Poetry Definitions

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Last updated: November 26, 2019

alliteration
the repetition of the beginning sound or letter in two or more words in a line of verse such as “dappled doggies dash,” “bouncy bunnies,” “careening cars crashing,”, etc.

assonance
the repetition of a vowel sound, in two or more words such as “till the shining scythes went far and wide.

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” — (shining and schythes have long i sound)

consonance
the repetition of consonant sounds anywhere in a word (not just at the beginning as in alliteration) in a line of verse (i.e. As Tommy Snooks/ and Bessy Brooks/ Were walking/ out one Sunday.” (B…B, W.

..W)

couplet
two lines of poetry that rhyme and usually contain one complete idea

end rhyme
(also called external rhyme) when there is a rhyming of words at the ends of two or more lines of a poem (i.

e. Hympty Dumpty sat on a wall/Humpty Dumpty had a great fall). Wall and Fall rhyme and one idea is expressed.

foot
a unit of meter, iambic, anapestic, troachaic, dactylic, or spondaic (see meter). A group of two or three syllables is called this.

internal rhyme
rhyming of words within a line of poetry (i.e.

Jack Sprat could eat no fat) – Jack, Sprat, fat.

metaphor
compares two different things as if they are the same, without using comparison words such as “like” or “as”. (i.e. The moon is a white Frisbee floating over the mountain.)

meter
a pattern of stress and unstressed (or accented and unaccented) syllables in a line of poetry. For instance, in the word “window” the first syllable is stressed the second syllable is unstressed. In the word “casino”, on the second syllable is stressed.

iambic meter
anew, goodbye, surprise, go home

trochaic meter
doorknob, teaspoon, hangnail, jumpstart

dactylic meter
angel food, talk to me, rabbits’ foot, Saturday

anapestic meter
cigarette, resurrect, disinfect, creamy soup, big blue book

amphibrachic meter
tremendous, courageous, humongous, terrific, the palace, the right way

spondaic meter
heartburn, big top, red house, cold fish, run down

pyrrhic meter
in a, so he, with it, with the, and the

onomatopoeia
a word that mimics the sound it represents; words such as buzz, swish, zip, growl, hiss, gulp zigzag, slither

quatrain
a four-line stanza of four rhymed lines, rhyme scheme of various forms such as a-a-a-a, a-b-a-b, a-b-b-a, a-a-b-b-, a-b-c-d

repetition
repeating a word, phrase, or sounds to add emphasis or rhythm. (i.e. While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, as of someone gently rapping rapping, at my chamber door.”)

rhyme
two or more words with the same or similar sounds

rhyme scheme
a pattern of rhyme in a poem. For instance, if it is a quatrain and the first and the third lines rhyme, it has the pattern of a-b-a-b.

If all four lines rhyme with each other, it has a rhyme scheme of a-a-a-a. If the second and fourth lines rhyme, the pattern is a-b-c-b.

simile
comparison of two different things using comparing words such as “like” or “as” (i.e. I’m as hungry as a bear.

stanza
a divison or section of a poem named for the quantity of lines it contains; for instance, the couplet is a two line stanza, the triplet is a three line stanza, the quatrain is a four line stanza, the sestets, septets, and octaves are 6, 7, an d8 line stanzas.

verse
a line of traditional poetry written in meter. In addition, verse has a name depending upon the number of feet per line.

one foot (monometer), two feet (dimeter), three feet (trimeter), four feet (tetrameter), five feet (pentameter), six feet (hexameter), seven feet (heptameter), eight feet (octometer).

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