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the repetition at close intervals of the initial consonant sounds of accented syllables or important words; important words and accented syllables beginning with vowels may also be said to alliterate with each other inasmuch as they all have the same lack of an initial consonant sound


a reference, explicit or implicit, to something in literature or history


a metrical foot consisting of two unaccented syllables followed by one accented syllable


repetition of an opening word or phrase in a series of lines


a figure of speech in which someone absent or dead or something nonhuman is addressed as if it were alive and present and could reply

approximate rhyme

a term for words in a rhyming pattern that have some kind of sound correspondence but are not perfect rhymes


the repetition at close intervals of the vowel sounds of accented syllables or important words


a poem about dawn; a morning love song; or a poem about the parting of lovers at dawn


a fairly short narrative poem written in a songlike stanza form

blank verse

unrhymed iambic pentameter


a speech pause occurring within a line


what a word suggests beyond its basic definition; a word's overtones of meaning


the repetition at close intervals of the final consonant sounds of accented syllables or important words

continuous form

that form of a poem in which the lines follow each other without formal grouping, the only breaks being dictated by units of meaning


two successive lines, usually in the same meter, linked by units of meaning


a metrical foot consisting of one accented syllable followed by two unaccented syllables


the basic definition or dictionary meaning of a word

didactic poetry

poetry having as a primary purpose to teach or preach


a metrical line containing two feet

dramatic irony

discrepancy between what the speaker says and what the poem means

end rhyme

rhymes that occur at the ends of lines

end stopped line

a line that ends with a natural speech pause, usually marked by punctuation

english sonnet

a sonnet rhyming ababcdcdefefgg; ideally parallels the rhymes scheme and falls into three coordinate quatrains and a concluding couplet


a smooth pleasant sounding choice and arrangement of sounds

extended/sustained figure

a figure of speech sustained or developed through a considerable number of lines or through a whole poem

feminine rhyme

a rhyme in which the repeated accented vowels is in either the second or third last syllable of the words involved

figurative language

language employing figures of speech; language that cannot be taken literally or only literally

fixed form

any form of poem in which the length and pattern are prescribed by previous usage or tradition


the basic unit used in the scansion or measurement of metrical verse; usually contains one accented syllable and one or two unaccented syllables

free verse

nonmetrical poetry in which the basic rhythmic unit is the line, and in which pauses, line breaks, and formal patterns develop organically from the requirements of the individual poem rather than from established poetic forms


exaggeration in the service of truth

imabic meter

a meter in which the majority of feet are iambs; the most common English meter


the representation through language of sense experience

internal rhyme

a rhyme in which one or both of the rhyme words occur within the line


a situation or a use of language involving some kind of incongruity or discrepancy


a mournful poem; a lament for the dead


A lyric poem of some length, usually of a serious or meditative nature and having an elevated style and formal stanzaic structure

italian sonnet

A sonnet consisting of an octave rhyming abbaabba and of a sestet using any arrangement of two or three additional rhymes, such as cdcdcd or cdecde

masculine rhyme

a rhyme in which the repeated accented vowel sound is in the final syllable of the words involved


a figure of speech in which an implicit comparison is made between two things essentially unlike


the regular patterns of accent that underlie metrical verse; the measurable repetition of accented and unaccented syllables in poetry


a figure of speech in which some significant aspect of detail of an experience is used to represent the whole experience.


an eight-line stanza; the first eight lines of a sonnet, especially one structured in the manner of an Italian sonnet


the use of words that supposedly mimic their meaning in their sound


a compact paradox in which two successive words seemingly contradict each other


a statement or situation containing apparently contradictory or incompatible elements

paradoxical situation

a situation containing apparently but not actually incompatible elements


a metrical line containing five feet


a figure of speech in which human attributes are given to an animal, and object, or a concept

prose poem

usually short composition having the intentions of poetry but written in prose rather than verse


a four-line stanza; a four-line division of a sonnet marked off by its rhyme scheme


a repeated word, phrase, line, or group of lines, normally at some fixed position in a poem written in stanzaic form

rhetorical pause/caesura

a natural pause, unmarked by punctuation, introduced into the reading of a line by its phrasing or syntax

rhetorical stress

in natural speech, as in prose and poetic writing, the stressing of words or syllables so as to emphasize meaning and sentence structure

rhyme scheme

any fixed pattern of rhymes characterizing a whole poem or its stanzas

run-on line

a line which has no natural speech pause at its end, allowing the sense to flow uninterruptedly into the succeeding line


a kind of literature that ridicules human folly or vice with the ostensible purpose of bringing about reform or of keeping other from falling into similar folly or vice


the process of measuring metrical verse, that is, of marking accented and unaccented syllables, dividing the lines into feet, identifying the metrical pattern, and noting significant variations from that pattern


a six-line stanza; the last six lines of a sonnet structured on the Italian model


a figure of speech in which an explicit comparison is made between two things essentially unlike


a fixed form of fourteen lines, normally iambic pentameter, with a rhyme scheme conforming to or approximating one of two main types - the Italian or the English


a group of lines whose metrical pattern (and usually its rhyme scheme as well) is repeated throughout a poem


the relative prominence given a syllable in relation to its neighbors

syllabic verse

verse measured by the number of syllables rather than the number of feet per line


a figure of speech in which something (object, person, situation, or action) means more than what it is; may be read both literally and metaphorically


a figure of speech in which a part is used for the whole


a metrical line containing four feet


the writer's or speaker's attitude toward the subject, the audience, or herself or himself; the emotional coloring, or emotional meaning, of a work


a figure of speech that consists of saying less than one means, or of saying what one means with less force than the occasion warrants


a nineteen-line fixed form consisting of five tercets rhymed aba and a concluding quatrain rhymed abaa, with lines 1 and 3 of the first tercet serving as refrains in an alternating pattern through line 15 and then repeated as lines 18 and 19

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