figure of speech

figure of speech
any expressive use of language, as a metaphor, simile, personification, or antithesis, in which words are used in other than their literal sense, or in other than their ordinary locutions, in order to suggest a picture or image or for other special effect. Cf. trope (def. 1).
[1815-25]

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Form of expression used to convey meaning or heighten effect, often by comparing or identifying one thing with another that has a meaning or connotation familiar to the reader or listener.

An integral part of language, figures of speech are found in oral literatures as well as in polished poetry and prose and in everyday speech. Common figures of speech include simile, metaphor, personification, hyperbole, irony, alliteration, onomatopoeia, and puns.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • figure of speech — Figure Fig ure (f[i^]g [ u]r; 135), n. [F., figure, L. figura; akin to fingere to form, shape, feign. See {Feign}.] 1. The form of anything; shape; outline; appearance. [1913 Webster] Flowers have all exquisite figures. Bacon. [1913 Webster] 2.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • figure of speech — index phrase Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • figure of speech — n a word or expression that is used in a different way from the normal meaning, to give you a picture in your mind …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • figure of speech — noun count an expression in which the words are used FIGURATIVELY, not in their normal LITERAL meaning …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • figure of speech — is any of several recognized linguistic devices used to make language lively or more colourful, such as metaphor and simile …   Modern English usage

  • figure of speech — [n] communication that is not meant literally; stylistic device adumbration, allegory, alliteration, allusion, analogue, anaphora, anticlimax, antistrophe, antithesis, aposiopesis, apostrophe, asyndeton, bathos, comparison, conceit, echoism,… …   New thesaurus

  • figure of speech — ► NOUN ▪ a word or phrase used in a non literal sense for rhetorical or vivid effect …   English terms dictionary

  • figure of speech — n. an expression, as a metaphor or simile, using words in a nonliteral sense or unusual manner to add vividness, beauty, etc. to what is said or written …   English World dictionary

  • Figure of speech — A figure of speech, sometimes termed a rhetoric, or locution, is a word or phrase that departs from straightforward, literal language. Figures of speech are often used and crafted for emphasis, freshness of expression, or clarity. However,… …   Wikipedia

  • figure of speech — noun language used in a figurative or nonliteral sense (Freq. 1) • Syn: ↑trope, ↑figure, ↑image • Derivationally related forms: ↑tropical (for: ↑trope) …   Useful english dictionary

  • figure of speech — figures of speech N COUNT A figure of speech is an expression or word that is used with a metaphorical rather than a literal meaning. Of course I m not. It was just a figure of speech …   English dictionary

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