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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1answer
42 views

“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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4answers
52 views

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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1answer
28 views

“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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1answer
64 views

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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0answers
26 views

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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1answer
66 views

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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2answers
45 views

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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3answers
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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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3answers
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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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1answer
46 views

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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1answer
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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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2answers
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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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1answer
38 views

The greatness of a teacher lies in respecting the child [closed]

The greatness of a teacher lies in respecting the child What does respect imply in the sentence. I know it is a quote from Emerson, a great educationist and inspirer of all times. The ...
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1answer
133 views

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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1answer
57 views

(Found the answer) What's is the phrase/expression used to describe someone who speaks eloquent?

I have heard the phrase before a few years ago and now I can't remember it and it's driving me nuts. It's a figurative phrase or expression used when someone has the skill of speaking fluent with a ...
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1answer
63 views

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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2answers
536 views

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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1answer
100 views

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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3answers
72 views

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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1answer
68 views

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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1answer
73 views

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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1answer
34 views

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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46 views

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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3answers
769 views

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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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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2answers
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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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47 views

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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2answers
180 views

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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6answers
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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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4answers
5k views

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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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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2answers
131 views

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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1answer
1k views

Simile or idiom, “ hung LIKE a _____” [closed]

I do not understand the expression: hung like a horse Is it an idiom or a simile? Please explain why it is one over the other.
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1answer
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Is there a word for this kind of figure of speech [duplicate]

Is there any specific name for this type of question or statement? If I ask someone a yes/no type question "Have you lost your mind?" then either answer(yes or no) is degrading to the person ...
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2answers
626 views

What idioms could describe “repeating a task unnecessarily”?

Is there a idiomatic phrase that would describe unnecessarily repeating work that has already been done/tried? Eg., Bob tries to fix a problem, Joe arrives, and tries to fix the problem the exact ...
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1answer
171 views

The Forbidden Fruit : Figure of speech

Simply put, I'd like to know what figure of speech we can classify the phrase "forbidden fruit" under. I've searched online and couldn't find anything concise.
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2answers
740 views

What is it called when you use the word 'you' like in this sentence to refer to any person and not just you specifically? [duplicate]

While having a conversation, I say: "When you say atheist, most people would imagine an anti-religious person". What I meant by 'you' is actually anybody. When I am using 'you' in such a manner, what ...
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3answers
2k views

What figure of speech is this statement?

The cynical indifference of the sea to the merits of human suffering and courage revolted me. An English professor insisted that the above statement is a metaphor. To me though, it looks like ...
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Is metaphor a type of analogy? [duplicate]

Some people told me that metaphor is a type of analogy. If so, is it too general if I consider a technique as an analogy at school when I have to find techniques and analyse them (provide names of the ...
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Why do people say “truth will out”?

When speaking of (alleged) attempts to lie or cover up the truth, someone might say "truth will out," an expression that seems to make no sense: where is the verb? "Will" can be used as a verb, but ...
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Is there a word or phrase for a person who is easily outraged (or fakes it) for the sake of attention in English?

This person gets agitated and outraged, so as to get attention as a moral torchbearer for an issue. Often they forget the issue and move on to next issue with out making any effort to support or ...
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1answer
79 views

What is the use of classical metaphors in literal situations called?

For instance: Gravity keeps you down-to-earth! This was the only example I could say off the top of my head. However, I've seen this done a couple of times. It's a kind of play on the word down-to-...
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1answer
724 views

Punctuation of “what?” in the middle of a sentence

I'm transcribing an interview and the man says, "There were, what, 4,000 people at the concert." I'm not sure how to properly punctuate this. He's asking "What?" in the middle of the sentence as a ...
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1answer
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Is there a word for intentional misspelling as a literary device? [duplicate]

Good examples would be writing "nite" for "night", "4" for "for", "wimmin" for "women". I guess it also applies to substituting final s with "z", as in "wordz". In the way that Prince was prone to. ...
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2answers
683 views

What is the term used for a place name that represents something other than the place itself? [duplicate]

There is a special term for when a place name is representative of something other than the actual place itself but I can't remember what it is. For example: 'Brussels' may be used to refer to the ...
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10answers
5k views

Idiom meaning to talk about something everyone already knows

This is maybe an esoteric scenario that doesn't have a clever idiom, but I feel like I can almost recall one but can't quite. So the scenario would be along the lines of bringing something up that is ...
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207 views

A figure of speech combining two phrases

I have read somewhere that it is typical of poems such as Nibelungenlied to use a figure of speech which in fact merges two phrases into one by the mean of a common word. An example could be the ...
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1answer
260 views

Slang or figure or speech?

"I told everyone and their mother about how I won the contest." "Everyone and their mother" meaning that I told many many people. Would this be considered slang or just a figure of speech?
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Is saying “The President did…” an example of a metonym?

Is it a metonym to say that the president did something, when in reality it was his administration that did it? Update: Every example of one that I've come across uses an inanimate object as a ...