The Top 20 Figures of Speech

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The Top 20

The Top 20

Figures of speech

Figures of speech

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The Top 20 Figures of speech

1. Alliteration

Repetition of an initial consonant sound.

2. Anaphora

Repetition of the same word or phrase at the beginning of  successive clauses or verses.

3. Antithesis

The juxtaposition of contrasting ideas in balanced phrases.

4. Apostrophe

Breaking off discourse to address some absent person or thing, some abstract quality, an inanimate object, or a nonexistent character.

5. Assonance

Identity or similarity in sound between internal vowels in neighboring words.

6. Chiasmus

A verbal pattern in which the second half of an expression is balanced against the first but with the parts reversed.

7. Euphemism

The substitution of an inoffensive term for one considered offensively explicit.

8. Hyperbole

An extravagant statement; the use of exaggerated terms for the purpose of emphasis or heightened effect.

9. Irony

The use of words to convey the opposite of their literal meaning. A statement or situation where the meaning is contradicted by the appearance or presentation of the idea.

10. Litotes

A figure of speech consisting of an understatement in which an affirmative is expressed by negating its opposite.

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11. Metaphor

An implied comparison between two unlike things that actually have something important in common.

12. Metonymy

A figure of speech in which one word or phrase is substituted for another with which it is closely associated; also, the rhetorical strategy of describing something indirectly by referring to things around it.

13. Onomatopoeia

The formation or use of words that imitate the sounds associated with the objects or actions they refer to.

14. Oxymoron

A figure of speech in which incongruous or contradictory terms appear side by side.

15. Paradox

A statement that appears to contradict itself.

16. Personification

A figure of speech in which an inanimate object or abstraction is endowed with human qualities or abilities.

17. Pun

A play on words, sometimes on different senses of the same word and sometimes on the similar sense or sound of different words.

18. Simile

A stated comparison (usually formed with "like" or "as") between two fundamentally dissimilar things that have certain qualities in common.

19. Synechdoche

A figure of speech is which a part is used to represent the whole, the whole for a part, the specific for the general, the general for the specific, or the material for the thing made from it.

20. Understatement

A figure of speech in which a writer or a speaker deliberately makes a situation seem less important or serious than it is.

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1.Alliteration

Definition:

The repetition of an initial consonant sound. Adjective: alliterative. See also: • Assonance • Consonance • Homoioteleuton • Reduplicative • Rhyme Etymology:

From the Latin, "putting letters together" Examples and Observations:

• "You'll never put a better bit of butter on your knife." (advertising slogan for Country Life butter)

• "The soul selects her own society." (Emily Dickinson)

• "Forget the most obvious problem with collegiate calorie

counting, that studying Kierkegaard or Conrad after a dinner of  seitan and soy chips would render even robust stomachs seasick, sometimes outright ill. And I won’t harp on the clear link between vigorous salad consumption and sulkiness."

(Marisha Pessl, "Seize the Weight," The New York Times, Oct. 6, 2006)

• "In a somer seson, whan soft was the sonne . . ." (William Langland, Piers Plowman, 14th century)

• "The sibilant sermons of the snake as she discoursed upon the disposition of my sinner's soul seemed ceaseless."

(Gregory Kirschling, The Gargoyle, 2008)

• "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation." (Henry David Thoreau, Walden)

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• "The daily diary of the American dream." (slogan of The Wall Street Journal )

• "Pompey Pipped at the Post as Pippo Pounces" (sports headline, Daily Express, Nov. 28, 2008)

• "Alliteration, or front rhyme, has been traditionally more

acceptable in prose than end-rhyme but both do the same thing--capitalize on chance. . . . This powerful glue can connect elements without logical relationship."

(Richard Lanham, Analyzing Prose, Continuum, 2003)

• "A moist young moon hung above the mist of a neighboring meadow."

(Vladimir Nabokov, Conclusive Evidence) • "Guinness is good for you."

(advertising slogan)

• "Good men are gruff and grumpy, cranky, crabbed, and cross." (Clement Freud)

• "My style is public negotiations for parity, rather than private negotiations for position."

(Jesse Jackson)

Pronunciation: ah-lit-err-RAY-shun

Also Known As: head rhyme, initial rhyme, front rhyme Figures of Sound

AssonanceOnomatopoeiaHomoioteleuton Common Figures

Top 20 Figures of SpeechUsing Similes & MetaphorsRhetorical Strategies of Repetition

The Lighter Side of Language

Lighter Side of LanguageStore Name PunsUsing Sentence Fragments Effectively

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2.Anaphora (rhetoric)

Definition:

A rhetorical term for the repetition of a word or phrase at the start of  successive clauses. For the grammatical term, see anaphora

(grammar). Adjective: anaphoric . Compare with epiphora. See also: • Bryson's Anaphora

• Giovanni's Anaphora • "I Have a Dream" Etymology:

From the Greek, "carrying back" Examples:

• "I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat and a gun."

(Raymond Chandler, Farewell, My Lovely )

• "I don't like you sucking around, bothering our citizens,

Lebowski. I don't like your jerk-off name. I don't like your jerk-off  face. I don't like your off behavior, and I don't like you, jerk-off."

(Policeman in The Big Lebowski )

• "We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight  on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender."

(Winston Churchill, speech to the House of Commons, June 4, 1940) • "It's the hope of slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs; the hope of immigrants setting out for distant shores; the hope of a young naval lieutenant bravely patrolling the Mekong Delta; the hope of a millworker's son who dares to defy the odds; the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him,

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too."

(Barack Obama, "The Audacity of Hope," July 27, 2004)

• "I'm not afraid to die. I'm not afraid to live. I'm not afraid to fail. I'm not afraid to succeed. I'm not afraid to fall in love. I'm not 

afraid to be alone. I'm just afraid I might have to stop talking about myself for five minutes."

(Kinky Friedman, When the Cat's Away ) Pronunciation: ah-NAF-oh-rah

Also Known As: epanaphora, iteratio, relatio, repetitio, report Rhetorical Devices of Repetition

• Commoratio • Diacope

• Would You Repeat That, Please? Common Figures

• Top 20 Figures of Speech • Metaphors Be with You

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3.Antithesis

Definition:

The juxtaposition of contrasting ideas in balanced phrases or clauses. Plural: antitheses. Adjective: antithetical . See also:

• Parallelism • Chiasmus • Isocolon

• The Inaugural Address of John F. Kennedy • The Inaugural Address of Barack Obama Etymology:

From the Greek, "opposition" Examples:

• "Love is an ideal thing, marriage a real thing." (Goethe)

• "Hillary has soldiered on, damned if she does, damned if she doesn't, like most powerful women, expected to be tough as nails and warm as toast at the same time."

(Anna Quindlen, "Say Goodbye to the Virago," Newsweek , June 16, 2003)

• "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of  belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way."

(Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities)

• "I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by

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magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time."

(Jack London)

• "Everybody doesn't like something, but nobody doesn't like Sara Lee."

(advertising slogan)

• "We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools."

(Martin Luther King, Jr., speech at St. Louis, 1964) • "You're easy on the eyes

Hard on the heart." (Terri Clark)

• "The more acute the experience, the less articulate its expression." (Harold Pinter) Pronunciation: an-TITH-uh-sis Figures of Balance AnaphoraAppositionParallelism Figures of Speech

Top 20 Figures of SpeechRhetorical Analysis of E B. White's "The Ring of Time"Figures & Tropes

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4.Apostrophe (figure of speech)

Definition:

A figure of speech in which some absent or nonexistent person or

thing is addressed as if present and capable of understanding. (For the mark of punctuation, see apostrophe [punctuation].) See also:

• Personification • Ecphonesis

• Top 20 Figures of Speech Etymology:

From the Greek, "turning away" Examples:

• "O western wind, when wilt thou blow That the small rain down can rain?"

(anonymous, 16th c.)

• "Hello darkness, my old friend

I've come to talk with you again . . .." (Paul Simon, "The Sounds of Silence")

• "Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art" (John Keats)

• "Welcome, O life! I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race."

(James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man) • "Blue Moon, you saw me standing alone

Without a dream in my heart Without a love of my own." (Lorenz Hart, "Blue Moon")

• "I believe it is the lost wisdom of my grandfather

Whose ways were his own and who died before I could ask. "Forerunner, I would like to say, silent pilot,

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Little dry death, future,

Your indirections are as strange to me As my own. I know so little that anything You might tell me would be a revelation." (W.S. Merwin, "Sire")

• "O stranger of the future! O inconceivable being!

whatever the shape of your house, however you scoot from place to place,

no matter how strange and colorless the clothes you may wear, I bet nobody likes a wet dog either.

I bet everyone in your pub,

even the children, pushes her away."

(Billy Collins, "To a Stranger Born in Some Distant Country Hundreds of Years from Now")

• "Dear Ella

Our Special First Lady of Song You gave your best for so long." (Kenny Burrell, "Dear Ella")

Pronunciation: ah-POS-tro-fee

Also Known As: turne tale, aversio, aversion Master Tropes

MetaphorWhat Is Irony?Metonymy Figures of Speech

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5.Assonance

Definition:

Identity or similarity in sound between internal vowels in neighboring words. See also:

• Parechesis

• Homoioteleuton • Consonance Etymology:

From the Latin, "sound" Examples:

• "Those images that yet Fresh images beget,

That dolphin-torn, that gong-tormented sea." (W.B. Yeats, "Byzantium")

• "The spider skins lie on their sides, translucent and ragged, their legs drying in knots."

(Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm)

• "Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage, against the dying of the light."

(Dylan Thomas, "Do not go gentle into that good night")

• "The setting sun was licking the hard bright machine like some great invisible beast on its knees."

(John Hawkes, Death, Sleep, and the Traveler ) • "It beats as it sweeps as it cleans."

(Slogan for Hoover vacuum cleaners)

• "I must confess that in my quest I felt depressed and restless." (Thin Lizzy, "With Love")

• "A lanky, six-foot, pale boy with an active Adam's apple, ogling Lo and her orange-brown bare midriff, which I kissed five minutes

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later, Jack."

(Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita)

• "Strips of tinfoil winking like people" (Sylvia Plath, "The Bee Meeting")

Observations:

• "Beware of excessive assonance. Any assonance that draws attention to itself is excessive."

(John Earle, A Simple Grammar of English, 1898)

• " Assonance, (or medial rime) is the agreement in the vowel sounds of two or more words, when the consonant sounds

preceding and following these vowels do not agree. Thus, strike and grind , hat and man, 'rime' with each other according to the laws of  assonance."

(J.W. Bright, Elements of English Versification, 1910)

• "The terms alliteration, assonance, and rhyme identify kinds of  recurring sound that in practice are often freely mixed together. . . . It may not be easy or useful to decide where one stops and another

starts."

(Tom McArthur, The Oxford Companion to the English Language, 1992)

Pronunciation: ASS-a-nins

Also Known As: medial rhyme (or rime) Sound Effects

• Alliteration

• Homoioteleuton • Onomatopoeia

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6.Chiasmus

Definition:

A verbal pattern (a type of antithesis) in which the second half of an expression is balanced against the first with the parts reversed.

Essentially the same as antimetabole. (Note that a chiasmus includes anadiplosis, but not every anadiplosis reverses itself in the manner of  a chiasmus.) Adjective: chiastic . See also: <UL

 Chiasmus on the Campaign Trail

 Quiz on the Top 20 Figures of Speech

Etymology:

From the Greek, "mark with the letter  X ." Examples:

• "Nice to see you, to see you, nice!" (British TV entertainer Bruce Forsyth)

• "You forget what you want to remember, and you remember what you want to forget."

(Cormac McCarthy, The Road , 2006)

• "I flee who chases me, and chase who flees me." (Ovid)

• "Fair is foul, and foul is fair." (William Shakespeare, Macbeth I.i)

• "Your manuscript is both good and original; but the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good."

(Samuel Johnson)

• "If black men have no rights in the eyes of the white men, of  course the whites can have none in the eyes of the blacks."

(Frederick Douglass, "An Appeal to Congress for Impartial Suffrage")

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• "The art of progress is to preserve order amid change and to preserve change amid order."

(Alfred North Whitehead)

• "The value of marriage is not that adults produce children, but that children produce adults."

(Peter De Vries)

• "Don't sweat the petty things--and don't pet the sweaty things." (anonymous)

• "You can take it out of the country, but you can't take the country out of it."

(slogan for Salem cigarettes)

• "Friendly Americans win American friends." (United States Travel Service, 1963)

• "Never let a fool kiss you--or a kiss fool you." (anonymous)

• "My job is not to represent Washington to you, but to represent you to Washington."

(Barack Obama)

• "I am stuck on Band-Aid, and Band-Aid's stuck on me." (advertising jingle for Band-Aid bandages)

Pronunciation: ki-AZ-mus

Also Known As: antimetabole, epanodos Elsewhere on the Web

• Chiasmus.com (Dr. Mardy Grothe) Matching Figures

• Tricolon • Parison • Isocolon

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7.Euphemism

Definition:

Substitution of an inoffensive term (such as "passed away") for one considered offensively explicit ("died"). Adjective: euphemistic . See also:

• Language Taboos: Never Say "Die"

• Fifty Reasons You'll Never Be Told, "You're Fired" • Euphemisms, Dysphemisms, and Distinctio

• Soft Language • Dysphemism • Orthophemism • Taboo Language • Weasel Word Etymology:

From the Greek, "use of good words" Examples and Observations:

• Dr. House: I'm busy.

Thirteen: We need you to . . .

Dr. House: Actually, as you can see, I'm not busy. It's just a euphemism for "get the hell out of here."

("Dying Changes Everything," House, M.D.)

• Dr. House: Who were you going to kill in Bolivia? My old housekeeper?

Dr. Terzi: We don't kill anyone.

Dr. House: I'm sorry--who were you going to marginalize? ("Whatever It Takes," House, M.D.)

• Pre-owned for used or second-hand; enhanced interrogation for torture; wind for belch or fart; convenience fee for surcharge

• Dan Foreman: Guys, I feel very terrible about what I'm about to say. But I'm afraid you're both being let go.

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Dan Foreman: It means you're being fired, Louie. (In Good Company , 2004)

• "Euphemisms are not, as many young people think, useless verbiage for that which can and should be said bluntly; they are like secret agents on a delicate mission, they must airily pass by a

stinking mess with barely so much as a nod of the head.

Euphemisms are unpleasant truths wearing diplomatic cologne." (Quentin Crisp, Manners from Heaven, 1984)

• Mr. Prince: We'll see you when you get back from image enhancement camp.

Martin Prince: Spare me your euphemisms! It's fat camp, for Daddy's chubby little secret!

("Kamp Krusty," The Simpsons, 1992)

• Paul Kersey: You've got a prime figure. You really have, you know.

Joanna Kersey: That's a euphemism for fat. (Death Wish, 1974)

Pronunciation: YOO-fuh-miz-em

Also Known As: soft language, euphemismus, conciliatio, paradiastole, soother

Words and Meanings

DenotationConnotationDistinctio Offending Words

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8.Hyperbole

Definition:

A figure of speech (a form of irony) in which exaggeration is used for emphasis or effect; an extravagant statement. Adjective: hyperbolic . Contrast with understatement.

See also:

• H.L. Mencken's Hyperbolic Prose Style • Hyperbole, by W. S. Walsh

• Hyperbole in Dave Barry's "Revenge of the Pork Person" • Tall Talk

• The Ten Greatest Hyperboles Etymology:

From the Greek, "excess"

Examples and Observations:

• "Ladies and gentlemen, I've been to Vietnam, Iraq, and

Afghanistan, and I can say without hyperbole that this is a million times worse than all of them put together."

(Kent Brockman, The Simpsons)

• "Kingsley fell over. And this was no brisk trip or tumble. It was an act of colossal administration. First came a kind of slow-leak effect, giving me the immediate worry that Kingsley, when fully deflated, would spread out into the street on both sides of the island, where there were cars, trucks, sneezing buses. Next, as I grabbed and tugged, he felt like a great ship settling on its side: would it right itself, or go under? Then came an impression of  overall dissolution and the loss of basic physical coherence. I groped around him, looking for places to shore him up, but every bit of him was falling, dropping, seeking the lowest level, like a mudslide."

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• "O for the gift of Rostand's Cyrano to invoke the vastness of that nose alone as it cleaves the giant screen from east to west, bisects it from north to south. It zigzags across our horizon like a bolt of  fleshy lightning."

(John Simon, review of Barbra Streisand, 1976)

• "If we're going to start crucifying people for hyperbole in this society, there's going to be a long line. If I were writing a diet book, I wouldn't say, 'It's going to take a lot of work and it'll be a pain in the butt.' I'd say, 'Thin thighs in 30 days!'"

(Matthew Lesko. The Week , August 3, 2007) Pronunciation: hi-PURR-buh-lee

Also Known As: overstatement, exuperatio Master Tropes

• Metaphor • Metonymy • Irony

Scrapbook of Styles

• Hyperbole in Martin Amis's "Money"

• Raymond Chandler's Hardboiled Prose Style • Hemingway's Use of Repetition

Common Figures of Speech

• Top 20 Figures of Speech

• Figures of Speech in Advertising Slogans • Figures, Tropes, and Other Rhetorical Terms

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9.Irony

Definition:

The use of words to convey the opposite of their literal meaning; a statement or situation where the meaning is contradicted by the appearance or presentation of the idea. Three kinds of irony are commonly recognized:

1. Verbal irony is a trope in which the intended meaning of a statement differs from the meaning that the words appear to express.

2. Situational irony involves an incongruity between what is expected or intended and what actually occurs.

3. Dramatic irony is an effect produced by a narrative in which the audience knows more about present or future

circumstances than a character in the story. See also:

• What Is Irony? • Ironist

• Irony Deficiency • Antiphrasis

• "A Modest Proposal," by Jonathan Swift • Sarcasm

• Accismus • Epitrope Etymology:

From Greek, "feigned ignorance" Examples & Observations:

• "It is a fitting irony that under Richard Nixon, launder became a dirty word."

(William Zinsser)

• "I'm aware of the irony of appearing on TV in order to decry it." (Sideshow Bob, The Simpsons)

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• "Irony has always been a primary tool the under-powered use to tear at the over-powered in our culture. But now irony has

become the bait that media corporations use to appeal to educated consumers. . . . It's almost an ultimate irony that those who say they don't like TV will sit and watch TV as long as the hosts of their favorite shows act like they don't like TV, either. Somewhere in this swirl of droll poses and pseudo-insights, irony itself becomes a kind of mass therapy for a politically confused culture. It offers a

comfortable space where complicity doesn't feel like complicity. It makes you feel like you are counter-cultural while never requiring you to leave the mainstream culture it has so much fun teasing. We are happy enough with this therapy that we feel no need to enact social change."

(Dan French, review of The Daily Show , 2001) Pronunciation: I-ruh-nee

Also Known As: eironeia, illusio, dry mock Master Tropes

• Metaphor • Metonymy • Hyperbole

Common Figures of Speech

• Top 20 Figures of Speech • What Is Irony?

• Using Similes & Metaphors Varieties of Irony

• Accismus • Sarcasm • Antiphrasis Related Articles

• broadening - definition and examples of broadening • pejoration - definition and examples of pejoration

• amelioration - definition and examples of amelioration • Italian Semantics

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10.Litotes

Definition:

A figure of speech consisting of an understatement in which an

affirmative is expressed by negating its opposite. See also: meiosis. Etymology:

From the Greek, "plainness, simplicity" Examples:

• "The grave's a fine a private place, But none, I think, do there embrace." (Andrew Marvell, "To His Coy Mistress") • "We are not amused."

(attributed to Queen Victoria)

• "'Not a bad day's work on the whole,' he muttered, as he quietly took off his mask, and his pale, fox-like eyes glittered in the red glow of the fire. 'Not a bad day's work.'"

(Baroness Emmuska Orczy, The Scarlet Pimpernel , 1905) • "for life's not a paragraph

And death I think is no parenthesis" (e.e. cummings, "since feeling is first")

• "What we know partakes in no small measure of the nature of  what has so happily been called the unutterable or ineffable, so that any attempt to utter or eff it is doomed to fail, doomed, doomed to fail."

(Samuel Beckett)

• "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."

(Ronald Reagan, Farewell Address to the Nation, January 20, 1989) • "We're all being lobotomized by this country's most influential industry! It's just thrown in the towel on any endeavor to do

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Not even the smart twelve-year-olds--the stupid ones! The idiots--of which there are plenty, thanks in no small measure to this

network! So why don't you just change the channel? Turn off the TV. Do it right now. Go ahead."

(Judd Hirsch playing Wes Mendell in the pilot episode of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, 2006)

• "I'm not doing this for my health."

(O.J. Simpson, in a paid appearance at a horror comic book convention) Pronunciation: LI-toe-teez Figures of Emphasis • Hyperbole • Understatement • Parrhesia Common Figures

• Top 20 Figures of Speech

• Rhetorical Analysis of E B. White's "The Ring of Time" • Review Quiz: Top 20 Figures of Speech

Metaphors

• Metaphor • Vehicle • Tenor

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11.Metaphor

Definition:

A figure of speech in which an implied comparison is made between two unlike things that actually have something in common. A

metaphor expresses the unfamiliar (the tenor) in terms of the familiar (the vehicle). When Neil Young sings, "Love is a rose," "rose" is the vehicle for "love," the tenor. (In cognitive linguistics, the terms target  and source are roughly equivalent to tenor and vehicle.) Adj.:

metaphorical .

Types of Metaphors: absolute, burlesque, catachretic, complex, conceptual, conventional, creative, dead, extended, grammatical, mixed, ontological, primary, root, structural, submerged, therapeutic, visual See also: • What Is a Metaphor? • Time Metaphors • 13 Types of Metaphors Etymology:

From the Greek, "carry over" Examples:

• "Between the lower east side tenements the sky is a snotty handkerchief."

(Marge Piercy, "The Butt of Winter")

• "The streets were a furnace, the sun an executioner." (Cynthia Ozick, "Rosa")

• "But my heart is a lonely hunter that hunts on a lonely hill." (William Sharp, "The Lonely Hunter")

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• "Men's words are bullets, that their enemies take up and make use of against them."

(George Savile, Maxims)

• "A man may break a word with you, sir, and words are but wind."

(Shakespeare, The Comedy of Errors)

• "The rain came down in long knitting needles." (Enid Bagnold, National Velvet )

• Lenny : Hey, maybe there is no cabin. Maybe it's one of them metaphorical things.

Carl : Oh yeah, yeah. Like maybe the cabin is the place inside each of us, created by our goodwill and teamwork.

Lenny : Nah, they said there would be sandwiches. (Simpsons)

• "Memory is a crazy woman that hoards colored rags and throws away food."

(Austin O'Malley, Keystones of Thought )

• "It would be more illuminating to say that the metaphor creates the similarity than to say that it formulates some similarity

antecedently existing."

(Max Black, Models and Metaphors, 1962) Pronunciation: MET-ah-for

Also Known As: lexical metaphor Working Metaphors

• Humaphors: The Top 10 Metaphors of Stephen Colbert • Using Similes and Metaphors to Enrich Our Writing • House Calls: The Metaphors

1.

Absolute Metaphor

A metaphor in which one of the terms (the tenor ) can't be readily

distinguished from the other (thevehicle).

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2.

Complex Metaphor

A metaphor in which the literal meaning is expressed through more

than one figurative term (a combination of  primary metaphors).

3.

Conceptual Metaphor

A metaphor in which one idea (or  conceptual domain) is understood

in terms of another.

4.

Conventional Metaphor

A familiar comparison that doesn't call attention to itself as a figure of 

speech.

5.

Creative Metaphor

An original comparison that does call attention to itself as a figure of 

speech.

6.

Dead Metaphor

A figure of speech that has lost its force and imaginative effectiveness

through frequent use.

7.

Extended Metaphor

A comparison between two unlike things that continues throughout a

series of sentences in a paragraph or lines in a poem.

8.

Mixed Metaphor

A succession of incongruous or ludicrous comparisons.

9.

Primary Metaphor

A basic, intuitively understood metaphor--such as KNOWING IS

SEEING or TIME IS MOTION--that may be combined with other 

 primary metaphors to produce complex metaphors.

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10.

Root Metaphor

An image, narrative, or fact that shapes an individual's perception of 

the world and interpretation of reality.

11.

Submerged Metaphor

A type of metaphor in which one of the terms (either 

the vehicle or tenor ) is implied rather than stated explicitly.

12.

Therapeutic Metaphor

A metaphor used by a therapist to assist a client in the process of 

 personal transformation.

13.

Visual Metaphor

The representation of a person, place, thing, or idea by way of a

visual image that suggests a particular association or point of 

similarity.

Regardless of the types of metaphors you favor, keep in mind Aristotle's

observation 2,500 years ago in

 Rhetoric

: "Those words are most pleasant

which give us new knowledge. Strange words have no meaning for us;

common terms we know already. It is metaphor which gives us most of this

 pleasure."

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12.Metonymy

Filed In:

1. Grammar & Rhetoric Glossary

2. > Main Clause - Oxymoron

 A Red Letter Day  Definition:

A figure of speech in which one word or phrase is substituted for another with which it is closely associated (such as "crown" for "royalty"). Metonymy is also the rhetorical strategy of describing something indirectly by referring to things around it, such as

describing someone's clothing to characterize the individual. Adjective: metonymic . See also:

• Metonym • Synecdoche

• Tom Wolfe's Status Details Etymology:

From the Greek, "change of name" Examples & Observations:

• "Many standard items of vocabulary are metonymic. A red-letter day is important, like the feast days marked in red on church calendars. . . . On the level of slang, a redneck is a stereotypical member of the white rural working class in the Southern U.S.,

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fields."

(Connie Eble, "Metonymy." The Oxford Companion to the English Language, 1992)

• "Detroit is still hard at work on an SUV that runs on rain forest trees and panda blood."

(Conan O'Brien)

• "Metonymy is common in cigarette advertising in countries where legislation prohibits depictions of the cigarettes themselves or of people using them."

(Daniel Chandler, Semiotics. Routledge, 2007)

• "I stopped at a bar and had a couple of double Scotches. They didn't do me any good. All they did was make me think of Silver Wig, and I never saw her again."

(Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep)

• The White House asked the television networks for air time on Monday night.

• "Whitehall prepares for a hung parliament." (The Guardian, January 1, 2009)

• The suits on Wall Street walked off with most of our savings. • "The B.L.T. left without paying."

(waitress referring to a customer)

• "Metaphor creates the relation between its objects, while metonymy presupposes that relation."

(Hugh Bredin, "Metonymy." Poetics Today , 1984) Pronunciation: me-TON-uh-me

Also Known As: denominatio, misnamer, transmutation Figures of Substitution

AntonomasiaSynecdocheMetonym Master Tropes

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13.Onomatopoeia

Filed In:

1. Grammar & Rhetoric Glossary

2. > Main Clause - Oxymoron

The onomatopoeic Snap, Crackle, and Pop! (Kellogg's Rice Krispies®)

Definition:

The formation or use of words (such as hiss or murmur ) that imitate the sounds associated with the objects or actions they refer to.

Adjective: onomatopoeic or onomatopoetic . See also: • Onomatope

• Reduplicative

• Sound Symbolism

• Introduction to Etymology Etymology:

From the Latin, "make names" Examples and Observations:

• "I'm getting married in the morning! Ding dong! the bells are gonna chime."

(Lerner and Loewe, "Get Me to the Church on Time," My Fair Lady ) • "Onomatopoeia every time I see ya

My senses tell me hubba And I just can't disagree.

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It's sort of whack, whir, wheeze, whine Sputter, splat, squirt, scrape

Clink, clank, clunk, clatter Crash, bang, beep, buzz Ring, rip, roar, retch Twang, toot, tinkle, thud Pop, plop, plunk, pow Snort, snuck, sniff, smack

Screech, splash, squish, squeak Jingle, rattle, squeal, boing

Honk, hoot, hack, belch."

(Todd Rundgren, "Onomatopoeia")

• "Plop, plop, fizz, fizz , oh what a relief it is." (slogan of Alka Seltzer, U.S.)

• "Plink, plink, fizz, fizz" (Alka Seltzer, U.K.)

• "Klunk! Klick! Every trip" (U.K. promotion for seat belts)

• "[Aredelia] found Starling in the warm laundry room, dozing against the slow rump-rump of a washing machine."

(Thomas Harris, Silence of the Lambs) • "Bang! went the pistol,

Crash! went the window

Ouch! went the son of a gun.

Onomatopoeia--I don't want to see ya

Speaking in a foreign tongue." (John Prine, "Onomatopoeia")

• "Linguists almost always begin discussions about

onomatopoeia with observations like the following: the snip of a pair of scissors is su-su in Chinese, cri-cri in Italian, riqui-riqui in Spanish, terre-terre in Portuguese, krits-krits in modern Greek. . . . Some linguists gleefully expose the conventional nature of these words, as if revealing a fraud."

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Figures of Sound

• Homoioteleuton • Onomatopoeia • Assonance Writers on Writing

• Advice from One Writer to Another • Writers on Writing: E.B. White

• Doris Lessing on the Compulsion to Write Figures of Speech

• Top 20 Figures of Speech

• Review Quiz: Top 20 Figures of Speech • Similes and Metaphors

Related Articles

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14.Oxymoron

Filed In:

1. Grammar & Rhetoric Glossary

2. > Main Clause - Oxymoron

 A small crowd: alone together?  Getty Images

Definition:

A figure of speech in which incongruous or contradictory terms appear side by side; a compressed paradox. Adjective: oxymoronic . See also: verbal paradox.

Etymology:

From the Greek, "sharp-dull" Examples & Observations:

• "O brawling love! O loving hate! . . . O heavy lightness! serious vanity!

Misshapen chaos of well-seeming forms!

Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health! Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is!

This love feel I, that feel no love in this." (William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet ) • "A yawn may be defined as a silent yell." (G.K. Chesterton)

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• "O miserable abundance, O beggarly riches!" (John Donne, Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions) • "That building is a little bit big and pretty ugly." (James Thurber)

• "'I want to move with all deliberate haste,' said President-elect Barack Obama at his first, brief press conference after his election, 'but I emphasize "deliberate" as well as "haste."'

"It’s not easy to be both deliberate and hasty at the same time unless you are consciously embracing an oxymoron--from the Greek word meaning 'pointedly foolish'--and it is a jarring

 juxtaposition of contradictory words like 'cruel kindness' and 'thunderous silence.'"

(William Safire, "Frugalista." The New York Times, Nov. 21, 2008) • "The phrase 'domestic cat' is an oxymoron."

(George Will)

• "A log palace is an architectural as well as a verbal oxymoron; so is a short skyscraper , or an urban villa."

(J. F. O'Gorman and Dennis E. McGrath, ABC of Architecture. Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 1998)

• the expressions "act naturally," "original copy," "found missing," "alone together," "peace force," "definite possibility," "terribly

pleased," "real phony," "ill health," "turn up missing," "jumbo shrimp," "alone together," "loose tights," "small crowd," and "clearly misunderstood"

Pronunciation: ox-see-MOR-on Figures of Speech

• Paradox

• Top 20 Figures of Speech

• Tool Kit for Rhetorical Analysis Rhetorical Analyses

• Rhetorical Analysis of E B. White's "The Ring of Time" • Homer Simpson's Rhetoric

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15.Paradox

15.Paradox

Filed In: Filed In:

1.

1. Grammar & Rhetoric GlossaryGrammar & Rhetoric Glossary

2.

2. >> Palindrome - QuotativePalindrome - Quotative

M. C. Escher's "Waterfall": a visual

M. C. Escher's "Waterfall": a visual paradox paradox 

Definition: Definition:

A statement that appears to contradict itself. Adjective:

A statement that appears to contradict itself. Adjective: paradoxical  paradoxical .. See also:

See also: •

• Verbal ParadoxVerbal Paradox •

• OxymoronOxymoron •

• "The Superstition of School," by G.K. Chesterton"The Superstition of School," by G.K. Chesterton •

• "Paradox and Dream," by John Steinbeck"Paradox and Dream," by John Steinbeck Etymology:

Etymology:

From the Greek, "incredible, contrary to opinion or expectation" From the Greek, "incredible, contrary to opinion or expectation" Examples and Observations:

Examples and Observations: •

• "The swiftest traveler is he that goes afoot.""The swiftest traveler is he that goes afoot." (Henry David Thoreau,

(Henry David Thoreau, WaldenWalden)) •

• "If you wish to preserve your secret, wrap it up in frankness.""If you wish to preserve your secret, wrap it up in frankness." (Alexander Smith)

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• "A dog growls when it's angry, and wags its tale when it's"A dog growls when it's angry, and wags its tale when it's

pleased. Now I growl when I'm pleased and wag my tale when I'm pleased. Now I growl when I'm pleased and wag my tale when I'm angry."

angry."

(The Cheshire Cat in Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in (The Cheshire Cat in Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland)

Wonderland) •

• "War is peace.""War is peace." "Freedom is slavery." "Freedom is slavery." "Ignorance is strength." "Ignorance is strength." (George Orwell, (George Orwell, 19841984)) •

• "There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified"There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that concern for one's own safety in the face of dangers that were real that concern for one's own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do

could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as was ask; and as soon as he did,soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane he had to

was sane he had to fly them. If he flew fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn'tthem he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he

have to; but if he didn't want to he was sane and didn't want to he was sane and had to."had to." (Joseph Heller,

(Joseph Heller, Catch-22Catch-22)) •

• ""ParadoxParadox of Success: the more successful a policy is in wardingof Success: the more successful a policy is in warding off some unwanted condition the less necessary it will be thought to off some unwanted condition the less necessary it will be thought to maintain it. If a threat is successfully suppressed, people naturally maintain it. If a threat is successfully suppressed, people naturally wonder why we should any longer bother with it."

wonder why we should any longer bother with it."

(James Piereson, "On the Paradox of Success." Real Clear Politics, (James Piereson, "On the Paradox of Success." Real Clear Politics, Sep. 11, 2006)

Sep. 11, 2006) •

• "Some day you will b"Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy talese old enough to start reading fairy tales again."

again."

(C.S. Lewis to his godchild, Lucy Barfield, to whom he dedicated (C.S. Lewis to his godchild, Lucy Barfield, to whom he dedicated The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe)) Pronunciation:

Pronunciation: PAR-a-doxPAR-a-dox Scrapbook of Styles

Scrapbook of Styles

Polysyndeton in Julie Myerson's "Sad-Grand Moment"

Polysyndeton in Julie Myerson's "Sad-Grand Moment"Hyperbole inHyperbole in

Martin Amis's "Money"

Martin Amis's "Money"Ian Frazier's List of Reasons in "Great Plains"Ian Frazier's List of Reasons in "Great Plains"

Logic Logic

Logos

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Figures of Speech Figures of Speech

Top 20 Figures of Speech

Top 20 Figures of SpeechHomer Simpson's Figures of SpeechHomer Simpson's Figures of SpeechTheThe

Rhetoric of Tony Soprano

Rhetoric of Tony Soprano

16.Personification

16.Personification

Filed In: Filed In:

1.

1. Grammar & CompositionGrammar & Composition

 John Bull and Uncle Sam  John Bull and Uncle Sam

Definition: Definition: A

A figure of speechfigure of speech in which an inanimate object or abstraction is givenin which an inanimate object or abstraction is given human qualities or abilities. See also:

human qualities or abilities. See also: •

• What Is Personification?What Is Personification? •

• Personification inPersonification in Motherless BrooklynMotherless Brooklyn •

• "On a Rainy Morning," by C. "On a Rainy Morning," by C. S. BrooksS. Brooks •

• "Story of a Garden," by Mabel Wright"Story of a Garden," by Mabel Wright •

• ProgymnasmataProgymnasmata

Examples and Observations: Examples and Observations:

• AsAs personificationspersonifications of their respective nations, England and theof their respective nations, England and the U.S., John Bull and Uncle

U.S., John Bull and Uncle Sam became popular during the 19thSam became popular during the 19th century.

century. •

• The wind stood up and gave a shout.The wind stood up and gave a shout. He whistled on his fingers and

He whistled on his fingers and Kicked the withered leaves about Kicked the withered leaves about

And thumped the branches with his hand And thumped the branches with his hand

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And so he will and so he will. (James Stephens, "The Wind")

• "The operation is over. On the table, the knife lies spent, on its side, the bloody meal smear-dried upon its flanks. The knife rests." (Richard Selzer, "The Knife")

• "Personification, with allegory, was the literary rage in the 18th century, but it goes against the modern grain and today is the feeblest of metaphorical devices."

(Rene Cappon, Associated Press Guide to News Writing, 2000)

• "Only the champion daisy trees were serene. After all, they were part of a rain forest already two thousand years old and scheduled for eternity, so they ignored the men and continued to rock the diamondbacks that slept in their arms. It took the river to persuade them that indeed the world was altered."

(Toni Morrison, Tar Baby )

• "The road isn't built that can make it breathe hard!" (slogan for Chevrolet automobiles)

• "Fear knocked on the door. Faith answered. There was no one there."

(proverb quoted by Christopher Moltisanti, The Sopranos) • "Oreo: Milk’s favorite cookie."

(slogan on a package of Oreo cookies)

• "The only monster here is the gambling monster that has

enslaved your mother! I call him Gamblor, and it's time to snatch your mother from his neon claws!"

(Homer Simpson, The Simpsons) Pronunciation: per-SON-if-i-KAY-shun Also Known As: prosopopoeia

Figures of Speech

LitotesHyperboleSynecdoche Figurative Comparisons

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Key Figures

Top 20 Figures of SpeechReview Quiz: Top 20 Figures of  SpeechReview Quiz: Rhetorical

17.Pun

Filed In:

1. Grammar & Composition

Slogan of Morton Salt (since 1911) Definition:

A play on words, either on different senses of the same word or on the similar sense or sound of different words. See also:

• Paronomasia • Antanaclasis • Homophones • Verbal Play

• Charles Lamb on Puns • Store Name Puns Etymology:

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Examples:

• "When it rains, it pours."

(advertising slogan for Morton Salt) • "When it pours, it reigns."

(slogan of Michelin tires)

• "What food these morsels be!" (slogan of Heinz pickles, 1938)

• "American Home has an edifice complex." (slogan of  American Home magazine)

• "Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight" (Dylan Thomas, "Do not go gentle into that good night") • "Look deep into our ryes."

(slogan of Wigler's Bakery)

• "Hanging is too good for a man who makes puns; he should be drawn and quoted."

(Fred Allen)

• A vulture boards a plane, carrying two dead possums. The attendant looks at him and says, "I'm sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger."

• "Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana." (Groucho Marx)

• "Punning is an art of harmonious jingling upon words, which, passing in at the ears, excites a titillary motion in those parts; and this, being conveyed by the animal spirits into the muscles of the face, raises the cockles of the heart."

(Jonathan Swift)

• "A pun is not bound by the laws which limit nicer wit. It is a pistol let off at the ear; not a feather to tickle the intellect." (Charles Lamb)

• "All obscene puns have the same underlying construction in that they consist of two elements. The first element sets the stage for the pun by offering seemingly harmless material, such as the title of a book, The Tiger's Revenge. But the second element either is

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name of the author of The Tiger's Revenge--Claude Bawls." (Peter Farb, Word Play , 1974)

• "To pun is to treat homonyms as synonyms." (Walter Redfern, Puns, 1974)

Pronunciation: pun

Also Known As: paronomasia Word Play

ParonomasiaBlendMalapropism Your Writing

Secrets to Success in English 101The Write AttitudeThe Writing Process

Words About Words

HomonymAntonymSynonym Related Articles

• pejoration - definition and examples of pejoration • transition - definition and examples of transition

• folk etymology - definition and examples of folk etymology • broadening - definition and examples of broadening

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18.Simile

Filed In:

1. Grammar & Rhetoric Glossary

2. > Reading - Syntax Definition:

A figure of speech in which two fundamentally unlike things are

explicitly compared, usually in a phrase introduced by like or as. See also:

• 100 Sweet Similes • Metaphor

• Analogy

• Using Similes to Enrich Our Writing • Similes That Make Us Smile

• The Simile Poem Etymology:

From Latin, "likeness" or "comparison" Examples and Observations:

• "He was like a cock who thought the sun had risen to hear him crow."

(George Eliot, Adam Bede)

• "Human speech is like a cracked cauldron on which we bang out tunes that make bears dance, when we want to move the stars to pity."

(Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary )

• "Humanity, let us say, is like people packed in an automobile which is traveling downhill without lights at terrific speed and driven by a four-year-old child. The signposts along the way are all

marked 'Progress.'" (Lord Dunsany)

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• "Life is like an onion: You peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep."

(Carl Sandburg)

• "My face looks like a wedding-cake left out in the rain." (W.H. Auden)

• "He looked about as inconspicuous as a tarantula on a slice of  angel food."

(Raymond Chandler)

• "The simile sets two ideas side by side; in the metaphor they become superimposed."

(F.L. Lucas)

• "you fit into me like a hook into an eye a fish hook

an open eye"

(Margaret Atwood)

• "She dealt with moral problems as a cleaver deals with meat." (James Joyce, "The Boarding House")

• "She has a voice like a baritone sax issuing from an oil drum, and hams even with her silences."

(John Simon, reviewing Kathleen Turner in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? , April 2005)

• "Good coffee is like friendship: rich and warm and strong." (slogan of Pan-American Coffee Bureau)

• "Life is rather like a tin of sardines: we're all of us looking for the key."

(Alan Bennett)

• "Matt Leinart slid into the draft like a bald tire on black ice." (Rob Oller, Columbus Dispatch, Feb. 25, 2007)

Pronunciation: SIM-i-lee Similes & Metaphors

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Tropes

• Metaphor • Hyperbole • Irony

Metaphors Be With You

• "House" Calls: The Metaphors of Dr. Gregory House • What Is a Metaphor?

• What Are Mixed Metaphors? Related Articles

• Simile -- Definition of Simile -- Simile for Fiction Writers • Examples of Metaphor from Raymond Chandler

--Metaphor Examples by Raymond ...

• understatement - definition and examples of  understatement

• alliteration - definition and examples of alliteration

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19.Synecdoche

Filed In:

1. Grammar & Rhetoric Glossary

2. > Reading - Syntax

Definition:

A figure of speech in which a part is used to represent the whole, the whole for a part, the specific for the general, the general for the

specific, or the material for the thing made from it. Considered by some to be a form of metonymy. Adjective: synecdochic or

synecdochal . Etymology:

From the Greek, "shared understanding" Examples and Observations:

• "The sputtering economy could make the difference if you're trying to get a deal on a new set of wheels."

(Al Vaughters, WIVB.com, Nov. 21, 2008) • All hands on deck.

• General Motors announced cutbacks. • "Take thy face hence."

(William Shakespeare, Macbeth) • 9/11

• "And let us mind, faint heart n'er wan A lady fair."

(Robert Burns, "To Dr. Blalock") • white-collar criminals

• "In photographic and filmic media a close-up is a simple synecdoche--a part representing the whole. . . . Synecdoche

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invites or expects the viewer to 'fill in the gaps' and advertisements frequently employ this trope."

(Daniel Chandler, Semiotics: The Basics. Routledge, 2002) • Give us this day our daily bread .

• "The daily press, the immediate media, is superb at

synecdoche, at giving us a small thing that stands for a much larger thing."

(Bruce Jackson)

• Brazil won the soccer match.

• "And the Stratocaster guitars slung over

Burgermeister beer guts, and the swizzle stick legs  jackknifed over Naugahyde stools . . .."

(Tom Waits, "Putnam County")

• "It's true that there's something sad about the fact that David Leavitt's short stories' sole description of some characters is that their T-shirts have certain brand names on them. . . . In our post-1950s, inseparable-from-TV association pool, brand loyalty really is synecdochic of character."

(David Foster Wallace, "E Unibus Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction." The Review of Contemporary Fiction, 1993)

Pronunciation: si-NEK-di-key

Also Known As: intellectio, quick conceit Figures of Substitution • Antonomasia • Metonymy • Euphemism Master Tropes • Metaphor • Hyperbole • Irony Common Figures

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20.Understatement

Filed In:

1. Grammar & Rhetoric Glossary

2. > Taboo Language - Zeugma

The Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail  Sony Pictures

Definition:

A figure of speech in which a writer or speaker deliberately makes a situation seem less important or serious than it is. Contrast with hyperbole. See also: litotes.

Examples and Observations: • "It's just a flesh wound."

(Black Knight, after having both of his arms cut off, in Monty  Python and the Holy Grail )

• "The grave's a fine and private place, But none, I think, do there embrace." (Andrew Marvell, "To His Coy Mistress")

• "I am just going outside and may be some time."

(Captain Lawrence Oates, Antarctic explorer, before walking out into a blizzard to face certain death, 1912)

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• "A soiled baby, with a neglected nose, cannot be conscientiously regarded as a thing of beauty."

(Mark Twain)

• "This [double helix] structure has novel features which are of  considerable biological interest."

(J. Watson and F. Crick)

• "I have to have this operation. It isn't very serious. I have this tiny little tumor on the brain."

(Holden Caulfield in The Catcher In The Rye, by J. D. Salinger) • "The new EU member states of Poland and Lithuania have been arguing this week for the summit to be called off, and criticizing the German preparations. For historical reasons, the east Europeans are highly sensitive to any sign of Germany cutting deals with Russia over their heads."

(The Guardian, May 17, 2007)

• "Well, that's cast rather a gloom over the evening, hasn't it?" (Dinner guest, after a visit from the Grim Reaper, in Monty Python's The Meaning of Life)

• "The British are feeling the pinch in relation to recent terrorist bombings and threats to destroy nightclubs and airports, and

therefore have raised their security level from 'Miffed' to 'Peeved.' Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to 'Irritated' or even 'A Bit Cross.' Brits have not been 'A Bit Cross' since the Blitz in 1940 when tea supplies all but ran out."

(anonymous post on the Internet, July 2007) Pronunciation: UN-der-STATE-ment

Also Known As: litotes Common Figures

Top 20 Figures of SpeechUsing Similes and MetaphorsMetaphors Be With You

Figures of Speech MeiosisLitotesHyperbole

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"On the Decay of the Art of Lying""Two Ways of Seeing a River"Writers on English Spelling

Accismus

Definition:

A rhetorical term for coyness: a form of irony in which a person feigns a lack of interest in something that he or she actually desires.

Etymology:

From the Greek, "coyness"

Examples and Observations:

• " Accismus is . . . a form of irony where one pretends

indifference and refuses something while actually wanting it. In Aesop's fable, the fox pretends he doesn't care for the grapes." (Anu Garg at Wordsmith.org)

• "My name is Elizabeth Urello. I currently live in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. I do not desire to be a

writer/actor/comic/playwright/household

name/superstar-personality, any more than I desire your good opinion. I do not desperately want more friends, and I am not badly in need of  dates."

("About Elizabeth," at the blog Accismus)

• ". . . I saw Mark Antony offer him [Julius Caesar] a crown--yet 'twas not a crown neither, 'twas one of these coronets--and as I told you, he put it by once; but, for all that, to my thinking, he

would fain have had it. Then he offered it to him again; then he put it by again; but, to my thinking, he was very loath to lay his fingers off it. And then he offered it the third time; he put it the third time by; and still as he refused it, the rabblement hooted and clapped their chapped hands and threw up their sweaty night-caps."

(Casca in Act 1, scene 2 of  Julius Caesar , by William Shakespeare) • "The purer the golden vessel, the more readily is it bent: the higher worth of women is sooner lost than that of men. . . .

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"Nature herself has surrounded these delicate souls with an ever-present, in-born guard, with modesty, both in speaking and

hearing. A woman requires no figure of eloquence--herself  excepted--so often as that of accismus.*

"* So rhetoricians term the figure by which one speaks, without all longing, of the very objects for which one feels the strongest." (Jean Paul, Levana: Or, The Doctrine of Education, 1848)

Pronunciation: ak-IZ-mus Varieties of Irony

• Chleuasmos • Antiphrasis • Verbal Irony

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Accumulation

Definition:

A figure of speech in which a speaker or writer gathers scattered points and lists them together.

Etymology:

From the Latin, "pile up, heap" Examples:

• "A generation goes and a generation comes, yet the earth remains forever. The sun rises and the sun sets, and rushes back again to the place from which it rises. The wind blows south, then returns to the north, round and round goes the wind, on its rounds it circulates. All streams flow to the sea, yet the sea does not fill up."

(Ecclesiastes, The Old Testament)

• "I don't know how to manage my time; he does. . . . I don't know how to dance and he does.

I don't know how to type and he does. I don't know how to drive. . . .

I don't know how to sing and he does." (Natalia Ginzburg, "He and I")

• "Now Senator McCain suggests that somehow, you know, I’m green behind the ears, and I’m just spouting off and he’s somber and responsible. Senator McCain--this is a guy who sang 'bomb, bomb, bomb Iran,' who called for the annihilation of North Korea. That I don’t think is an example of speaking softly. This is the person who after we hadn’t even finished Afghanistan where he said--'next up, Baghdad.' So I agree that we have to speak responsibly.” 

(Senator Barack Obama, U.S. Presidential Debate, October 7, 2008) • I’m a modern man, digital and smoke-free;

a man for the millennium.

A diversified, multi-cultural, post-modern deconstructionist; politically, anatomically and ecologically incorrect.

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I’ve been uplinked and downloaded, I’ve been inputted and outsourced. I know the upside of downsizing, I know the downside of upgrading. I’m a high-tech low-life.

a cutting-edge, state-of-the-art, bi-coastal multi-tasker,

and I can give you a gigabyte in a nanosecond. . . .

(George Carlin, When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops? , Hyperion, 2004)

Pronunciation: ah-kyoom-you-LAY-shun Also Known As: accumulatio, congeries

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Allegory

Definition:

Extending a metaphor through an entire speech or passage so that objects, persons, and actions in the text are equated with meanings that lie outside the text. The most famous allegory in English is John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress (1678), a tale of Christian salvation. Adjective: allegorical . See also:

• Aptronym

• "False and True Humour," by Joseph Addison • Metaphor

• Parable Etymology:

From the Greek, "to speak so as to imply something other" Example:

"And now, I said, let me show in a figure how far our nature is enlightened or unenlightened: Behold! human beings living in an underground cave, which has a mouth open towards the light and

reaching all along the cave; here they have been from their childhood, and have their legs and necks chained so that they cannot move, and can only see before them, being prevented by the chains from turning round their heads. Above and behind them a fire is blazing at a

distance, and between the fire and the prisoners there is a raised way; and you will see, if you look, a low wall built along the way, like the screen which marionette players have in front of them, over which they show the puppets. . . . And now look again, and see what will naturally follow if the prisoners are released and disabused of their error. At first, when any of them is liberated and compelled suddenly to stand up and turn his neck round and walk and look towards the light, he will suffer sharp pains; the glare will distress him, and he will be unable to see the realities of which in his former state he had seen the shadows; and then conceive some one saying to him, that what he saw before was an illusion, but that now, when he is approaching

nearer to being and his eye is turned towards more real existence, he has a clearer vision."

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Pronunciation: AL-eh-gor-ee

Also Known As: inversio, permutatio, false semblant Related Rhetorical Strategies

• Metaphor • Fable • Narrative Narratives

• "A Fable," by Mark Twain

• Willie Morris's Descriptive Narrative

• Susan Orlean's Extended Metaphor: "Super-Duper"

Alliteration

Definition:

The repetition of an initial consonant sound. Adjective: alliterative. See also: • Assonance • Consonance • Homoioteleuton • Reduplicative • Rhyme Etymology:

From the Latin, "putting letters together" Examples and Observations:

• "You'll never put a better bit of butter on your knife." (advertising slogan for Country Life butter)

• "The soul selects her own society." (Emily Dickinson)

• "Forget the most obvious problem with collegiate calorie

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vigorous salad consumption and sulkiness."

(Marisha Pessl, "Seize the Weight," The New York Times, Oct. 6, 2006)

• "In a somer seson, whan soft was the sonne . . ." (William Langland, Piers Plowman, 14th century)

• "The sibilant sermons of the snake as she discoursed upon the disposition of my sinner's soul seemed ceaseless."

(Gregory Kirschling, The Gargoyle, 2008)

• "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation." (Henry David Thoreau, Walden)

• "The daily diary of the American dream." (slogan of The Wall Street Journal )

• "Pompey Pipped at the Post as Pippo Pounces" (sports headline, Daily Express, Nov. 28, 2008)

• "Alliteration, or front rhyme, has been traditionally more

acceptable in prose than end-rhyme but both do the same thing--capitalize on chance. . . . This powerful glue can connect elements without logical relationship."

(Richard Lanham, Analyzing Prose, Continuum, 2003)

• "A moist young moon hung above the mist of a neighboring meadow."

(Vladimir Nabokov, Conclusive Evidence) • "Guinness is good for you."

(advertising slogan)

• "Good men are gruff and grumpy, cranky, crabbed, and cross." (Clement Freud)

• "My style is public negotiations for parity, rather than private negotiations for position."

(Jesse Jackson)

Pronunciation: ah-lit-err-RAY-shun

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Allusion

Definition:

A brief, usually indirect reference to a person, place, or event--real or fictional. Adjective: allusive. See also: Allusion and Illusion.

Etymology:

From the Latin, "to play with" Examples and Observations:

• "Even sports newsletters allude to [Robert] Frost. When a New York Giants tackle was diagnosed as having cancer, Inside Football  commented, 'The rest, since there was no more to build on there, turned to their affairs.' That's an allusion to a 1916 Frost poem about a boy's accidental death: 'No more to build on there. And they, since they/ Were not the one dead, turned to their affairs.' (The poem's title is 'Out, Out--,' itself an allusion by Frost to Shakespeare; after Lady Macbeth dies, Macbeth speaks of life's shortness, 'Out, out, brief candle!')"

(William Safire, "On Language: Poetic Allusion Watch." The New  York Times, July 24, 1988)

• "I violated the Noah rule: predicting rain doesn't count; building arks does."

(Warren Buffett)

• "An allusion which is explained no longer has the charm of  allusion. . . . In divulging the mystery, you withdraw its virtue." (Jean Paulhan)

• "Comic books have become reference points in the most popular and the most esoteric fiction and art. Everyone understands a

Superman allusion or a Batman joke."

(Gerard Jones, Men of Tomorrow , Basic Books, 2005)

• "I was not born in a manger. I was actually born on Krypton and sent here by my father, Jor-el, to save the Planet Earth."

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• "Senator Obama's call to 'ask not just what our government can do for us, but what we can do for ourselves' had an even more direct connection to the inaugural address of the first G.I.

Generation president of the United States."

(Morley Winograd and Michael D. Hais, Millennial Makeover . Rutgers Univ. Press, 2008)

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Ambiguity

Definition:

The presence of two or more possible meanings in any passage. Also, a fallacy in which the same term is used in more than one way.

Adjective: ambiguous. See also: • Lexical Ambiguity • Syntactic Ambiguity • Amphiboly • Crash Blossom • Double Entendre • Equivocation • Garden-Path Sentence Etymology:

From the Latin, "wandering about" Examples and Observations:

• I can't tell you how much I enjoyed meeting your husband. • We saw her duck.

• Roy Rogers: More hay, Trigger? Trigger : No thanks, Roy, I'm stuffed! • Pentagon Plans Swell Deficit

(newspaper headline)

• I can't recommend this book too highly.

• "An ambiguity, in ordinary speech, means something very pronounced, and as a rule witty or deceitful. I propose to use the word in an extended sense: any verbal nuance, however slight, which gives room for alternative reactions to the same piece of  language. . . .

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might be taken without sheer misreading. If a pun is quite obvious it would not be called ambiguous, because there is no room for puzzling. But if an irony is calculated to deceive a section of its readers, I think it would ordinarily be called ambiguous."

(William Empson, Seven Types of Ambiguity , 1947) • "Leahy Wants FBI to Help Corrupt Iraqi Police Force" (headline at CNN.com, December 2006)

• Prostitutes Appeal to Pope (newspaper headline)

• Union Demands Increased Unemployment (newspaper headline)

• "Thanks for dinner. I’ve never seen potatoes cooked like that before."

(Jonah Baldwin in the film Sleepless in Seattle, 1993)

• "Quintilian uses amphibolia (III.vi.46) to mean 'ambiguity,' and tells us (Vii.ix.1) that its species are innumerable; among them, presumably, are Pun and Irony."

(Richard Lanham, A Handlist of Rhetorical Terms. Univ. of California Press, 1991)

Pronunciation: am-big-YOU-it-tee

Also Known As: amphibologia, amphibolia, semantic ambiguity, equivocation

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References