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Encyclopedia > Figures of speech

A figure of speech, sometimes termed a rhetorical figure or device, or elocution, 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 not 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 knock you in the head.

Figures of speech have been classified into a number of different categories. Most figures originated out of centuries of philological commentary on ancient texts, and so most are named from Greek or Latin, as they originally were meant to classify grammatical peculiarities of those languages.

Latin figures:

Greek figures:

Germanic figures:

See also

Category:Figures of speech

External links

  • A Glossary of Rhetorical Terms with Examples (http://www.uky.edu/ArtsSciences/Classics/rhetoric.html)
  • Silva Rhetoricae, a guide to rhetorical ideas (http://rhetoric.byu.edu/)
  • Stylistic Devices on English Grammar Online (http://www.ego4u.com/en/cram-up/writing/style)
  • Figures of speech systematically classified (http://www.godstruthfortoday.org/Library/bullinger/FiguresOfSpeech.html) adapted from E. W. Bullinger's Figures of Speech Used in the Bible

  Results from FactBites:
Figure of Speech: professional wedding speeches for the Groom, Father, Best Man and Bride  (166 words)
Here at Figure of Speech, we specialise in the writing of personal, humorous wedding speeches - for the Father of the Bride, the Groom, the Best Man.
Our speeches therefore reflect your platitudes, your stories and your personal touch.
Figure of Speech is one of the most established writers of wedding speeches, having been on the web since June 2000.
figure of speech — FactMonster.com (140 words)
figure of speech, intentional departure from straight-forward, literal use of language for the purpose of clarity, emphasis, or freshness of expression.
apostrophe, figure of speech - apostrophe apostrophe, figure of speech in which an absent person, a personified inanimate being,...
litotes - litotes litotes, figure of speech in which a statement is made by indicating the negative of its...
  More results at FactBites »



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