A figure of speech is figurative language in the form of a single word or phrase.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

2
votes
1answer
52 views

Can “cinema” work as a collective noun?

The local cinema do not even consider screening this movie. In the above sentence, "cinema" is employed to denote one or more of the staff who determine the programme. My question is, does it ...
12
votes
8answers
4k views

99% of people would do x

99% of people, 99% of things, events, dogs, whatever. 99% Recently I used what is to me as a Brit a pretty common figure of speech, saying "99% of people would x", meaning simply that the vast ...
0
votes
1answer
66 views

Is there any authoritative source from where we can find out if a phrase or figure of speech is American English or British English? [closed]

For example the figure of speech " One swallow doesn't make a summer" is British English. Similarly the figure of speech 'All hat and no cattle" is American English. Is there any source from where ...
2
votes
2answers
142 views

What does “wound for sound” mean and where did it come from?

This is a figure of speech that's been in my lexicon virtually forever. I'm not sure where I learned this, but to me it means "keyed up and ready to go". A combination of high energy, tension, and ...
-3
votes
2answers
81 views

An alternative to the phrase “God bless you” [closed]

In the context of wishing someone a Blessing,if I choose not to use the term God , what are the other words that can be used that still conveys the same meaning as the phrase "God bless you"?
0
votes
1answer
58 views

Is the expression “You the Man” gender neutral?

The expression "You The Man" is generally used to compliment a male. Can this expression be used to compliment a female? If not, what is a suitable alternative?
0
votes
2answers
40 views

Figure of speech: Repeated synonyms

I am looking for the name of the figure of speech, where two words with similar meaning are used together to convey an idea more emphatically. For example: 'Cease and Desist', 'Null and void', etc. ...
2
votes
2answers
83 views

Aphorisms that use two words in reverse order [duplicate]

I've found aphorisms often that play on the meaning of two words and their interaction and was wondering what one might call them. An example is the PJ Harvey song name: The whore hustles and ...
3
votes
4answers
249 views

“I'm happy to see that you are sober as a judge” Is this a rhetorical device?

Context: A few decades ago, during the electoral campaign for governor, there was a televised debate between the three major parties candidates. Candidate A, the favorite according to the polls, was ...
1
vote
3answers
196 views

List of new idioms from our era? [closed]

A recent question was about the new idiom in English "it goes to eleven". (It dates from 1984.) I was wondering, Taking "recent" or "in our generation" as since the 1980s... a) What's the single ...
0
votes
1answer
44 views

discerning between “metaphor” and“ symbol”

I am wondering if symbol and metaphor could be considered interchangeable-- And, when they cannot. Or, would you please show me an authoratative source? Any comment or feed back would greatly be ...
-1
votes
3answers
107 views

Richard Feynman is certainly not mischievous!

In the introduction of Richard Feynmans book Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!, a colleague describes Feynman's character. The description makes sense to me - except for one word. The word ...
4
votes
3answers
157 views

What figure of speech takes the form “[concrete noun] of [abstract noun]” (non-anthropomorphic)

What is the precise technical figure of speech for a phrase that pairs a concrete noun (non-anthropomorphic*) to an abstract noun in the form of "[concrete] of [abstract]"? The particular example I ...
8
votes
2answers
335 views

From Avocadoes to Asparagus, from kangaroos to koalas

What is the name of this literary saying? People use this figure of speech in order to express a wide coverage or variety of a certain class, such as vegetable species available in a market for ...
2
votes
1answer
76 views

What does “wear shoes” mean in this idiom?

I was reading an article today that used "wear shoes" metaphorically and I have no idea what they're trying to say. The context is an Indian outsourcing company diversifying by using its existing ...
-3
votes
1answer
57 views

Asking about figures of speech [closed]

Is steady my knees an image and why ?and also chewing on his pipe?and shuffling of their feet? the treble of them are extracts from a prose text called "she walked alone" thank you..
3
votes
3answers
65 views

Waterproof shod?

In Norwegian we have a saying, vanntette skodd, that directly translated to English would be waterproof shod. It means that there is a segregation between two subjects such that not even water passes ...
2
votes
2answers
199 views

What figure of speech is this, “assaulted by a haircut”?

"That guy is assaulting us with that haircut". There's some hyperbole in there, but its definitely a substitution of some sort.
0
votes
1answer
81 views

'A word in your shell-like' drops the noun from the original noun phrase. Are there any similar constructs?

I first encountered this from the mouth of 'Rumpole of the Bailey', and I've since seen it in lots of places. But I can't dredge up any similar constructions, where the original adjective remains ...
2
votes
1answer
419 views

What do these two figures of speech mean? Embrace the grind and lower your shoulder

I came across these two figures of speech:(a) Embrace the grind and (b) Lower your shoulder in one of the Instagram posts of Dwayne Johnson(The Rock) Since I am not a native English speaker I just ...
0
votes
2answers
289 views

What is “as smart as paint”

R.L.Stevenson, Treasure Island: chapter VIII. "At the sign of the Spy-Glass" John Silver says that Jim Hawkins is "as smart as paint". What does he mean?
0
votes
1answer
186 views

How to find out an Irony in a sentence [duplicate]

How can I find out what Irony has been used in a sentence?
1
vote
0answers
178 views

what kind of figure speech is in the sentence? [closed]

what kind of figure of speech is in "If you do not get lowered in your own eyes. While you raise yourself in those of others"
4
votes
1answer
628 views

The Yellow Wallpaper - What does *Smooch* mean?

I was reading a brilliant piece of Feminist Literature : The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman which uses the word smooch three times, all in reference to the yellow wallpaper: Then ...
3
votes
2answers
293 views

What's the name of this figure of speech playing with the use-mention distinction?

The following is a figure of speech I've seen a couple of times in my native language of German. Though I have no reason to doubt it exists, I don't remember ever seeing it used in English, so I've ...
1
vote
2answers
145 views

Which figure of speech is this?

Suppose I've written a story that is set in ancient times. And I refer to something quite modern in it. Like I'm writing about the roman empire suppose, and I write 'He looked at the time in his ...
1
vote
3answers
157 views

Other words for or similar to synecdoche

What size shirt are you wearing? I'm wearing a large. In this instance, large is a noun used in place of the understood [large] shirt. I'm trying to figure out if there is a word ...
3
votes
2answers
109 views

What figure(s) of speech or expression are in play here?

I recently heard a somewhat poetic song lyric that I couldn't pin down. The writer says of a failed relationship: We broke a diamond with our bitter words. I get diamond as a metonym for ...
42
votes
10answers
5k views

“Childlessness is hereditary in our family” What do you call a statement containing a contradiction such as the example?

This kind of sentence is usually absurd and may or may not be recognized as such by the person who utters it. She will regret it till the day she dies, if she lives that long! "Aren't you going to ...
2
votes
5answers
524 views

“Freedom is slavery” and “Ignorance is strength” - What kind of rhetorical strategy is this?

What kind of rhetorical strategy (or fallacy?) is it when someone uses words with opposite meanings and combines them in what seems to be a contradiction? In George Orwell’s 1984 we can find: ...
1
vote
2answers
77 views

Democratic People's Republic of Korea

Is there a term for a word like Democratic in Democratic People's Republic of Korea? The key point here is that the word is being used precisely because it's false. It has something in common with a ...
1
vote
1answer
209 views

“The only witness is a prostitute!” What do you call this type of rhetoric in English? [closed]

The defense attorney: “…and finally, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, my client can never be considered legally guilty unless the prosecutor can prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. And, ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

What kind of rhetorical strategy is it when someone points out a potential sticking point in his proposition before anyone can criticize it?

e.g. "I know some of you might consider this question general reference, but think of all those people who will be reading it all over the world and how it will enrich our data bank." "Of course we ...
1
vote
1answer
90 views

What figures of speech are common in “roasts”? [closed]

When a celebrity or personality is "roasted", lots of bad things are said about and to the (un)fortunate guest; at the end usually there is a change in mood and the person is acknowledged by the ...
0
votes
2answers
171 views

What is the term to describe the use of “City Hall” in “you can't fight City Hall”?

I know there's a word to describe the use of the words "City Hall" in the common phrase "you can't fight City Hall", where "City Hall" = "the office of the mayor of the city", but I can't remember ...
1
vote
8answers
2k views

Is there a metaphorical word or phrase for a potential trouble maker?

More specifically, someone who might open "undesirable doors" and fill you with profound regret for letting him/her into your life. The idiom I'm trying to find would be used in the following ...
0
votes
1answer
200 views

What figure of speech is it when we say “This meat is swimming in fat.”?

What figure of speech is it when we say: "The meat is swimming in gravy. I'll have fish instead." "Her eyes were swimming with tears." "They say he's swimming in money."
16
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the origin of “in a jiffy”?

What is the origin of "in a jiffy"? Etymology online Dictionary says origin unknown but speculates that it was slang (cant) for lightning and dates it as 1785. Wikipedia agrees but adds that the ...
4
votes
5answers
343 views

“Not as heavy as an elephant.” Which literary device is this?

I was having a conversation with a friend today. He jokingly asked me to help him pick up a desktop printer later (he's obviously strong enough to carry one on his own - a typical desktop printer is ...
0
votes
4answers
555 views

How does “not least” mean “in particular; notably”?

What's an intuitive derivation behind ODO's definition that helps to internalise its meaning? not least = In particular; notably I couldn't find the etymology for this ??adverbial phrase?? I ...
1
vote
1answer
248 views

What kind of figurative language is this phrase?

What figurative language is this phrase? Is it an idiom or personification? Or something else? I have tried to figure it out but I can't. "to drive the idea out of my mind"
3
votes
2answers
676 views

Are “I scream” and “Ice cream” homophones, or do we have another term here?

When two phrases are pronounced alike but have different spelling and meaning, can they be called homophones? e.g. "ice-cream" and "I scream", "nitrate" and "night rate", "that's tough" and "that ...
0
votes
2answers
48 views

contempt formula when talking about something [closed]

What is the figure of speech that should be used to express contempt of something? I tried this expression and I don't know if it is suitable for that context: Main phrase: You had proposed ...
-1
votes
1answer
256 views

Using the word “So” too much that it is annoying [closed]

So, ...........I'm tired of using the word "so" and I'm tired of hearing everyone using it also! What are alternatives and how long will it be before I can make myself stop using it?
0
votes
2answers
645 views

What does 'fooling around' mean to a 1st Grader?

In English, when I say don't fool around with that, am I saying You are stupid! I mean, my son came back from school today with a note from the teacher: Dear Dad, I was fooling around with a ...
1
vote
2answers
416 views

What is unfreeze your hearts?

Stephen Colbert was taking about the CIA Interrogation Report when he said, "unfreeze your heart!" @6:12 in the video. What does that mean? How can I use that term? Does it mean, 'forget about it"?
4
votes
2answers
468 views

Can a single metaphor be 'mixed'?

M-W has the following definition for mixed metaphor: a figure of speech combining inconsistent or incongruous metaphors Hence a requirement is that a 'mixed metaphor' contains more than one ...
3
votes
10answers
1k views

Is “The Walking Dead” a personification?

Personification (or anthropomorphism) is attributing human features to non-humans. Technically, a dead human is not a human and we give the attribute of walking to the dead. So, Is "the walking dead" ...
0
votes
1answer
3k views

What is the figure of speech called when there is a conjunction of things that are actually in subset relation?

For example "animals and cats", "plants and flowers", "stars and suns" etc. It’s similar to tautology but the things aren’t synonym. Is there a name for this figure?