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Iambic Pentameter

A five-foot line made up of an unaccented followed by an accented syllable. Most common metric foot in English poetry.

Idiomatic Expression

Refers to a construction or expression in one language that cannot be matched or directly translated word for word in another language.


A word or phrase representing that which can be seen, touched, tasted, smelled, or felt.


Elements in a literary work which depend for their effect or result on a reader's interpretation, and which may be interpreted in a number of different (and, likely, mutually conflicting) ways.

In Medias Res

In literature, a work that begins in the middle of the story.

Indirect characterization

Shows rather than tells the attributes of a character through his or her appearance, actions, thoughts, and speech as well as the observations and reactions of others.

Interior Monologue

In literature, used to describe all means/methods of self-revelation

Internal Rhyme

A rhyme that is within the line, rather than at the end


Synonym for anastrophe (inversion of word order to achieve a particular effect)


A mode of expression in which the intended meaning is the opposite of what is stated, often implying ridicule or light sarcasm; a state of affairs or event that is the reverse of what might have been expected.

Italian (Petrarchan) sonnet

Fourteen line poem divided into two parts: the first is eight lines (abbaabba) and the second is six (cdcdcd or cdecde)


A direct verbal assault; a denunciation.


The arrangement of two or more ideas, characters, actions, settings, phrases, or words side-by-side or in similar narrative moments for the purpose of comparison, contrast, rhetorical effect, suspense, or character development


Used particularly in Anglo-Saxon verse, this is the means of expressing or describing one thing in terms of another e. g. ocean becomes "whale-road" or warrior becomes "Helmet-bearer"


A mocking, satirical assault on a person or situation.

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