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100 terms

vocabulary #1-100

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Absolute
a word free from limitations or qualifications ("best", "all", "unique", "perfect")
Adage
a familiar proverb or wise saying
ad hominem argument
an argument attacking an individual's character rather than his or her position on an issue
Allegory
a literary work in which characters, objects, or actions represent abstractions
Alliteration
the repetition of initial sounds in successive or neighboring words
Allusion
a reference to something literary, mythological, or historical that the author assumes the reader will recognize
Analogy
a comparison of two different things that are similar in some way
Anaphora
the repetition of words or phrases at the beginning of consecutive lines or sentences
Anecdote
a brief narrative that focuses on a particular incident or event
Antecedent
the word, phrase, or clause to which a pronoun refers
Antithesis
a statement in which two opposing ideas are balanced
Aphorism
A concise statement that expresses succinctly a general truth or idea, often using rhyme or balance
Apostrophe
a figure of speech in which one directly addresses an absent or imaginary person, or some abstraction
Archetype
a detail, image, or character type that occurs frequently in literature and myth and is thought to appeal in a universal way to the unconscious and to evoke a response
Argument
a statement of the meaning or main point of a literary work
Asyndeton
a construction in which elements are presented in a series without conjunctions
Balanced Sentence
a sentence in which words, phrases, or clauses are set off against each other to emphasize a contrast
Bathos
insincere or overly sentimental quality of writing/speech intended to evoke pity
Chiasmus
a statement consisting of two parallel parts in which the second part is structurally reversed ("Susan walked in, and out rushed Mary")
Cliche
an expression that has been overused to the extent that its freshness has worn off
Climax
the point of highest interest in a literary work
colloquialism
informal words or expressions not usually acceptable in formal writing
complex sentence
a sentence with one independent clause and at least one dependent clause
compound sentence
a sentence with two or more coordinate independent clauses, often joined by one or more conjunctions
conceit
a fanciful, particularly clever extended metaphor
concrete details
details that relate to or describe actual, specific things or events
connotation
the implied or associative meaning of a word
cumulative sentence
a sentence in which the main independent clause is elaborated by the successive addition of modifying clauses or phrases
declarative sentence
a sentence that makes a statement or declaration
deductive reasoning
reasoning in which a conclusion is reached by stating a general principle and then applying that principle to a specific case
denotation
the literal meaning of a word
dialect
a variety of speech characterized by its own particular grammar or pronunciation, often associated with a particular geographical region
dialogue
conversation between two or more people
diction
the word choices made by a writer
didactic
having the primary purpose of teaching or instructing
dilemma
a situation that requires a person to decide between two equally attractive or equally unattractive alternatives
dissonance
harsh, inharmonious, or discordant sounds
elegy
a formal poem presenting a meditation on death or another solemn theme
ellipsis
the omission of a word or phrase which is grammatically necessary but can be deducted from the context
epic
a long narrative poem written in elevated style which presents the adventures of characters of high position and episodes that are important to the history of a race or nation
epigram
a brief, pithy, and often paradoxical saying
epigraph
a saying or statement on the title of a page of a work, or used as a heading for a chapter or other section of a work
epiphany
a moment of sudden revelation or insight
epitaph
an inscription on a tombstone or burial place
epithet
a term used to point out a characteristic of a person. Homeric ones are often compound adjectives that become an almost formulaic part of a name. They can be offensive or abusive but are not so by definition.
eulogy
a formal speech praising a person who has died
euphemism
an indirect, less offensive way of saying something that is considered unpleasant
exclamatory sentence
a sentence expressing strong feeling, usually punctuated with an exclamation mark
expletive
an interjection to lend emphasis; sometimes a profanity
fable
a brief story that leads to a moral, often using animals as characters
fantasy
a story that concerns an unreal world or characters; it may be merely whimsical, or it may present a serious point
figurative language
language employing one or more figures of speech
flashback
the insertion of an earlier event into the normal chronological order of a narrative
flat character
a character who embodies a single quality and who does not develop in the course of a story
foreshadowing
the presentation of material in such a way that the reader is prepared for what is to come later in the work
frame device
a story within a story
genre
a major category or type of literature
homily
a sermon, or a moralistic lecture
hubris
excessive pride or arrogance that results in the downfall of the protagonist of a tragedy
hyperbole
intentional exaggeration to create an effect
hypothetical question
a question that raises a hypothesis, conjecture, or supposition
idiom
an expression in a given language that cannot be understood from the literal meaning of the words in the expression; or, a regional speech or dialect.
imagery
the use of figures of speech to create vivid images that appeal to one of the senses.
implication
a suggestion an author or speaker makes without stating it directly.
inductive reasoning
deriving general principles from particular facts or instances
inference
a conclusion one draws based on premises or evidence
invective
an intensely vehement, highly emotional verbal attack
irony
the use of words to convey the opposite of their literal meaning; or, incongruity between what is expected and what actually occurs
jargon
the specialized language or vocab of a particular group or profession
juxtaposition
placing two elements side by side to present a comparison or contrast
legend
a narrative handed down from the past, containing historical elements and usually supernatural elements
limerick
light verse consisting of 5 lines of regular rhythm in which the first, second, and fifth lines (each consisting of 3 ft) rhyme, and the 3rd and 4th lines (each consisting of 2 ft) rhyme
limited narrator
a narrator who presents the story as it is seen and understood by a single character and restricts info to what is seen, heard, thought, or felt by that one character
literary license
deviating from normal rules or methods in order to achieve a certain effect (intentional sentence fragments)
litotes
a type of understatement in which an idea is expressed by negating its opposite (describing a particularly horrific scene by saying, "It was not a pretty picture")
malaproprism
a mistaken substitution of one word for another word that sounds similar (The food is malicious).
maxim
a concise statement, often offering advice; an adage
GRAB THE BULL BY THE HORNS
metaphor
a direct comparison of 2 different things
metonymy
substituting the name of one object for another object closely associated with it (the pen [writing] is mightier than the sword [war/fighting]).
mood
the emotion atmosphere of a work
motif
a standard theme, element, or dramatic situation that recurs in various works
motivation
a character's incentive or reason for behaving in a certain manner; that which compels a character to act.
myth
a traditional story presenting supernatural characters in episodes that help explain natural events
narrative
a story or narrated account
narrator
the one who tells the story; may be the 1st or 3rd person, limited or omniscient.
non sequitur
an inference that does not follow logically from the premises (literally does not follow)
omniscient narrator
a narrator who is able to know, see, and tell all including the inner thoughts and feelings of the characters
onomatopoeia
a word formed from the imitations of natural sounds
oxymoron
an expression in which two words that contradict each other are joined
parable
a simple story that illustrates a moral or religious lesson
paradox
an apparently contradictory statement that actually contains some truth
parallelism
the use of corresponding grammatical or syntactic forms
paraphrase
a restatement of a text in a different form or in different words, often for the purpose of clarity
Parody
a humorous imitation of a serious work
Parenthetical
a comment that interrupts the immediate subject, often to qualify or explain
Pathos
the quality in a work that prompts the readers to feel pity
Pedantic
characterized by an excessive display of learning or scholarship
Personification
endowing non-human objects or creatures with human qualities or characteristics
Philippic
a strong verbal denunciation. The term comes from the orations of Demosthenes against Philip of Macedonia in the fourth century
Plot
the action of a narrative or drama