65 terms

Literary/Poetic Terms & Devices

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simile
a comparison using "like" or "as"
metaphor
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
symbol
an object or action in a literary work that means more than itself, that stands for something beyond itself
allusion
a reference to a well-known person, place, event, literary work, or work of art
metonymy
a figure of speech in which one word or phrase is substituted for another with which it is closely associated
mood
Feeling or atmosphere that a writer creates for the reader
understatement
A figure of speech intentionally used to make a situation seem less important than it really is
repetition
Repeating of the same word or phrase to create an effect
synecdoche
using part of something to refer to the whole something
synesthesia
the depiction of a strong connection, link or bond between the different senses
tone
the author's or speaker's feelings toward the subject
spoonerism
the transposition of initial or other sounds of words. Ex- blushing a crow instead of a crushing blow
theme
a subject of disourse, discussion, meditation, or composition; topic.
syntax
the formation of a sentence
tragedy
dramatic composition dealing with a serious or somber theme
stanza
an arrangement of a certain number of lines, sometimes having fixed length, meter, or rhyme scheme. A division of a poem
rhetoric
a persuasive argument through writing or speech
round character
a character depicted with such psychological depth and detail that he or she seems like a "real" person
satire
an attack or criticism of any stupidity or vice in the form of scathing humor
setting
the general locale, historical time, and social circumstances in which the action of a fictional or dramatic work occures
triad
a collection of three ideas, concepts, or deities loosely connected
meter
Meter is a stressed and unstressed syllabic pattern in a verse or within the lines of a poem. Stressed syllables tend to be longer and unstressed shorter. Meter is a poetic device that serves as a linguistic sound pattern for the verses, as it gives poetry a rhythmical and melodious sound.
pleonasm
A rhetorical device which can be defined as the use of a second or more words (phrase) to express an idea. These words are redundant such as in the following examples of pleonasm, "burning fire" and "black darkness."
slant rhyme
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paraprosdokian
surprise or unexpected ending of a phrase or series
hyperbole
A figure of speech that uses exaggeration to express strong emotion, make a point, or evoke humor
haiku
A japanese form of poetry, consisting of three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables
octameter
In poetry, it is a line of eight metrical feet
verse
A single line of poetry
verisimilitude
A likeness in literature to reality and actual events that maintains plausibility in fiction and fantasy works
voice
a term used in a discussion of style to identify the person or personality speaking in a literary work
villanelle
A 19-line poem consisting of five tercets and a final quatrain on two rhymes. The first and third lines of the first tercet repeat alternately as a refrain closing the succeeding stanzas and joined as the final couplet of the quatrain.
zeugma
The use of a word to modify two or more words, but used for different meanings. He closed the door and his heart on his lost love.
fable
short story intended to provide a moral lesson
foil
A character who is in most ways opposite to the main character (protagonist) or one who is nearly the same as the protagonist. The purpose of the foil character is to emphasize the traits of the main character by contrast only
free verse
Poetry that does not conform to a regular meter or rhyme scheme
flash forward
An action that jumps ahead of the story to narrate an event that happens at a later time.
fallacy
A mistaken belief based on unsound information
flashback
A scene that interrupts the normal chronological sequence of events in a story to depict something that happened at an earlier time
foreshadowing
Clues in a story that suggest later events
genre
A category or type of literature (or of art, music, etc.) characterized by a particular form, style, or content.
half rhyme
A rhyme in which the stressed syllables of ending consonants match, but the preceding vowel sounds do not match.
hamartia
tragic flaw which causes a character's downfall
homograph
a word written the same way as another word but having a different meaning
homophone
a word that has a similar pronunciation to another word but with different spelling
hubris
an extreme pride and arrogance shown by a character that ultimately brings about their downfall
hyperbaton
rearrangement of words to create emphasis
hypophora
Figure of reasoning in which one or more questions is/are asked and then answered, often at length, by one and the same speaker; raising and responding to one's own question(s).
hypotaxis
using subordination to show the relationship between clauses or phrases
iamb
a foot containing unaccented, short syllables followed by a long, accented syllable in a line of a poem
idiom
A set expression of two or more words that means something other than the literal meanings of its individual words
imagery
Language that appeals to the five senses
induction
a conclusion reached through reasoning
inference
A conclusion not directly provided by evidence, but able to be drawn from the facts at hand
innuendo
A hint, indirect suggestion, or reference
internal rhyme
A poetic device in which a word in the middle of a line rhymes with a word at the end of the same metrical line.
intertextuality
Interdependent ways in which texts stand in relation to each other. The idea that no ideas are original, only passed from one person to the other and reinterpreted or reformed.
invective
An emotionally violent, verbal denunciation or attack using strong, abusive language.
inversion
normal order of the words is reversed to achieve emphasis (also known as anastrophe)
irony
A contrast or discrepancy between what is stated and what is really meant, or between what is expected to happen and what actually does happen.
isocolon
A succession of phrases of approximately equal length and corresponding structure.
jargon
Special words or expressions that are used by a particular profession or group and are difficult for others to understand.
juxtaposition
A poetic and rhetorical device in which normally unassociated ideas, words, or phrases are placed next to one another to develop comparisons and contrasts
kenning
A device employed in Anglo-Saxon poetry in which the name of a thing is replaced by one of its functions or qualities, as in "ring-giver" for king and "whale-road" for ocean.
kinesthesia
A poetic device that gives a feeling of natural or physical bodily movement or action