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artful deviation of words to enhance meanings


"Too many spiders in your house can turn it into a no fly zone" a play on words or the humorous use of a word emphasizing a different meaning or application


"Don't worry. I'm mapping our progress."
the use of noun as if it were a verb


"knock, knock.."
words that imitate or suggest the source of the sound they are describing


"The shot heard around the world"
intentional exaggeration for rehtorical effect


"We made a difference. We made the city stronger, we made the city freer, and we left her in good hands. All in all, not bad, not bad at all."
understatement is employed for rhetorical effect when an idea is expressed by a denial of its opposite

Verbal Irony

"Yeah right..."
When speaker says one thing but means another.

Dramatic Irony

"When Romeo finds Juliet in a drugged sleep, he assumes her to be dead and kills himself. Upon awakening to find her dead lover beside her, Juliet then kills herself."
When the audience is aware of something the character is not.

Situational Irony

"When John Hinckley attempted to assassinate Ronald Reagan, all of his shots initially missed the President; however, a bullet ricocheted off the bullet-proof Presidential limousine and struck Reagan in the chest. Thus, a vehicle made to protect the President from gunfire was partially responsible for his being shot"
When the result of an action is contrary to what is expected.

Socratic Irony

"Well gee, I have no idea who put the empty milk carton back in the refrigerator"
When one pretends to be ignorant on a subject in order to expose the weakness of another

Romantic Irony

An author's persistent reminding of his or her presence in the work, by drawing attention the the artifice of the work.


A figure of speech consisting of two apparently contradictory terms


A self-contradiction

Rhetorical Question

A question that is emphasizes the obvious answer to what is asked


Raising a question then proceeding to answer it


Meaningless word; interjection; profane oath; swear-word


Describing words or phrases that belittle or speak negatively of someone


An inoffensive expression that is substituted for one that is considered offensive


a comparison using "like" or "as"


A figure of speech in which an expression is used to refer to something that it does not literally denote in order to suggest a similarity

Implied Metaphor

Implies or suggests the comparison between the two thing without stating it directly


Drawing a comparison in order to show a similarity in some respect


using a part of something to represent the whole thing


Substation of one word for another which it suggests


The application of human attributes to nonhuman entites


an example


Figure of explication using a brief or casual reference to a famous person, historic event/place, or work of art

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