Poetry/Figurative Language-Definitions

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Last updated: December 9, 2019

Simile
A comparison between two unlike objects using the words “like” or “as.”Ex. “Good coffee is like friendship: rich and warm and strong.”

Metaphor
An implied comparison between two unlike objects (does not use “like” or “as”).

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Ex. The assignment was a breeze.

Hyperbole
An intentional exaggeration for emphasis or comic effect.Ex.

It was so cold that I saw polar bears wearing jackets!”

Personification
Assigning human characteristics to an inanimate object, an idea, or an animal. Ex..The run-down house appeared depressed.

Alliteration
The repetition of the BEGINNING consonant sounds in a group of words. *Note: refers to the SOUND, not the actual letter. Ex.

Alice’s aunt ate apples and acorns around August.

Assonance
Repetition of VOWEL sounds that are at the BEGINNING, MIDDLE, or END of a word. Ex.”Try to light the fire.”

Consonance
Repetition of CONSONANT sounds anywhere within a word.Ex. lady lounges lazily

Imagery
Words or phrases that appeal to the five senses and conjure up mental images. Ex.

Her blue eyes were as bright as the sun, blue as the sky, and as soft as silk.

Oxymoron
A word or phrase in which two seemingly contradictory elements are used together. Ex. jumbo shrimp; extremely average ; same difference ; bad health; wise fool..

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Onomatopoeia
A word or phrase in whose sound suggests its meaning. Ex. The alarm clocked BUZZED loudly in the dark and silent room.

DRIP went the faucet.

Couplet
A stanza consisting of two successive lines in a poem. **Couplets in sonnets give a twist to the tone of the poem or to what comes before the couplet.

Rhythm
The recurrence of STRESSED and UNSTRESSED sounds.

Stanza
Two or more consecutive lines that form a single UNIT in a poem.

Free verse
Poetry that lacks established PATTERNS of meter, rhyme, and stanza.

Sonnet
A 14-lined, rhymed poem that sounds like a song when read aloud.

Narrative Poem
A poem in which the writer tells a story in verse. Narratives take many forms: Epics and Ballads.

Epic
A long narrative poem about gods or heroes.

Ballad
A songlike narrative about an adventure or a romance

Dramatic Poem
A poem where the writer tells a story using a character’s own thoughts or statements

Lyric Poem
A brief poem in which the author expresses the feelings of a single speaker, creating a single effect on the reader. Lyrics are notable for their musical qualities, achieved through rhyme and rhythm.

Poetry
A literary form that combines the precise meanings of words with their emotional associations, sounds, and rhythms.

Quatrain
A stanza with four lines

Rhyme
The repetition of identical or similar sounds in stressed syllables. A pattern of end rhymes is called a rhyme scheme.

Free verse has no set meter or rhyme scheme.

Rhyme Scheme
A pattern of end rhymes

Haiku
A poem containing 3 unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables. This Japanese poem uses imagery to convey single vivid emotion.

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