figure of speech
figure of speech, intentional departure from straight-forward, literal use of language for the purpose of clarity, emphasis, or freshness of expression. See separate articles on antithesis; apostrophe; conceit; hyperbole; irony; litotes; metaphor; metonymy; paradox; personification; simile; and synecdoche.
FIGURE OF SPEECH
FIGURE OF SPEECH, also figure.
, a device that achieves a special effect by using words in distinctive ways, such as ALLITERATION
, in which the same sound, especially an initial consonant, is repeated, as with /f/ in life's fitful fever
, and HYPERBOLE
, in which one engages, usually deliberately, in unrealistic exaggeration, as in the informal phrase tons of money
(‘a great deal of money’). Here, a word usually associated with weights and measures
has been moved out of context to refer to money, with which it is not normally associated. See FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE