figurative language
language that uses figures of speech—not to be taken literally

metaphor
comparison of two unlike things, suggesting one is another (“The world is your oyster.” That was Shakespeare’s way of saying that all the riches of the world are yours for the taking, like plucking a pearl from an oyster shell.)

simile
comparison using like, as, or than (“Thy soul was like a star, and dwelt apart;/Thou hadst a voice whose sound was like the sea” -William Wordsworth // She screamed louder than a siren on a police car.)

symbol
something that stands for something beyond itself (the object is concrete but the meaning is abstract) (Heart = Love)

imagery
descriptive language used to recreate sensory experiences—words which “paint a picture”

personification
human qualities given to things that are not human (The sun greeted me this morning. “And like the flowers beside them chill and shiver, Will like the flowers beside them soon be gone” – Robert Frost)

hyperbole
a deliberate and extreme exaggeration for effect (It is one million degrees in here today. That sandwich was a mile high.)

alliteration
repetition of initial sounds in a line of poetry (“For the sky and the sea, and the sea and the sky” – from “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

assonance
repetition of vowel sounds in a line of poetry (“Since my old friend is grown so great…”)

consonance
repetition of consonant sounds throughout a line of poetry. Note: Unlike alliteration, in consonance the repeating letters occur in the middle and at the end of the words. (Mammals named Sam are clammy.)

onomatopoeia
words which imitate sounds (buzz, splat, hiss, crunch, boom)

rhythm
the pattern of beats or stresses in spoken or written language

rhyme
the repetition of sounds at the ends of words (may be end rhyme or internal rhyme; may be exact or slant) Note: “feminine rhyme” occurs in a final unstressed syllable (pleasure/leisure)

meter
the rhythmical pattern of a poem

refrain
regularly repeated line or group of lines in a poem or song

stanza
a group of lines in a poem, considered a unit

tone
the poet’s attitude toward a subject—conveyed through rhythms, sounds, diction (i.e., scared, anxious, sarcastic, excited, worried, smart, etc.)

irony
the opposite of what is meant (“Ironic” by Alanis Morrissette)

litotes
ironical understatement in which affirmative is expressed by the negation of the opposite (“They aren’t the happiest couple around.” “He was not unfamiliar with the works of Dickens.” “He is not unlike his dad.” “It’s not bad at all.”)

metonymy
the use of the name of one object or concept for that of another to which it is related, or of which it is a part (‘We have always remained loyal to the crown.” crown = the king or the ruler of their country. // “The pen is mightier than the sword.” pen = the written word sword = military force)

synecdoche
a part is used to represent the whole (i.e., ABCs for alphabet) or the whole for a part (i.e., “England won the World Cup in 1966.” England = English team).

Iamb
Unstressed syllable : Stressed Syllable

Trochee
Stressed syllable : Unstressed Syllable

Spondee
Two stressed syllables

Anapest
Two unstressed syllable : One stressed syllable

Dactyl
Opposite of anapest, one stressed syllable : two unstressed syllables