English Terms and Vocab Allegory-Volta

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Last updated: December 12, 2019

Allegory
an expressive style that uses fictional characters and events to describe some subject by suggestive resemblances

Alliteration
the repetition of initial consonant sounds

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Allusions
brief references to something with which the audience is assumed to be familiar

Ambiguity
unclearness by virtue of having more than one meaning

Anacrusis
an extra unaccented syllable at the beginning of a line before the regular meter begins

Analogy
drawing a comparison in order to show a similarity in some respect

Anapest
a metrical unit with unstressed-unstressed-stressed syllables

Anaphora
repetition of a word or phrase as the beginning of successive clauses

Apostrophe
a figure of speech in which one directly addresses an absent or imaginary person, or some abstraction

Assonance
the repetition of similar vowels in the stressed syllables of successive words

Aubade
a love lyric expressing complaint that dawn means the speaker must part from his lover

Asyndenton
conjunctions are omitted, producing a fast paced and rapid prose

Ballad
a narrative poem of popular origin, a song or songlike poem that tells a story

Ballad meter
a four-line stanza rhymed abcd with four feet in lines one and three and three feet in lines two and four

Blank verse
unrhymed verse (usually in iambic pentameter)

Cacophony
harsh, jarring, discordant sound; dissonance

Caesura
a break or pause (usually for sense) in the middle of a verse line

Chiasmus
a statement consisting of two parallel parts in which the second part is structurally reversed (“Susan walked in, and out rushed Mary.

“)

Conceit
a fanciful expression, usually in the form of an extended metaphor or surprising analogy between seemingly dissimilar objects

Connotation
an idea that is implied or suggested

Consonance
the repetition of consonants (or consonant patterns) especially at the ends of words OR harmony

Continuous form
that form of a poem in which the lines follow each other without formal grouping, the only breaks being dictated by units of meaning

Couplet
two consecutive lines of poetry that rhyme

Dactyl
a metrical unit with stressed-unstressed-unstressed syllables

Denotation
the most direct or specific meaning of a word or expression

Diction
the manner in which something is expressed in words

Didactic poetry
poetry with the primary purpose of teaching or preaching

Dimeter
A line of verse consisting of two metrical feet

Double rhyme
a rhyme in which the repeated vowel is in the second last syllable of the words involved.

Dramatic monologue
When a single speaker in literature says something to a silent audience.

Duple meter
A meter in which a majority of the feet contain two syllables.

Elegy
a mournful poem

Elision
a deliberate act of omission

Elizabethian/English/Shakespearian sonnet
3 quatrains, couplet

Ellipsis
the omission of a word or phrase which is grammatically necessary but can be deduced for the context (“Some people prefer cats; others, dogs.”)

End rhyme
Rhyme that occurs at the end of two or more lines of poetry

End-stopped line
A line that ends with a natural speech pause, usually marked by punctuation.

Enjambment
the continuation of a syntactic unit from one line of verse into the next line without a pause

Epigram
a short, witty saying

Euphony
any agreeable (pleasing and harmonious) sounds

Extended figure
a figure of speech sustained or developed through a considerable number of lines or through a whole poem

Extra-metrical syllable
Unaccented syllables at the beginnings or ends of lines

Feminine rhyme
a rhyme of two syllables, one stressed and one unstressed, as “waken” and “forsaken” and “audition” and “rendition.

” Feminine rhyme is sometimes called double rhyme.

Fixed form
a poem that may be categorized by the pattern of its lines, meter, rhythm, or stanzas.

Foot
a group of 2 or 3 syllables forming the basic unit of poetic rhythm

Free verse
unrhymed verse without a consistent metrical pattern

Heroic couplet
Two consecutive lines of rhyming poetry that are written in iambic pentameter and that contain a complete thought.

Hexameter
a verse line having six metrical feet

Hyperbole
a figure of speech that uses exaggeration to express strong emotion, make a point, or evoke humor

Iamb
a metrical unit with unstressed-stressed syllables

Imagery
Description that appeals to the senses (sight, sound, smell, touch, taste)

Interior monologue
a literary genre that presents a fictional character’s sequence of thoughts in the form of a monologue

Internal rhyme
a rhyme between words in the same line

Inversion
the reversal of the normal order of words

Irony (situational, verbal, dramatic)
the use of words to convey the opposite of their literal meaning; or, incongruity between what is expected and what actually happens

Italian (Petrarchan) sonnet
a poem that falls into two parts: an octave of eight lines and a sestet of six; the octave rhyme pattern is “abba abba” (two sets of four lines); the sestet’s lines are more variable: “cde cde”; or “ced ced”; or “cd cd cd”.

Limeric
A five-line light poem, usually in anapestic rhythm. The first, second, and fifth lines are rhymed trimeter; lines three and four are rhymed dimeter. The rhymes are frequently eccentric, and the subject matter is often nonsensical or obscene.

Litotes
understatement for rhetorical effect (especially when expressing an affirmative by negating its contrary)

Lyric poetry
Personal, reflective poetry that reveals the speaker’s thoughts and feelings about the subject

Masculine rhyme
Rhyme that falls on the stressed and concluding syllables of the rhyme-words. Examples include “keep” and “sleep,” “glow” and “no,” and “spell” and “impel.”

Meiosis
understatement for rhetorical effect (especially when expressing an affirmative by negating its contrary)

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

Meter
rhythm as given by division into parts of equal time

Metonymy
substituting the name of an attribute or feature for the name of the thing itself (as in ‘they counted heads’)

Metrical variation
variation in a poem’s meter

Narrative poetry
A poem that tells a story

Near rhyme
A rhyme based on an imperfect or incomplete correspondence of end syllable sounds.

Octave
a rhythmic group of eight lines of verse

Ode
a lyric poem usually marked by serious, respectful, and exalted feelings toward the subject

Onomatopoeia
using words that imitate the sound they denote

Oxymoron
conjoining contradictory terms (as in ‘deafening silence’)

Paradox
a statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth.

Pastoral
a literary work idealizing the rural life (especially the life of shepherds)

Pentameter
a verse line having five metrical feet

Personification
A figure of speech in which an object or animal is given human feelings, thoughts, or attitudes

Polysyndeton
using several conjunctions in close succession, especially where some might be omitted (as in ‘he ran and jumped and laughed for joy’)

Pyrrhic (poetry meter)
a metrical unit with unstressed-unstressed syllables

Quatrain
A stanza or group of four lines of poetry

Refrain
The repetition of one or more phrases or lines at definite intervals in a poem, usually at the end of a stanza

Repitition
repeating a word, phrase, or idea for emphasis or rhythmic effect

Rhetorical poetry
poetry using artificially eloquent language, that is, language too high-flown for its occasion and unfaithful to the full complexity of human experience

Rhythm
the arrangement of spoken words alternating stressed and unstressed elements

Sarcasm
witty language used to convey insults or scorn

Satire
form of literature in which irony, sarcasm, and ridicule are employed to attack human vice and folly

Scansion
analysis of verse into metrical patterns

Sestet
a rhythmic group of six lines of verse

Sibilance
hissing sounds represented by s, z, sh

Simile
a figure of speech that expresses a resemblance between things of different kinds (usually formed with ‘like’ or ‘as’)

Sonnet
a short poem with fourteen lines, usually ten-syllable rhyming lines, divided into two, three, or four sections

Spenserian sonnet
a sonnet consisting of three quatrains and a concluding couplet in iambic pentameter with the rhyme pattern abab bcbd cdcd ee

Spondee
a metrical unit with stressed-stressed syllables

Substitution
in metrical verse, the replacement of the expected metrical foot by a different one

Sustained figure
also known as extended figure; a figure of speech sustained or developed through a considerable number of lines or through a whole poem

Symbol
anything that stands for or represents something else

Synecdoche
Part as representative of the whole. “All hands on deck”

Synesthesia
describing one kind of sensation in terms of another (“a loud color”, “a sweet sound”)

Syntax
the grammatical arrangement of words in sentences

Tercet
a stanza of three lines in which each line ends with the same rhyme.

Terza rima
an Italian form of iambic verse consisting of eleven-syllable lines arranged in tercets, the middle line of each tercet rhyming with the first and last lines of the following tercet (aba, bcb, cdc, etc.)

Tetrameter
a metrical line containing four feet

Trimeter
a line of verse with three metrical feet

Triple meter
a meter in which a majority of the feet contain three syllables

Trochee
a metrical unit with stressed-stressed-unstressed syllables

Truncation
omission of an unaccented syllable at either end of a line

Understatement
a statement that is restrained in ironic contrast to what might have been said

Villanelle
a short poem of fixed form, written in tercets, usually five in number, followed by a final quatrain, all being based on two rhymes.

Volta
the shift or point of dramatic change in a poem

Ambivalent
characterized by a mixture of opposite feelings or attitudes

Amorphous
(adj.

) shapeless, without definite form; of no particular type or character; without organization, unity, or cohesion

Catalexis
the absence of a syllable in the last foot of a verse

Dissonance
Harsh, inharmonious, or discordant sounds

Nascent
coming into existence; emerging

Prevailing meter
The predominant or main meter of a poem

Sestina
A type of fixed form poetry consisting of thirty-six lines of any length divided into six sestets and a three-line concluding stanza called an envoy. The six words at the end of the first sestet’s lines must also appear at the ends of the other five sestets, in varying order. These six words must also appear in the envoy, where they often resonate important themes.

Slant rhyme
rhyme in which the vowel sounds are nearly, but not exactly the same (i.e.

the words “stress” and “kiss”); sometimes called half-rhyme, near rhyme, or partial rhyme

Sound devices
elements such as rhyme, rhythm, alliteration, and onomatopoeia – gives poetry a musical quality

Sustenance
something that provides nourishment; food needed to live

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