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A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an intentional deviation from ordinary language use in order to produce a
rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic (or dialectic – see Martianus Capella), is one of the Trivium, three ancient arts of discourse. Rhetoric aims to study the techniques writers or sp ...
al effect. Figures of speech are traditionally classified into '' schemes,'' which vary the ordinary sequence or pattern of words, and ''
tropes Trope or tropes may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * Trope (cinema) In cinema Cinema may refer to: Film * Cinematography Cinematography (from ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ...
,'' where words are made to carry a meaning other than what they ordinarily signify. An example of a scheme is a
polysyndeton Polysyndeton comes from the Ancient Greek πολύ ''poly'', meaning "many", and συνδετόν ''syndeton'', meaning "bound together with". A stylistic scheme, polysyndeton is the deliberate insertion of Conjunction (grammar), conjunctions into ...
: the repetition of a conjunction before every element in a list, whereas the conjunction typically would appear only before the last element, as in "Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!"—emphasizing the danger and number of animals more than the
prosaic Prose is a form of written (or spoken) language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have a writing syst ...
wording with only the second "and". An example of a trope is a
metaphor A metaphor is a figure of speech A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an intentional deviation from ordinary language use in order to produce a rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of ...
, describing one thing as something that it clearly is not, in order to lead the mind to compare them, in "All the world's a stage."


Four rhetorical operations

Classical rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic (or dialectic – see Martianus Capella), is one of the Trivium, three ancient arts of discourse. Rhetoric aims to study the techniques writers or sp ...
ians classified figures of speech into four categories or quadripita ''ratio'':Jansen, Jeroen (2008)
Imitatio
''

translated to English by Kristine Steenbergh. Quote from the summary:
Using these formulas, a pupil could render the same subject or theme in a myriad of ways. For the mature author, this principle offered a set of tools to rework source texts into a new creation. In short, the quadripartita ratio offered the student or author a ready-made framework, whether for changing words or the transformation of entire texts. Since it concerned relatively mechanical procedures of adaptation that for the most part could be learned, the techniques concerned could be taught at school at a relatively early age, for example in the improvement of pupils’ own writing.
* addition (''adiectio''), also called repetition/expansion/superabundance * omission (''detractio''), also called subtraction/abridgement/lack * transposition (''transmutatio''), also called transferring * permutation (''immutatio''), also called switching/interchange/substitution/transmutation These categories are often still used. The earliest known text listing them, though not explicitly as a system, is the ''
Rhetorica ad Herennium The ''Rhetorica ad Herennium'' (''Rhetoric for Herennius''), formerly attributed to Cicero Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Ancient Rome, Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher and Ac ...
'', of unknown authorship, where they are called πλεονασμός (pleonasmos - addition), ἔνδεια (endeia - omission), μετάθεσις (metathesis - transposition) and ἐναλλαγή (enallage - permutation). Quintillian then mentioned them in ''
Institutio Oratoria ''Institutio Oratoria'' (English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually b ...
''.
Philo of Alexandria Philo of Alexandria (; grc, Φίλων, Phílōn; he, , Yedidia (Jedediah) HaCohen; ), also called Philo Judaeus, was a Hellenistic Jewish philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the ...
also listed them as addition (πρόσθεσις - prosthesis), subtraction (ἀφαίρεσις - afairesis), transposition (μετάθεσις - metathesis), and transmutation (ἀλλοίωσις - alloiosis).


Examples

Figures of speech come in many varieties. The aim is to use the language inventively to accentuate the effect of what is being said. A few examples follow: * "Round and round the rugged rocks the ragged rascal ran" is an example of
alliteration In literature Literature broadly is any collection of Writing, written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an art form, especially prose fiction, drama, and poetry. In recent centuries, the defin ...
, where the consonant ''r'' is used repeatedly. :Whereas, "Sister Suzy‘s sewing socks for soldiers" is a particular form of alliteration called
sibilance In phonetics Phonetics is a branch of linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every ...
, because it repeats the letter ''s''. :Both are commonly used in poetry. * "She would run up the stairs and then a new set of curtains" is a variety of
zeugma Zeugma may refer to: *Zeugma and syllepsis, figures of speech * Zeugma (Commagene), an ancient settlement in Commagene (eastern Anatolia) * Zeugma (Dacia), an ancient settlement in Dacia, mentioned by Ptolemy * Zeugma (literary journal), ''Zeugma' ...
called a
syllepsis In rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic (or dialectic – see Martianus Capella), is one of the Trivium, three ancient arts of discourse. Rhetoric aims to study the techniqu ...
. ''Run up'' refers to ascending and also to manufacturing. The effect is enhanced by the momentary suggestion, through a
pun The pun, also known as paronomasia, is a form of word play Word play or wordplay (also: play-on-words) is a literary technique A narrative technique (known for literary fictional narratives as a literary technique, literary device, or fi ...
, that she might be climbing up the curtains. The
ellipsis The ellipsis , , or (as a single glyph The term glyph is used in typography File:metal movable type.jpg, 225px, Movable type being assembled on a composing stick using pieces that are stored in the type case shown below it Typography ...
or omission of the second use of the verb makes the reader think harder about what is being said. * "Painful pride" is an
oxymoron An oxymoron (usual plural oxymorons, more rarely oxymora) is a figure of speech A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an intentional deviation from ordinary language use in order to produce a rhetoric ...
where two contradictory ideas are placed in the same sentence. *"An Einstein" is an example of
synecdoche A synecdoche ( , from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10. ...
, as it uses a particular name to represent a class of people: geniuses. * "I had butterflies in my stomach" is a
metaphor A metaphor is a figure of speech A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an intentional deviation from ordinary language use in order to produce a rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of ...
, referring to a nervous feeling as if there were flying insects in one's stomach. :To say "it was like having some butterflies in my stomach" would be a
simile A simile () is a figure of speech A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an intentional deviation from ordinary language use in order to produce a rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of pe ...
, because it uses the word ''like'' which is missing in the metaphor. :To say "It was like having a butterfly farm in my stomach", "It felt like a butterfly farm in my stomach", or "I was so nervous that I had a butterfly farm in my stomach" could be a
hyperbole Hyperbole (, ; adjective form hyperbolic, ) is the use of exaggeration Exaggeration is the representation of something as more extreme or dramatic than it really is. Exaggeration may occur intentionally or unintentionally. Exaggeration can ...
, because it is exaggerated. *"That filthy place was really dirty" is an example of tautology, as there are the two words ('filthy' and 'dirty') having almost the same meaning and are repeated so as to make the text more emphatic.


Types

Scholars of classical Western rhetoric have divided figures of speech into two main categories: schemes and tropes. '' Schemes'' (from the Greek , 'form or shape') are figures of speech that change the ordinary or expected pattern of words. For example, the phrase, "John, my best friend" uses the scheme known as
apposition Apposition is a grammatical In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas ...
. ''
Tropes Trope or tropes may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * Trope (cinema) In cinema Cinema may refer to: Film * Cinematography Cinematography (from ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ...
'' (from Greek , 'to turn') change the general meaning of words. An example of a trope is irony, which is the use of words to convey the opposite of their usual meaning ("For Brutus is an honorable man; / So are they all, all honorable men"). During the
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in ...

Renaissance
, scholars meticulously enumerated and classified figures of speech. Henry Peacham, for example, in his ''The Garden of Eloquence'' (1577), enumerated 184 different figures of speech. Professor Robert DiYanni, in his book ''Literature: Reading Fiction, Poetry, Drama and the Essay'' wrote: "Rhetoricians have catalogued more than 250 different ''figures of speech'', expressions or ways of using words in a nonliteral sense." For simplicity, this article divides the figures between schemes and tropes, but does not further sub-classify them (e.g., "Figures of Disorder"). Within each category, words are listed alphabetically. Most entries link to a page that provides greater detail and relevant examples, but a short definition is placed here for convenience. Some of those listed may be considered
rhetorical device In rhetoric, a rhetorical device, persuasive device, or stylistic device is a ''technique'' that an author or speaker uses to convey to the listener or reader a Meaning (linguistics), meaning with the goal of persuasion, persuading them towards con ...
s, which are similar in many ways.


Schemes

Schemes are words or phrases whose syntax, sequence, or pattern occurs in a manner that varies from an ordinary usage. * accumulation: Accumulating arguments in a concise forceful manner. * adnomination: Repetition of words with the same
root word A root (or root word) is the core of a word that is irreducible into more meaningful elements. In morphology Morphology, from the Greek and meaning "study of shape", may refer to: Disciplines * Morphology (archaeology), study of the shapes or ...
. *
alliteration In literature Literature broadly is any collection of Writing, written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an art form, especially prose fiction, drama, and poetry. In recent centuries, the defin ...
: a literary stylistic device, where a series of words in a row have the same first consonant sound. *: Example: "She sells sea shells by the sea shore". *
anacoluthon An anacoluthon (; from the Greek ''anakolouthon'', from ''an-'': "not" and ἀκόλουθος ''akólouthos'': "following") is an unexpected discontinuity in the expression of ideas within a sentence, leading to a form of words in which there is l ...
: Transposition of clauses to achieve an unnatural order in a sentence. *
anadiplosis Anadiplosis ( ; el, ἀναδίπλωσις, ''anadíplōsis'', "a doubling, folding up") is the repetition of the last word of a preceding clause. The word is used at the end of a sentence and then used again at the beginning of the next sentence ...
: Repetition of a word at the end of a clause and then at the beginning of its succeeding clause. * anaphora: Repetition of the same word or set of words in a paragraph. *
anastropheAnastrophe (from the el, ἀναστροφή, ''anastrophē'', "a turning back or about") is a figure of speech in which the normal word order of the subject (grammar), subject, the verb, and the object (grammar), object is changed. For example, su ...
: Changing the
object Object may refer to: General meanings * Object (philosophy) An object is a philosophy, philosophical term often used in contrast to the term ''Subject (philosophy), subject''. A subject is an observer and an object is a thing observed. For mo ...
,
subject Subject ( la, subiectus "lying beneath") may refer to: Philosophy *''Hypokeimenon ''Hypokeimenon'' (Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the He ...
and verb order in a clause. * anti-climax: It is when a specific point, expectations are raised, everything is built-up and then suddenly something boring or disappointing happens. *: Example: "People, pets, batteries, ... all are dead." * anthimeria: Transformation of a word of a certain word class to another word class. *
antimetabole In rhetoric Rhetoric () is the art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hai ...
: A sentence consisting of the repetition of words in successive clauses, but in reverse order. * antirrhesis: Disproving an opponent's argument. *
antistrophe Antistrophe ( grc, ἀντιστροφή, "a turning back") is the portion of an ode An ode (from grc, ᾠδή, ōdḗ) is a type of lyrical stanza. It is an elaborately structured poem praising or glorifying an event or individual, describ ...

antistrophe
: Repetition of the same word or group of words in a paragraph in the end of sentences. *
antithesis Antithesis (Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximate ...
: Juxtaposition of opposing or contrasting ideas. * aphorismus: Statement that calls into question the definition of a word. *
aposiopesis Aposiopesis (; Classical Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek (modern , romanized: ''Elliniká'', Ancient Greek, ancient , ''Hellēnikḗ'') is an independent branch of the Indo-European languages, Indo-Eur ...
: Breaking off or pausing speech for dramatic or emotional effect. *
apposition Apposition is a grammatical In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas ...
: Placing of two statements side by side, in which the second defines the first. *
assonance Assonance is a resemblance in the sounds of words/syllables either between their vowels (e.g., ''meat, bean'') or between their consonants (e.g., ''keep, cape''). However, assonance between consonants is generally called ''consonance'' in American ...
: Repetition of vowel sounds: "Smooth move!" or "Please leave!" or "That's the fact Jack!" * asteismus: Mocking answer or humorous answer that plays on a word. * asterismos: Beginning a segment of speech with an exclamation of a word. *
asyndeton Asyndeton (, ; from the el, ἀσύνδετον, "unconnected", sometimes called asyndetism) is a literary scheme in which one or several conjunctions ''Conjunctions'' is a biannual American literature, American literary journal based at Bard Co ...
: Omission of conjunctions between related clauses. *
cacophony Phonaesthetics (also spelled phonesthetics in North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up t ...
: Words producing a harsh sound. *
cataphora In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic br ...
: Co-reference of one expression with another expression which follows it, in which the latter defines the first. (example: If you need one, there's a towel in the top drawer.) *
classification Classification is a process related to categorization Categorization is the human ability and activity of recognizing shared features or similarities between the elements of the experience Experience refers to conscious , an English Paracels ...
: Linking a proper noun and a common noun with an article *
chiasmus In rhetoric, chiasmus ( ) or, less commonly, chiasm (Latin term from Greek , "crossing", from the Ancient Greek, Greek , , "to shape like the letter chi (letter), Χ"), is a "reversal of grammatical structures in successive phrases or clauses ...
: Two or more clauses are related to each other through a reversal of structures in order to make a larger point *
climax Climax may refer to: Language arts * Climax (narrative) The climax (from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, ...
: Arrangement of words in order of descending to ascending order. * commoratio: Repetition of an idea, re-worded * conduplicatio: Repetition of a key word *
conversion (word formation) In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic b ...
: An unaltered transformation of a word of one word class into another word class *
consonance In music, consonance and dissonance are categorizations of simultaneous or successive sounds. Within the Western tradition, some listeners associate consonance with sweetness, pleasantness, and acceptability, and dissonance with harshness, unple ...
: Repetition of consonant sounds, most commonly within a short passage of verse * correlative verse: Matching items in two sequences *
diacope Diacope () is a rhetorical term meaning repetition of a word or phrase with one or two intervening words. It derives from a Greek language, Greek word ''thiakhop,'' which means "cut in two". Examples * "Bond. James Bond." — James Bond * "Put ou ...
: Repetition of a word or phrase with one or two intervening words * dubitatio: Expressing doubt and uncertainty about oneself * dystmesis: A synonym for
tmesis Tmesis (; plural tmeses (); Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: (), Dark Ages (), the period (), and the perio ...
*
ellipsis The ellipsis , , or (as a single glyph The term glyph is used in typography File:metal movable type.jpg, 225px, Movable type being assembled on a composing stick using pieces that are stored in the type case shown below it Typography ...
: Omission of words *
elision In linguistics, an elision or deletion is broadly defined as the omission of one or more sounds (such as a vowel, a consonant, or a whole syllable) in a word or phrase. However, it is also used to refer more narrowly to cases where two words are ...
: Omission of one or more letters in speech, making it colloquial * enallage: Wording ignoring grammatical rules or conventions *
enjambment In poetry, enjambment ( or ; from the French ''enjamber'') is incomplete syntax at the end of a line (poetry), line; the meaning 'runs over' or 'steps over' from one poetic line to the next, without punctuation. Lines without enjambment are end-sto ...
: Incomplete sentences at the end of lines in poetry *
epanalepsis Epanalepsis (from the Greek language, Greek , ''epanálēpsis'' "repetition, resumption, taking up again") is the repetition of the initial part of a clause or sentence at the end of that same clause or sentence. The beginning and the end of a sent ...
: Ending sentences with their beginning. * epanodos: Word repetition. *
epistrophe Epistrophe ( el, ἐπιστροφή, "return") is the repetition of the same word or words at the end of successive phrases, clauses or sentences. It is also known as epiphora and occasionally as antistrophe. It is a figure of speech and the coun ...

epistrophe
: (also known as antistrophe) Repetition of the same word or group of words at the end of successive clauses. The counterpart of anaphora *
epizeuxis In rhetoric, epizeuxis is the Repetition (rhetorical device), repetition of a word or phrase in immediate succession, typically within the same sentence, for vehemence or emphasis. A closely related rhetorical device is diacope, which involves wo ...
: Repetition of a single word, with no other words in between *
euphony Phonaesthetics (also spelled phonesthetics in North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up t ...

euphony
: Opposite of
cacophony Phonaesthetics (also spelled phonesthetics in North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up t ...
– i.e. pleasant-sounding *
half rhyme Perfect rhyme—also called full rhyme, exact rhyme, or true rhyme—is a form of rhyme A rhyme is a repetition of similar sounds (usually, exactly the same sound) in the final stressed syllables and any following syllables of two or more ...
: Partially rhyming words *
hendiadys Hendiadys (; a Latinized Latinisation or Latinization can refer to: * Latinisation of names, the practice of rendering a non-Latin name in a Latin style * Latinisation in the Soviet Union, the campaign in the USSR during the 1920s and 1930s to rep ...
: Use of two nouns to express an idea when it normally would consist of an adjective and a noun *
hendiatris Hendiatris (from the el, ἓν διὰ τρεῖς, ''hen dia treis'', "one through three") (pronounced ) is a figure of speech A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an intentional deviation from ordinary lang ...
: Use of three nouns to express one idea * homeoptoton: ending the last parts of words with the same syllable or letter. *
homographs A homograph (from the el, ὁμός, ''homós'', "same" and γράφω, ''gráphō'', "write") is a word In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used ...
: Words we write identically but which have a differing meaning * homoioteleuton: Multiple words with the same ending *
homonyms In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the me ...
: Words that are identical with each other in pronunciation and spelling, but different in meaning *
homophones A homophone () is a word that is Pronunciation, pronounced the same (to varying extent) as another word but differs in meaning. A homophone may also differ in spelling. The two words may be Spelling, spelled the same, a for example ''rose'' (fl ...
: Words that are identical with each other in pronunciation, but different in meaning *
homeoteleuton Homeoteleuton, also spelled homoeoteleuton and homoioteleuton (from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country l ...
: Words with the same ending *
hypallage Hypallage (; from the el, ὑπαλλαγή, ''hypallagḗ'', "interchange, exchange") is a figure of speech A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an intentional deviation from ordinary language use in order t ...
: A transferred epithet from a conventional choice of wording. *
hyperbaton Hyperbaton , in its original meaning, is a figure of speech A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an intentional deviation from ordinary language use in order to produce a rhetoric Rhetoric () is th ...
: Two ordinary associated words are detached. The term may also be used more generally for all different figures of speech which transpose natural word order in sentences. *
hyperbole Hyperbole (, ; adjective form hyperbolic, ) is the use of exaggeration Exaggeration is the representation of something as more extreme or dramatic than it really is. Exaggeration may occur intentionally or unintentionally. Exaggeration can ...
: Exaggeration of a statement * hypozeuxis: Every clause having its own independent subject and predicate *
hysteron proteron The hysteron proteron (from the el, ὕστερον πρότερον, ''hýsteron próteron'', "later earlier") is a rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic (or dialectic – see ...
: The inversion of the usual temporal or causal order between two elements *
isocolon Isocolon is a rhetorical scheme in which Parallelism (rhetoric), parallel elements possess the same number of words or syllables. As in any form of Parallelism (rhetoric), parallelism, the pairs or series must enumerate like things to achieve symm ...
: Use of parallel structures of the same length in successive clauses *
internal rhymeIn poetry, internal rhyme, or middle rhyme, is rhyme that occurs within a single line of verse (poetry), verse, or between internal phrases across multiple lines. By contrast, rhyme between line endings is known as end rhyme. Internal rhyme schemes ...
: Using two or more rhyming words in the same sentence *
kenning A kenning (Modern Icelandic Icelandic (; is, íslenska, link=no ) is a North Germanic language spoken by about 314,000 people, the vast majority of whom live in Iceland where it is the national language. It is most closely related to Faroe ...
: Using a compound word neologism to form a
metonym Metonymy () is a figure of speech A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an intentional deviation from ordinary language use in order to produce a rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of p ...
*
litotes In rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic (or dialectic – see Martianus Capella), is one of the Trivium, three ancient arts of discourse. Rhetoric aims to study the techniques ...
derived from a Greek word meaning "simple", is a figure of speech which employs an understatement by using double negatives or, in other words, positive statement is expressed by negating its opposite expressions. *:Examples: "not too bad" for "very good" is an understatement as well as a double negative statement that confirms a positive idea by negating the opposite. Similarly, saying "She is not a beauty queen," means "She is ugly" or saying "I am not as young as I used to be" in order to avoid saying "I am old". Litotes, therefore, is an intentional use of understatement that renders an ironical effect. *
merism Merism (Latin ''merismus'', Greek μερισμός ''merismós'') is a rhetorical device (or figure of speech) in which a combination of two ''contrasting parts'' of the whole refer to the whole. For example, in order to say that someone "searche ...
: Referring to a whole by enumerating some of its parts *
mimesis Mimesis (; grc, μίμησις, ''mīmēsis'') is a term used in literary criticism Literary criticism (or literary studies) is the study, evaluation, and interpretation of literature. Modern literary criticism is often influenced by li ...

mimesis
: Imitation of a person's speech or writing *
onomatopoeia Onomatopoeia (also onomatopeia in American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. Cu ...

onomatopoeia
: Word that imitates a real sound (e.g. tick-tock or boom) *
paradiastoleParadiastole (from Ancient Greek, Greek παραδιαστολή from παρά ''para'' "next to, alongside", and διαστολή ''diastole'' "separation, distinction") is the reframing of a vice as a virtue, often with the use of euphemism,Silva R ...
: Repetition of the disjunctive pair "neither" and "nor" * parallelism: The use of similar structures in two or more clauses *
paraprosdokian A paraprosdokian () is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence, phrase, or larger discourse is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe or reinterpret the first part. It is frequently used f ...
: Unexpected ending or truncation of a clause * paremvolia: Interference of speak by speaking *
parenthesis A bracket is either of two tall fore- or back-facing punctuation Punctuation (or sometimes interpunction) is the use of spacing, conventional signs (called punctuation marks), and certain typographical devices as aids to the understanding ...
: A parenthetical entry * paroemion: Alliteration in which every word in a sentence or phrase begins with the same letter *
parrhesia In rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic (or dialectic – see Martianus Capella), is one of the Trivium, three ancient arts of discourse. Rhetoric aims to study the techniques ...
: Speaking openly or boldly, in a situation where it is unexpected (e.g. politics) *
pleonasm Pleonasm (; , ) is the use of more words or parts of words than are necessary or sufficient for clear expression (for instance, "black darkness", "burning fire"). Such Redundancy (linguistics), redundancy is a manifestation of Tautology (languag ...
: The use of more words than are needed to express meaning *
polyptoton Polyptoton is the stylistic scheme in which words derived from the same root are repeated (such as "strong" and "strength"). A related stylistic device is antanaclasis In rhetoric, antanaclasis (; from the el, ἀντανάκλασις, ''anta ...
: Repetition of words derived from the same root *
polysyndeton Polysyndeton comes from the Ancient Greek πολύ ''poly'', meaning "many", and συνδετόν ''syndeton'', meaning "bound together with". A stylistic scheme, polysyndeton is the deliberate insertion of Conjunction (grammar), conjunctions into ...
: Close repetition of conjunctions *
pun The pun, also known as paronomasia, is a form of word play Word play or wordplay (also: play-on-words) is a literary technique A narrative technique (known for literary fictional narratives as a literary technique, literary device, or fi ...
: When a word or phrase is used in two (or more) different senses *
rhythm Rhythm (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximatel ...
: A synonym for parallelism *
sibilance In phonetics Phonetics is a branch of linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every ...
: Repetition of letter 's', it is a form of
consonance In music, consonance and dissonance are categorizations of simultaneous or successive sounds. Within the Western tradition, some listeners associate consonance with sweetness, pleasantness, and acceptability, and dissonance with harshness, unple ...
* sine dicendo: An inherently superfluous statement, the truth value of which can easily be taken for granted. When held under scrutiny, it becomes readily apparent that the statement has not in fact added any new or useful information to the conversation (e.g. 'It's always in the last place you look.') *
solecism A solecism is a phrase In syntax In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of eve ...
: Trespassing grammatical and syntactical rules *
spoonerism A spoonerism is an error in speech in which corresponding consonants, vowels, or morphemes are switched (see Metathesis (linguistics), metathesis) between two words in a phrase. These are named after the Oxford don and ordained minister William A ...
: Switching place of syllables within two words in a sentence yielding amusement *
superlative Comparison is a feature in the morphology Morphology, from the Greek and meaning "study of shape", may refer to: Disciplines * Morphology (archaeology), study of the shapes or forms of artifacts * Morphology (astronomy), study of the shape of a ...
: Declaring something the best within its class i.e. the ugliest, the most precious * synathroesmus: Agglomeration of adjectives to describe something or someone * syncope (phonology), syncope: Omission of parts of a word or phrase * symploce: Simultaneous use of anaphora and epistrophe: the repetition of the same word or group of words at the beginning and the end of successive clauses * synchysis: Words that are intentionally scattered to create perplexment * synesis: Agreement of words according to the sense, and not the grammatical form *
synecdoche A synecdoche ( , from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10. ...
: Referring to a part by its whole or vice versa * synonymia: Use of two or more synonyms in the same clause or sentence * tautology (rhetoric), tautology: Redundancy due to superfluous qualification; saying the same thing twice *
tmesis Tmesis (; plural tmeses (); Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: (), Dark Ages (), the period (), and the perio ...
: Insertions of content within a compound word *
zeugma Zeugma may refer to: *Zeugma and syllepsis, figures of speech * Zeugma (Commagene), an ancient settlement in Commagene (eastern Anatolia) * Zeugma (Dacia), an ancient settlement in Dacia, mentioned by Ptolemy * Zeugma (literary journal), ''Zeugma' ...
: The using of one verb for two or more actions


Tropes

Tropes are words or phrases whose contextual meaning differs from the manner or sense in which they are ordinarily used. * accismus: expressing the want of something by denying it * adynaton: Hyperbole. It is an extreme exaggeration used to make a point. It is like the opposite of "understatement. * allegory: A
metaphor A metaphor is a figure of speech A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an intentional deviation from ordinary language use in order to produce a rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of ...
ic narrative in which the literal elements indirectly reveal a parallel story of symbolic or abstract significance. * allusion: Covert reference to another work of literature or art * Circumlocution, ambiguity: Phrasing which can have two meanings * anacoenosis: Posing a question to an audience, often with the implication that it shares a common interest with the speaker * analogy: A comparison * anapodoton: Leaving a common known saying unfinished * antanaclasis: A form of
pun The pun, also known as paronomasia, is a form of word play Word play or wordplay (also: play-on-words) is a literary technique A narrative technique (known for literary fictional narratives as a literary technique, literary device, or fi ...
in which a word is repeated in two different senses. * anthimeria: A substitution of one part of speech for another, such as noun for a verb and vice versa. * anthropomorphism: Ascribing human characteristics to something that is not human, such as an animal or a god (see zoomorphism) *
antimetabole In rhetoric Rhetoric () is the art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hai ...
: Repetition of words in successive clauses, but in switched order * antiphrasis: A name or a phrase used ironically. * :wiktionary:antistasis, antistasis: Repetition of a word in a different sense. * antonomasia: Substitution of a proper name for a phrase or vice versa * aphorism: Briefly phrased, easily memorable statement of a truth or opinion, an adage * apologia: Justifying one's actions * aporia: Faked or sincere puzzled questioning * apophasis: (Invoking) an idea by denying its (invocation) * appositive: Insertion of a parenthetical entry * apostrophe (rhetoric), apostrophe: Directing the attention away from the audience to an absent third party, often in the form of a personified abstraction or inanimate object. * archaism: Use of an obsolete, archaic word (a word used in olden language, e.g. Shakespeare's language) * auxesis (figure of speech), auxesis: Form of
hyperbole Hyperbole (, ; adjective form hyperbolic, ) is the use of exaggeration Exaggeration is the representation of something as more extreme or dramatic than it really is. Exaggeration may occur intentionally or unintentionally. Exaggeration can ...
, in which a more important-sounding word is used in place of a more descriptive term * bathos: Pompous speech with a ludicrously mundane worded anti-climax (figure of speech), anti-climax * burlesque metaphor: An amusing, overstated or grotesque comparison or example. * catachresis: Blatant misuse of words or phrases. *
cataphora In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic br ...
: Repetition of a cohesive device at the end * :wiktionary:categoria, categoria: Candidly revealing an opponent's weakness * cliché: Overused phrase or theme * circumlocution: Talking around a topic by substituting or adding words, as in euphemism or periphrasis (rhetoric), periphrasis * congeries: Accumulation of synonymous or different words or phrases together forming a single message * correctio: Linguistic device used for correcting one's mistakes, a form of which is epanorthosis * :wiktionary:dehortatio, dehortatio: discouraging advice given with seeming sagacity * denominatio: Another word for metonymy * :wiktionary:diatyposis, diatyposis: The act of giving counsel * double negative: Grammar construction that can be used as an expression and it is the repetition of negative words "I haven't never owed nothing to no one" * :wiktionary:dirimens copulatio, dirimens copulatio: Balances one statement with a contrary, qualifying statement * :wiktionary:distinctio, distinctio: Defining or specifying the meaning of a word or phrase you use * dysphemism: Substitution of a harsher, more offensive, or more disagreeable term for another. Opposite of euphemism * :wiktionary:dubitatio, dubitatio: Expressing doubt over one's ability to hold speeches, or doubt over other ability * :wiktionary:ekphrasis, ekphrasis: Lively describing something you see, often a painting * epanorthosis: Immediate and emphatic self-correction, often following a Freudian slip, slip of the tongue * :wiktionary:encomium, encomium: A speech consisting of praise; a eulogy * :wiktionary:enumeratio, enumeratio: A sort of amplification and accumulation in which specific aspects are added up to make a point * :wiktionary:epicrisis, epicrisis: Mentioning a saying and then commenting on it * :wiktionary:epiplexis, epiplexis: Rhetorical question displaying disapproval or debunks * :wiktionary:epitrope, epitrope: Initially pretending to agree with an opposing debater or invite one to do something * erotema: Synonym for rhetorical question * :wiktionary:erotesis, erotesis: Rhetorical question asked in confident expectation of a negative answer * euphemism: Substitution of a less offensive or more agreeable term for another * grandiloquence: Pompous speech * :wiktionary:exclamation, exclamation: A loud calling or crying out * humour: Provoking laughter and providing amusement *
hyperbaton Hyperbaton , in its original meaning, is a figure of speech A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an intentional deviation from ordinary language use in order to produce a rhetoric Rhetoric () is th ...
: Words that naturally belong together separated from each other for emphasis or effect *
hyperbole Hyperbole (, ; adjective form hyperbolic, ) is the use of exaggeration Exaggeration is the representation of something as more extreme or dramatic than it really is. Exaggeration may occur intentionally or unintentionally. Exaggeration can ...
: Use of exaggerated terms for emphasis * hypocatastasis: An implication or declaration of resemblance that does not directly name both terms * hypophora: Answering one's own rhetorical question at length *
hysteron proteron The hysteron proteron (from the el, ὕστερον πρότερον, ''hýsteron próteron'', "later earlier") is a rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic (or dialectic – see ...
: Reversal of anticipated order of events; a form of hyperbaton * Illeism: is the act of referring to oneself in the Grammatical person, third person instead of Grammatical person, first person. * innuendo: Having a hidden meaning in a sentence that makes sense whether it is detected or not * :wiktionary:inversion, inversion: A reversal of normal word order, especially the placement of a verb ahead of the subject (subject-verb inversion). * irony: Use of word in a way that conveys a meaning opposite to its usual meaning. *
litotes In rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic (or dialectic – see Martianus Capella), is one of the Trivium, three ancient arts of discourse. Rhetoric aims to study the techniques ...
: Emphasizing the magnitude of a statement by denying its opposite * malapropism: Using a word through confusion with a word that sounds similar * meiosis (figure of speech), meiosis: Use of understatement, usually to diminish the importance of something * memento verbum: Word at the top of the tongue, recordabantur *
merism Merism (Latin ''merismus'', Greek μερισμός ''merismós'') is a rhetorical device (or figure of speech) in which a combination of two ''contrasting parts'' of the whole refer to the whole. For example, in order to say that someone "searche ...
: Referring to a whole by enumerating some of its parts * metalepsis: Figurative speech is used in a new context *
metaphor A metaphor is a figure of speech A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an intentional deviation from ordinary language use in order to produce a rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of ...
: An implied comparison between two things, attributing the properties of one thing to another that it does not literally possess.Corbett and Connors, 1999. p.60 * metonymy: A thing or concept is called not by its own name but rather by the name of something associated in meaning with that thing or concept * Negative question: questions that contain a negative word in the question itself such as, "Didn't you go to the pick-up point?" * neologism: The use of a word or term that has recently been created, or has been in use for a short time. Opposite of archaism * Nosism: is the practice of using the pronoun ''we'' to refer to oneself when expressing a personal opinion. * non sequitur (literary device), non sequitur: Statement that bears no relationship to the context preceding * occupatio see apophasis: Mentioning something by reportedly not mentioning it *
onomatopoeia Onomatopoeia (also onomatopeia in American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. Cu ...

onomatopoeia
: Words that sound like their meaning *
oxymoron An oxymoron (usual plural oxymorons, more rarely oxymora) is a figure of speech A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an intentional deviation from ordinary language use in order to produce a rhetoric ...
: Using two terms together, that normally contradict each other * par'hyponoian: Replacing in a phrase or text a second part, that would have been logically expected. * parable: Extended
metaphor A metaphor is a figure of speech A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an intentional deviation from ordinary language use in order to produce a rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of ...
told as an anecdote to illustrate or teach a moral lesson *
paradiastoleParadiastole (from Ancient Greek, Greek παραδιαστολή from παρά ''para'' "next to, alongside", and διαστολή ''diastole'' "separation, distinction") is the reframing of a vice as a virtue, often with the use of euphemism,Silva R ...
: Extenuating a vice in order to flatter or soothe * Paradox (literature), paradox: Use of apparently contradictory ideas to point out some underlying truth *
paraprosdokian A paraprosdokian () is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence, phrase, or larger discourse is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe or reinterpret the first part. It is frequently used f ...
: Phrase in which the latter part causes a rethinking or reframing of the beginning * paralipsis: Drawing attention to something while pretending to pass it over * parody: Humouristic imitation * paronomasia: Pun, in which similar-sounding words but words having a different meaning are used * pathetic fallacy: Ascribing human conduct and feelings to nature * :wiktionary:periphrasis, periphrasis: A synonym for circumlocution * personification/prosopopoeia/anthropomorphism: Attributing or applying human qualities to inanimate objects, animals, or natural phenomena *
pleonasm Pleonasm (; , ) is the use of more words or parts of words than are necessary or sufficient for clear expression (for instance, "black darkness", "burning fire"). Such Redundancy (linguistics), redundancy is a manifestation of Tautology (languag ...
: The use of more words than is necessary for clear expression * praeteritio: Another word for paralipsis * procatalepsis: Refuting anticipated objections as part of the main argument * proslepsis: Extreme form of paralipsis in which the speaker provides great detail while feigning to pass over a topic * :wiktionary:prothesis, prothesis: Adding a syllable to the beginning of a word * proverb: Succinct or pithy, often metaphorical, expression of wisdom commonly believed to be true *
pun The pun, also known as paronomasia, is a form of word play Word play or wordplay (also: play-on-words) is a literary technique A narrative technique (known for literary fictional narratives as a literary technique, literary device, or fi ...
: Play on words that will have two meanings * Redundancy (linguistics), redundancy: refers to information that is expressed more than once * rhetorical question: Asking a question as a way of asserting something. Asking a question which already has the answer hidden in it. Or asking a question not for the sake of getting an answer but for asserting something (or as in a poem for creating a poetic effect) * satire: Humoristic criticism of society * sensory detail imagery: sight, sound, taste, touch, smell * sesquipedalianism: use of long and obscure words *
simile A simile () is a figure of speech A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an intentional deviation from ordinary language use in order to produce a rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of pe ...
: Comparison between two things using ''like'' or ''as'' * snowclone: Alteration of cliché or phrasal template * :wiktionary:style, style: how information is presented *
superlative Comparison is a feature in the morphology Morphology, from the Greek and meaning "study of shape", may refer to: Disciplines * Morphology (archaeology), study of the shapes or forms of artifacts * Morphology (astronomy), study of the shape of a ...
: Saying that something is the best of something or has the most of some quality, e.g. the ugliest, the most precious etc. *
syllepsis In rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic (or dialectic – see Martianus Capella), is one of the Trivium, three ancient arts of discourse. Rhetoric aims to study the techniqu ...
: The use of a word in its figurative and literal sense at the same time ''or'' a single word used in relation to two other parts of a sentence although the word grammatically or logically applies to only one * syncatabasis (condescension, accommodation): adaptation of style to the level of the audience * :wiktionary:synchoresis, synchoresis: A concession made for the purpose of retorting with greater force. *
synecdoche A synecdoche ( , from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10. ...
: Form of metonymy, referring to a part by its whole, or a whole by its part * synesthesia: Description of one kind of sense impression by using words that normally describe another. * tautology (rhetoric), tautology: Superfluous repetition of the same sense in different words Example: The children gathered in a round circle * transferred epithet: A synonym for
hypallage Hypallage (; from the el, ὑπαλλαγή, ''hypallagḗ'', "interchange, exchange") is a figure of speech A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an intentional deviation from ordinary language use in order t ...
. * truism: a self-evident statement * tricolon, tricolon diminuens: Combination of three elements, each decreasing in size * tricolon, tricolon crescens: Combination of three elements, each increasing in size * verbal paradox: Paradox specified to language * verba ex ore: Taking the words out of someone’s mouth, speaking of what the interlocutor wanted to say. * verbum volitans: A word that floats in the air, on which everyone is thinking and is just about to be imposed. *
zeugma Zeugma may refer to: *Zeugma and syllepsis, figures of speech * Zeugma (Commagene), an ancient settlement in Commagene (eastern Anatolia) * Zeugma (Dacia), an ancient settlement in Dacia, mentioned by Ptolemy * Zeugma (literary journal), ''Zeugma' ...
: Use of a single verb to describe two or more actions * zoomorphism: Applying animal characteristics to humans or gods


See also

* Idiom * List of forms of word play * Repetition (rhetorical device) * Rhetorical device * Stylistic device


References


Citations


Sources

* Chris Baldick, Baldrick, Chris. 2008. ''Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms''. Oxford University Press. New York. . * Edward P. J. Corbett, Corbett, Edward P. J. and Connors, Robert J. 1999. ''Style and Statement''. Oxford University Press. New York, Oxford. . * X. J. Kennedy, Kennedy, X.J. et al. 2006. ''The Longman Dictionary of Literary Terms: Vocabulary for the Informed Reader''. Pearson, Longman. New York. . * Mark Forsyth, Forsyth, Mark. 2014. ''The Elements of Eloquence''. Berkley Publishing Group/Penguin Publishing. New York. . * Quinn, Edward. 1999. ''A Dictionary of Literary and Thematic Terms''. Checkmark Books. New York. . *


External links


Figure of speech
by theidioms.com {{Narrative modes Figures of speech, Rhetoric