sonnet
Fourteen-line poem that is usually written in iambic pentameter and has one of several rhyme schemes.
epiphany
a moment of sudden realization or insight
epitaph
an inscription on a tombstone or monument in memory of the person buried there
atmosphere
The emotional mood created by a literary work