How can we help?

You can also find more resources in our Help Center.

FHS PIB10 Poetry Term DEFINITIONS

STUDY
PLAY
alliteration
the repetition of consonant sounds in a sequence of nearby words
allusion
a reference, explicit or indirect, to a well-known person, place, event, literary work, or work of art
anapest
a three-syllable foot of poetrywith two weak stresses followed by one strong stress
apostrophe
a direct and explicit address to an absent person or non-human entity
assonance
the repetition of vowel sounds in stressed syllables containing dissimilar consonant sounds
ballad
a poem or song that tells a story, a narrative species of folk songs which originate, and are communicated orally, among illiterate or only partly literate people; a literary ballad is composed in imitation of an old folk ballad
blank verse
poetry written in unrhymed iambic pentameter lines.
cacophony
(dissonance) language which seems harsh, rough, and unmusical; the discordance is the combined effect of meaning and difficulty of pronunciation, as well as sound
caesura
a pause in the middle of a line of poetry dictated by sense or natural rhythm
concrete
a pattern poem in which the visual form or shape of the poem reflects the poem's theme or content
consonance (one letter)
repetition of consonant sounds within a line of verse, similar to alliteration but not limited to the beginning letter of a word
consonance (two or more letters)
the repetition of a sequence of two or more consonants, but with a change in the intervening vowel
couplet
a pair of rhyming lines written in the same meter
dactyl
a three-syllable metrical foot consisting of a heavy stress followed by two lights, as in might-i-est
dimeter
a line of verse consisting of two metrical feet
dramatic monologue
a type of poem or dramatic speech where a single person, who is NOT the poet, utters the entire poem in a specific situation at a critical moment.
elegy
a formal and sustained poetic lament (and usually consolation) for the death of a particular person
end-stop line
poetic line in which the pause in the reading, naturally occurring, coincides with the end of the line
enjambment
run-on lines - the continuation of a sentence or phrase from one verse line to the next without end-stopped punctuation
epic
long narrative poem on a great or serious subject told in an elevated style and centered on a heroic or quasi-divine figure on whose actions depends the fate of a tribe or nation
epigram
any short poem which is polished, terse, and pointed, which often ends with a surprising or witty turn of thought
free verse
poetry not written in a regular, rhythmical pattern, or meter
heptameter
verse composed in lines of seven metrical feet
heroic couplet
lines of iambic pentameter which rhyme in pairs (aa, bb, cc, etc.)
hyperbole
a deliberate exaggeration or overstatement as a means of emphasis
iamb
a metrical foot with one weak stress followed by one strong stress, as in the word—afraid
inversion/chiasmus
changing/reversing the natural word order; sometimes this is an artificial way for the poet to achieve a rhyme and rhythm
litotes
a form of understatement that asserts that something is true by denying its opposite
lyric
a poem that expresses the observations and subjective feelings of a single speaker
lyrical
having the qualities of a lyric poem; songlike, musical
meiosis
synonym for litotes
metaphor
a figure of speech in which one thing is spoken of as though it were something else
meter
the rhythmical pattern of a poem, determined by the number and types of stresses, or beats, in each line
metonymy
the literal term for one thing is applied to another with which it is closely associated
octave
a stanza of eight lines; first part of an Italian or Petrarchan sonnet, rhyming abbaabba
ode
a long lyric poem that is serious in subject and treatment, elevated in style, and elaborate in its stanzaic structure
onomatopoeia
the use of words that imitate sounds, as in buzz, hiss, murmur
oxymoron
the paradoxical utterance conjoining two terms that in ordinary usage are contraries
paradox
a statement that seems to be contradictory but that actually presents the truth
parallel structure
the repetition of a grammatical pattern
paraphrase
a brief restatement, in one's own words, of all or part of a literary work
pastiche
an imitation of an author's style, syntax, diction, and themes
pentameter
verse written in lines of five metrical feet
personification
a type of figurative language in which a non-human subject is given human characteristics
phonetic intensive
a word whose sound, by an obscure process, to some degree suggests its meaning, such as flicker, slippery, glisten
pun
a play on words that are either identical in sound (homonyms) or very similar sound, but are sharply diverse in meaning
pyrrhic
a metrical foot composed of two successive syllables with approximately equal light stresses
quatrain
four-line stanza; the most common in English versification, and is employed with various meters and rhyme schemes
refrain
a phrase, verse, or group of verses repeated at intervals throughout a song or poem, especially at the end of each stanza
repetition
the act or instance of repeating a certain literary element, word, or phrase
rhythm
the varying speed, intensity, elevation, pitch, loudness, and expressiveness of speech especially prevalent in poetry
rhyme
the repetition of identical or closely related sounds in the syllables of different words, most often in concluding syllables at ends of lines
slant rhyme
sounds are similar, or a visual rhyme, as in prove/glove
internal rhyme
rhyming words that fall within the line
masculine rhyme
last word in one line rhymes with the last word in another line
feminine rhyme
rhyming accented syllables followed by identical unaccented syllables at the ends of lines, as in brightly/lightly
rhyme scheme
the pattern of a poem's rhyme, usually indicated by assigning a letter of the alphabet to each rhyming sound
scansion
the act of determining the prevailing rhythm of a poem
sestet
six line stanza
shift
an often intentional change in anything - point of view, scenery, mood, etc.; can often be intended as a device
simile
a figure of comparison using "like" with nouns and "as" with clauses
sonnet
a lyric poem consisting of a single stanza of fourteen iambic pentameter lines linked by an intricate rhyme scheme; Elizabethan and Petrarchan being the predominant forms
spondee
a foot of two successive syllables with approximately equal strong stresses
stanza
a grouping of the verse-lines in a poem, set off by a space in the printed text
symbol
a specific word, idea, or object that may stand for ideas, values, persons, or ways of life
synaesthesia
descriptions of one kind of sensation in terms of another; using one sensory experience to describe another
synecdoche
a part of something is used to signify the whole or vice versa
tercet/triplet
stanza of three lines
terza rima
poetry written in tercets which are interlinked in that each is linked to the one following by a common rhyme
trochee
a two-syllable metrical foot consisting of a heavy stress followed by a light stress; as in never or gather or happy
understatement
restraint or lack of emphasis in expression, as for rhetorical effect (see also litotes and meiosis)
verse
compositions written in meter, a line of poetry; can refer to poetry in general
zeugma
expressions in which a single word stands in the same grammatical relation to two or more other words, but with an obvious shift in its significance.