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, clarity may also suffer from their use. Note that all theories of meaning necessarily have a concept of "literal language" (see literal and figurative language). Under theories that do not, "figure of speech" is not an entirely coherent concept.

Examples

As an example of the figurative use of a word, consider the sentence, "I am going to crown you." It may mean:

*I am going to place a literal crown on your head.
*I am going to symbolically exalt you to the place of kingship.
*I am going to put a second checker piece on top of your checker piece to signify that it has become a king (as in the game of checkers).
*I am going to punch you in the head with my clenched fist'

Other examples of figurative language:
*"I just died a little inside.
*"It's raining cats and dogs" when you want to say that it's a hard rain.
*"I'm going to give you a piece of my mind" means to tell the person what you really think.
*"Break a leg" which is a saying from the theater meaning "Good luck".
*"Butterflies in your stomach" means to say that you're nervous about something Scholars of classical Western rhetoric have divided figures of speech into two main categories: schemes and tropes. Schemes (from the Greek "schēma", form or shape) are figures of speech in which there is a deviation from the ordinary or expected pattern of words. For example, the phrase, "John, my best friend" uses the scheme known as apposition. Tropes (from the Greek "tropein", to turn) involve changing or modifying the general meaning of a term. An example of a trope is the use of irony, which is the use of words in a way that conveys a meaning opposite to its usual meaning ("For Brutus is an honorable man; / So are they all, all honorable men").

During the Renaissance, a time when scholars in every discipline had a passion for classifying all things, writers expended a great deal of energy in devising all manner of classes and sub-classes of figures of speech. Henry Peacham, for example, in his "The Garden of Eloquence" (1577) enumerated 184 different figures of speech.

For the sake of simplicity, this article divides the figures between schemes and tropes, but does not attempt further sub-classification (e.g., "Figures of Disorder"). Within each category, words are listed alphabetically. Each figure links to a page that provides greater detail and relevant examples, but a short definition is placed here for convenience. Some of those listed may be considered rhetorical devices, which are similar in many ways.

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, clarity may also suffer from their use. Note that all theories of meaning necessarily have a concept of "literal language" (see literal and figurative language). Under theories that do not, figure of speech is not an entirely coherent concept.

As an example of the figurative use of a word, consider the sentence, I am going to crown you. It may mean:

* I am going to place a literal crown on your head. * I am going to symbolically exalt you to the place of kingship. * I am going to put a second checker piece on top of your checker piece to signify that it has become a king (as in the game of checkers). * I am going to punch you in the head with my clenched fist'

Other examples of figurative language:

* I just died a little inside. * It's raining cats and dogs when you want to say that it's a hard rain. * I'm going to give you a piece of my mind means to tell the person what you really think. * Break a leg which is a saying from the theater meaning "Good luck". * Butterflies in your stomach means to say that you're nervous about something

Scholars of classical Western rhetoric have divided figures of speech into two main categories: schemes and tropes. Schemes (from the Greek schēma, form or shape) are figures of speech in which there is a deviation from the ordinary or expected pattern of words. For example, the phrase, "John, my best friend" uses the scheme known as apposition. Tropes (from the Greek tropein, to turn) involve changing or modifying the general meaning of a term. An example of a trope is the use of irony, which is the use of words in a way that conveys a meaning opposite to its usual meaning ("For Brutus is an honorable man; / So are they all, all honorable men").

During the Renaissance, a time when scholars in every discipline had a passion for classifying all things, writers expended a great deal of energy in devising all manner of classes and sub-classes of figures of speech. Henry Peacham, for example, in his The Garden of Eloquence (1577) enumerated 184 different figures of speech.

For the sake of simplicity, this article divides the figures between schemes and tropes, but does not attempt further sub-classification (e.g., "Figures of Disorder"). Within each category, words are listed alphabetically. Each figure links to a page that provides greater detail and relevant examples, but a short definition is placed here for convenience. Some of those listed may be considered rhetorical devices, which are similar in many ways.

Tropes

*allegory: An extended metaphor in which a story is told to illustrate an important attribute of the subject
*alliteration: The repetition of the first consonant sound in a phrase.
*allusion: An indirect reference to another work of literature or art
*anacoenosis: Posing a question to an audience, often with the implication that it shares a common interest with the speaker
*antanaclasis: A form of pun in which a word is repeated in two different senses
*anthimeria: The substitution of one part of speech for another, often turning a noun into a verb
*anthropomorphism: Ascribing human characteristics to something that is not human, such as an animal or a god (see zoomorphism)
*antimetabole: A repetition of words in successive clauses, but in transposed grammatical order
*antiphrasis: A word or words used contradictory to their usual meaning, often with irony
*antonomasia: The substitution of a phrase for a proper name or vice versa
*aphorism: A tersely phrased statement of a truth or opinion, an adage
*apophasis: Invoking an idea by denying its invocation
*aporia: Deliberating with oneself, often with the use of rhetorical questions
*apostrophe: Addressing a thing, an abstraction or a person not present
*archaism: Use of an obsolete, archaic, word(a word used in olden language, e.g. Shakespeare's language)
*auxesis: A form of hyperbole, in which a more important sounding word is used in place of a more descriptive term
*catachresis: A mixed metaphor (sometimes used by design and sometimes a rhetorical fault)
*chiasmus: The word order in one clause is inverted in the other (inverted parallelism).
*circumlocution: "Talking around" a topic by substituting or adding words, as in euphemism or periphrasis
*commiseration: Evoking pity in the audience
*correctio: Linguistic device used for correcting one's mistakes, a form of which is epanorthosis
*denominatio: Another word for metonymy
*double negative: grammar construction that can be used as an expression and it is the repetition of negative words
*dysphemism: Substitution of a harsher, more offensive, or more disagreeable term for another. Opposite of euphemism
*epanorthosis: Immediate and emphatic self-correction, often following a slip of the tongue
*enumeratio: A form of amplification in which a subject is divided, detailing parts, causes, effects, or consequences to make a point more forcibly
*epanados: Repetition in a sentence with a reversal of words. Example: The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath
*erotema: Synonym for rhetorical question
*euphemism: Substitution of a less offensive or more agreeable term for another
*hermeneia: Repetition for the purpose of interpreting what has already been said
*hyperbole: Use of exaggerated terms for emphasis
*hypophora: Answering one's own rhetorical question at length
*hysteron proteron: Reversal of anticipated order of events
*innuendo: Having a hidden meaning in a sentence that makes sense whether it is detected or not
*invocation: An apostrophe to a god or muse
*irony: Use of word in a way that conveys a meaning opposite to its usual meaning
*kataphora: the repetition of a cohesive device at the end
*litotes: Emphasizing the magnitude of a statement by denying its opposite
*malapropism: Using a word through confusion with a word that sounds similar
*meiosis: Use of understatement, usually to diminish the importance of something
*metalepsis: Referring to something through reference to another thing to which it is remotely related
*metaphor: A comparison between two things
*metonymy: Substitution of a word to suggest what is really meant
*neologism: The use of a word or term that has recently been created, or has been in use for a short time. Opposite of archaism
*onomatopoeia: Words that sound like their meaning
*oxymoron: Using two terms together, that normally contradict each other
*parable: An extended metaphor told as an anecdote to illustrate or teach a moral lesson
*paradox: Use of apparently contradictory ideas to point out some underlying truth
*paradiastole: Extenuating a vice in order to flatter or soothe
*paraprosdokian: A phrase in which the latter part causes a rethinking or reframing of the beginning
*parallel irony: An ironic juxtaposition of sentences or situations (informal)
*paralipsis: Drawing attention to something while pretending to pass it over
*paronomasia: A form of pun, in which words similar in sound but with different meanings are used
*pathetic fallacy: Using a word that refers to a human action on something non-human
*periphrasis: Using several words instead of few
*personification/prosopopoeia/anthropomorphism: Attributing or applying human qualities to inanimate objects, animals, or natural phenomena
*praeteritio: Another word for paralipsis
*procatalepsis: Refuting anticipated objections as part of the main argument
*prolepsis: Another word for procatalepsis
*proslepsis: An extreme form of paralipsis in which the speaker provides great detail while feigning to pass over a topic
*proverb:A succinct or pithy expression of what is commonly observed and believed to be true
*repetition: The repeated usage of word(s)/group of words in the same sentence to create a poetic/rhythmic effect
*rhetorical question: Asking a question as a way of asserting something. Or asking a question not for the sake of getting an answer but for asserting something (or as in a poem for creating a poetic effect)
*satire: The use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc. A literary composition, in verse or prose, in which human folly and vice are held up to scorn, derision, or ridicule. A literary genre comprising such compositions.
*simile: A comparison between two things using like or as
*superlative: Saying something the best of something i.e. the ugliest, the most precious etc
*syllepsis: A form of pun, in which a single word is used to modify two other words, with which it normally would have differing meanings
*syncatabasis ("condescension, accommodation"): adaptation of style to the level of the audience
*synecdoche: A form of metonymy, in which a part stands for the whole
*synesthesia: The description of one kind of sense impression by using words that normally describe another.
*tautology: Needless repetition of the same sense in different words Example: The children gathered in a round circle
*transferred epithet: The placing of an adjective with what appears to be the incorrect noun
*truism: a self-evident statement
*tricolon diminuens: A combination of three elements, each decreasing in size
*tricolon crescens: A combination of three elements, each increasing in size
*zeugma: a figure of speech related to syllepsis, but different in that the word used as a modifier is not compatible with one of the two words it modifies
*zoomorphism: applying animal characteristics to humans or gods Expand list|date=August 2008

References

*Aristotle, "The Art of Rhetoric", (Translated by J. H. Freese), Loeb Classical Library.
*Baldwin, Charles Sears, "Ancient Rhetoric and Poetic: Interpreted from Representative Works", Peter Smith, Gloucester, 1959 (reprint).
*"Rhetorica ad Herennium", (Translated by Henry Caplan) Loeb Classical Library, Harvard University Press, 1954.
*Corbett, Edward P.J., "Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student" Oxford University Press, New York, 1971.
*Kennedy, George, "Art of Persuasion in Greece". Princeton Univ Press, 1969 (4th printing).
*Lanham, Richard A., "A Handlist of Rhetorical Terms", Berkeley, University of California Press, 1991.
*Mackin, John H. "Classical Rhetoric for Modern Discourse", Free Press, New York, 1969.
*Quintilian. "Institutio oratoria", (In five volumes, trans. Donald A. Russell) Loeb Classical Library, 2002.
*Penalosa, jasper L. , "student of NOCNHS,ormoc city,philippines!

External links

* [http://www.mdvaden.com/figures_of_speech.shtml Figures of Speech & Scripture] 200 Figures of Speech classified by Addition, Omission and Change
* [http://www.uky.edu/ArtsSciences/Classics/rhetoric.html A Glossary of Rhetorical Terms with Examples] from the University of Kentucky
* [http://rhetoric.byu.edu/ A Guide to Rhetorical Ideas] from Silva Rhetoricae
* [http://niquette.com/puzzles/figurep.htm Figures of Speech] from Paul Niquette
* [http://humanities.byu.edu/rhetoric/Figures/Figures-Overview.htm Figures of Speech] from Silva Rhetoricae
* [http://www.figarospeech.com It Figures - Figures of Speech] from Jay Heinrichs
* [http://www.ego4u.com/en/cram-up/writing/style Stylistic Devices on English Grammar Online] from Lingo4you GbR
* [http://www.galilean-library.org/manuscript.php?postid=43799 Introducing Philosophy 21: Rhetoric] from Paul Newall (2005)


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  • 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 — 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 — 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 — ► 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 — 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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