Questions tagged [figures-of-speech]

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

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Figure of speech name for interrupted word [duplicate]

Is there a name for the figure of speech where the speaker says part of a word then changes to a synonym to emphasize a point? For example, "I have really been strug- working hard on this for a ...
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What figure of speech or literary device is the following? [closed]

What figure of speech or literary device is it when multiple interpretations are possible of a particular verse or words?
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Use of "Say ..." to begin sentences, particularly in BrE versus AmE?

We were looking at this sentence, or actually a line of dialogue: They're in the car. JACK Say John! I better concentrate. Would you be able to figure out the AC? Our colleague Jane who is generally ...
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Does "literally" conflict with a figurative reference? [closed]

He literally wrote the book on OWI defense and then proceeds to throw it at prosecutors by deftly picking apart their cases, point by point. Does "literally" conflict with the figurative ...
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What's a better way to say please forgive my lack of knowledge in your profession?

I don't know anything about the law and I'm trying to write to a court appointed attorney to explain the tardiness of my letter.
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Meaning of "I shut my eyes to hold my breath"

From the folk song Oh! Susanna by Stephen Foster (presumably written in slave dialect): De bullgine bust, de hoss ran off, I really thought I’d die; I shut my eyes to hold my bref—Susanna, dont you ...
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"...The merry children spilling out of their homes..." What is the figure of speech here?

What is the poetic device in the line 'the merry children spilling out of their homes'? This is taken from the poem "My Mother at Sixty-six" written by Kamala Das, an Indian poet (poem is ...
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What is the meaning of "ripening in the shade" as a metaphor?

In David Copperfield, Dickens wrote, "Sometimes a life glides away, and finds it still ripening in the shade." I understand some idea of a ripening life but not "in the shade".
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Is there a word for when you use an abstract noun in a concrete sense? [closed]

In The Crucible, Reverend Hale says that his books are "weighted with authority". Here authority is used as if it's a concrete noun so I was wondering if there is a technical term for when ...
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HYPALLAGE: He nodded his agreeing head

HYPALLAGE: a figure of speech in which the usual relations of words/phrases are interchanged, e.g. "He nodded his agreeing head." Microsoft® Encarta® 2009. © 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation ...
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Let me know your availability [closed]

When someone suggests making a video call someday and you reply it is a good idea (even unsure he/she is just being polite) and he/she says let me know your availability, does he/she want to know the ...
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What is the figure of speech used in these lines? [closed]

Jacob's Ladder Hearken! Trim that swagger a trifle, you wretched lump of earth! Stamp those feet neither, nor act so haughty Hearken! You are but a tiny figure on the grand scroll A statistic, a ...
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Is any inversion of the usual syntactic word order considered anastrophe/hyperbaton?

Is any inversion of the usual syntactic word order considered anastrophe/hyperbaton? Sometimes we come across inversions in ordinary writing that need not be necessarily literary in tone— can we apply ...
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What's another word for "not" honed talent?

I was looking for a metaphorical phrase that sort of fits along the lines of honing a hidden/unapparent talent. I can't quite place my finger on it, but I remember one that goes something like trying ...
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"Handsome is as handsome does," and the puzzling use of "as"

When I saw the film Forrest Gump, I first heard the expression “Stupid is as stupid does,” and inferred that (to Forrest, at least) it meant something like “Don’t judge me stupid because of my words, ...
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A figure of speech as a replacement of 'evidence' or 'proof'

I'm not sure if it's an idiom, but I think it's like a person's name, that implies 'proof of guilt', or 'evidence to prove one is guilty'. I've heard it on many police shows. "We have her ______, ...
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The figure of speech in "with a flash of triumph in her eyes"?

Please, what is the figure of speech of the following expression? with a flash of triumph in her eyes
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Is there a figurative term equivalent to the German idiom "Fingerübung"?

Just recently I was wondering on how to best translate the figurative German word 'Fingerübung' In particular I am referring to the second meaning in the authorative German dictionary duden1, which ...
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“Thou doth protest too much”: changed usage? [closed]

I remember reading somewhere that the original meaning “thou doth protest too much, methinks” is often used nowadays to take “protest” literally, but this changes its original meaning. I can’t seem ...
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What is a synonym for the phrase 'at odds' with someone or something?

I am writing a book and looking for some kind of figurative language to describe two people that are 'at odds' with each other. When I say, 'at odds,' the context of my writing is: two characters that ...
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"A ten minute interview" vs "An interview of ten minutes" [duplicate]

I remember my English professor saying that these two sentences are quite different in meaning, but after four months, I cannot recall the exact difference. Can somebody explain to me what's the ...
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What should I use when I want to say "without further ado"

I have just read another post on here which taught me that the phrase "without further ado" is misused often. Most of the time, I suspect people say it (including me, before now) to mean "without ...
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How to ask a person whether his old question is still needs to be answered by me?

A person msg me a week ago with a question. How should I ask him whether the question is still needs to be answered? Is your question still actual for you? Is this question still valid? Is your ...
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Is there a reduction when you say "is there "or "is this"?

I feel like native english speakers drop the voiced th sound in fast speech when they say "is there.... ?" and "is this...?". Can you tell me if I'm right or wrong . Thanks for your attention. I’m ...
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Is "it was the birth of a revolution" a metaphor?

Here is the full sentence for the first one: Using the money they had received from the PayPal buyout, Chen and Hurley decided to create YouTube, to make uploading and sharing videos online as easy as ...
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What figure of speech is this: "the arguing sixth floor window"

Sydney Barringer jumps from the ninth floor rooftop. His parents argue three stories below. Fay's accidental shotgun blast hits Sydney in the stomach as he passes the arguing sixth floor window. ...
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Figure of speech to help explaining a math term

I am teaching math in a community college and have to explain the idea of Vector Space that is an abstract concept but ubiquitous in high level math. I would like to explain it using a certain figure ...
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The expression, 'In turn.'

My question is about the expression 'in turn'. As in, "Some teenagers talked, laughed and whispered in turn." Does this imply that the teenagers talked, laughed and whispered together and then began ...
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Similar saying to 'lost his/her train of thought' [duplicate]

Imagine someone reeling of a sentence, becoming distracted, and not being able to remember where they were in the previous sentence for a few seconds. I already know, 'lost their train of thought' but ...
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What is the origin of the idiom "to be sure"?

I want to know the origin of the idiomatic phrase "to be sure". None of the definitions I found on online dictionaries mentioned an origin, and I also didn't find it asked anywhere on the net (though ...
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how to describe the location of line

is it possible that I can describe the location of a single line in the figure as following, e.g. a line is located in +45 degrees.
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What phrase or expression is used to describe someone who speaks eloquently? [duplicate]

I have heard the phrase a few years ago and now I can't remember it. It's a figurative phrase or expression used when someone has the skill of speaking fluently with a great lexicon, someone eloquent. ...
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The figurative use of the word "barrage"

The word "barrage" means a concentrated artillery bombardment. But it is also used figuratively for when someone is being hit with a lot of questions or criticism. The word shares this with the word "...
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Is this an analogy or metaphor or what? [duplicate]

From mathematics: "Tensors eat vectors and spit out numbers." Is this an analogy, metaphor or other named figure of speech?
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What's the term for when two related words are used in a different sense, often one literally and one metaphorically?

Apologies for the title, I found it difficult to describe. If I say he took his hat and his leave I believe that is called syllepsis or zeugma. Another example would be he bolted his food, the door, ...
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the queen fed her enemies to her dragons

In matters of government, we often say that a ruler did something when he/she actually ordered a bunch of other people to do something. For example, we might say, "The queen fed her enemies to her ...
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1 answer
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What figure of speech is this? "Homes to the homeless, jobs to the jobless"

What figure of speech is this? Homes to the homeless, jobs to the jobless
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Is the phrase "bled our country dry" a metaphor? Or some other figure of speech?

Is the phrase "bled our country dry" a metaphor? Or some other figure of speech? Context: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZ_eV2TRlOg&t=175s
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1 vote
1 answer
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How is called when someone carries his birth city as surname?

Sometimes history figures are called by its birth city as surname. Example: Milon of Croton, Thales of Miletus. How is this called in English? Is this an Epithet?
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what's the expression for people who give moralistic lectures, but often are guilty of the same "sin"? [closed]

People who give bible-thumping/koran-thumping moralizing lectures about various "sins", but often indulge in the very same sins they lecture against. For example, many anti-gay preachers often turn ...
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Can you invert a whole phrase in an anastrophe?

This comes from The Confidence Man from Herman Melville: "To where it belongs with your charity! to heaven with it!" again snapped out the other, diabolically; "here on earth, true charity dotes, ...
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What is it called when you combine two distinct phrases with a common middle phrase or word?

Is there a term for when you combine two distinct phrases together with a middle term? For example: Big Band Aid (Big Band/Band Aid. Alternately, a benefit concert for swing musicians) Insane ...
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11 votes
14 answers
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Alternative to "queer the deal"?

The phrase queer at­ti­tude used to be com­mon­place, sim­ply mean­ing a strange at­ti­tude or un­help­ful be­hav­ior. Un­for­tu­nately in the present era, I once used that phrase and sadly of­fended ...
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What is it called when someone presents two choices which are the same to emphasize the importance of the option?

I'm very curious to know if there is a name, a word, or a literary scheme/figure of speech/literary device for when in a conversation, you present two choices which are the same, in which the speaker ...
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What is the literary device to describe isocolons with direct opposites?

In the poem 'We Shall Come No More' in Tawny Island by Verra Brittain, there is a strong parallelism between the 1st and 2nd stanza, even going as far as the same letter count. However the words are ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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A single word describing a piece of literature that contains many figures of speech

I'm looking for a positive word. A word that describes a writer and/or a piece of their work... which has the quality of being densely packed with impressive uses of literary devices. Example ...
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What terms I can use to say the something is very easy to do, to learn, etc?

What terms I can use to say the something is very easy to do, to learn, etc? I have thought about easy-peasy, like "this is easy-peasy to do", or "a piece of cake". So, in general, Assembling ...
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How to describe a person who has many faces inside him [closed]

I need a phrase to describe a person who has many faces such as good, bad, pure soul, kind but also evil. A person who can't be judged or categorised.
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2 answers
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In the OED, are definitions that don't explictly indicate it is figurative use always with literal examples only, or can they be figurative?

In the OED, are definitions that don't explicitly indicate it is figurative use always with literal examples only, or can they be figurative? My recent answer has caused quite some confusion among ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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What are these statements called where 2 words are interchanged to give a different meaning?

What are statements where same two words that appear initially are interchanged later to give a completely different meaning called? Eg: Eat to live, don't live to eat. Eg2 : don't love the ones who ...
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