Latin Literary Terms

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allegory
a prolonged metaphor
alliteration
repetition of initial consonant or vowels sounds
anaphora
repetition of initial words or phrases
anastrophe
the reversal of normal word order
aposiopesis
when a speaker breaks off in mid-sentence
apostrophe
a turning away from an audience to address specific people
assonance
the repetition of identical or similar vowel or syllable sounds in nearby words
asyndeton
a lack of conjunctions
caesura
a pause between words in a metrical foot
chiasmus
a criss-cross arrangement of words (ab-ba)
ecphrasis
describing a work of art within the story
elision
a process of combining words in poetry either for metrical reasons or to imitate actual speech patterns
ellipsis
omission of one or more words necessar to the meaning of a sentence, yet still understood through context
enjambment
delay of final word of a sentence or clause to the beginning of the next verse to create suspense
framing
enclosing a sentence or a line by placing two closely related words (like an adjective and a noun) at the beginning and end
hendiadys
the use of two nouns with a conjunction in place of a single noun expressing a complex idea
hiatus
lack of ellision when one is called for, for emphasis
hyperbole
exaggeration
hysteron-proteron
a reversal of a normal sequence of words or ideas (e.g. put on your shoes and socks)
irony
when words say one thing but mean another
litotes
use of a negative to express a positive (e.g. nonnulli = some, haud stultus=smart)
metaphor
implied comparison through a figurative use of words
metonymy
substitution of a word for the thing it represents (e.g. crown=kingship)
onomatopoeia
use of words to imitate sounds
oxymoron
apparent paradox by seemingly contradictory words
personification
giving human attributes to nonhuman things
pleonasm
use of extra, unnecessary words to enrich the thought or idea (e.g. No one, good or bad, will be spared)
polyptoton
the repetition of the same word in different forms
polysyndeton
the repetition of conjunctions
praeteritio
the pretended omission of saying something (e.g. "I will not mention what a rotten, despicable, absolutely horrible person he is")
prolepsis
the anticipation of the action of the verb with the use of noun and adjectives (e.g. "Consider the lillies of the field how they grow")
simile
a comparison between two things using words using like or as
synchesis
interlocking word order (AB-AB)
synechdoche
a part of something to represent the whole
tmesis
the separation of a compound word into two parts (e.g. "un-freakin'-believabe")
transferred epithet
use of an adjective for one noun when it properly belongs to another
tricolon crescens
a combination of three elements increasing in size or magnitude
zeugma
two different words linked to an adjective or verb that is appropriate only to one of them (e.g. "Nor Mars his sword, nor war's quick fire shall burn...")