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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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analogy and metaphor

a long time ago, in the thread "The difference between an analogy and a metaphor?" (The difference between an analogy and a metaphor?), people said, "The analogy is what is expressed; the metaphor is ...
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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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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-...
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361 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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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
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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
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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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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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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 ...
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Term for figure of speech in: 'Life is awesome, I confess'

I am listening to Lana del Rey's song where she begins with: Life is awesome, I confess Using confess this way; I found it rather funny, like a play on words, and if that's the case, hope to know ...
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Row of the Summer

Those following the "Brexit" politics in the U.K. probably have heard David Davis (U.K. Chief Negotiator) characterize the negotiations ahead as the row of the summer. I'm a continental European and ...
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What figure of speech is the following statement?

What figure of speech is the following statement? "If you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" A friend said that to me today.
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Usage of a commonly accepted proverb to disregard someone's opinion

I am looking for a term (or a sentence) that would describe a figure of speech where one individual use a commonly accepted proverb (or thick concept or other) in order to disregard someone's opinion ...
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What is an idiomatic parallel for “read between the lines” pertaining to speech?

When a person reads between the lines, they are inferring meaning which is not explicitly represented. What is an idiomatic version of this which can apply to spoken words? Vis–à–vis something ...
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What is this figure of speech called?

Is 'rootless weeds' an example of a figure of speech?If it is,what is it called? It is from the poem'An Elementary School Classroom In A Slum ' (by Stephen Spender). 'Far far from gusty waves ...
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Is “sun seems to have set” (on an idea) a metaphor/simile or synechdoche/metonymy

Is the follow quote a 1) metaphor or simile or an examples 2) synechdoche or metonymy "Sun seems to have set" (on an idea) Metonymy is "a figure of speech that replaces the name of a thing ...
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When is the phrase, “Are you sitting down?” used, and what does it exactly mean?

There was the following paragraph in the article titled “How Russia wants to undermine the U.S. election” in Time magazine (October 10): One day in June she (Arizona Secretary of state, Michele ...
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Contradiction of “only so much”

I was taught that so means very. "You are so busted," means, "You are very busted". Now because of people saying things like, "I can only do so much," I thought they were saying, "I can only do ...
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Would 'Storm clouds gathering' be considered as an example of personification?

I came across this phrase in school and I became quite confused with whether it should be seen as a personification or not. It may be a collocation but does that mean it can't be a personification? '...
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What is a synonym for canary? (being a fail bird that dies as an warning indicator) [duplicate]

Online we have five different meanings for canary: having the color of a canary; of a light to moderate yellow any of several small Old World finches a female singer a moderate yellow with a greenish ...
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Is there a rhetorical term for remarks like “you're exactly what I've come to expect from…”?

Is there a specific term for a statement that uses words such that their precise meaning conveys a subtext contrary to the colloquial meaning? For example, the joke in Men in Black: Gentlemen, ...
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Is “I am a fast tiger” a metaphor [closed]

My friend thinks the phrase "I am a fast tiger" is a metaphor, is he correct? He also reffered to something that was not a hard rock as "a hard rock", does that also count as a metaphor? Thanks in ...
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What does “stepping over the necks of peasants” mean here?

While a Chinese friend of mine was reading the story, The Standard of Living by Dorothy Parker, she came across this sentence: Annabel and Midge passed without the condescension of hurrying their ...
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What is the term for repetition of an initial syllable in successive words?

In Anne Tyler’s A Spool of Blue Thread, one character comments on the name of another Carla Carlucci: alliteration. Or something more than alliteration, but I don’t know the term for it. ...
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Is this an example of correctio?

I thought this would be better as a separate question. Here's the quote: Ariel (The Tempest): ‘The powers, delaying, not forgetting’ Correctio is: 'The amending of a statement just made by further ...
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What do you call the use of a negative in order to emphasize?

In particular, I was looking at this quote: Adam (Paradise Lost): ‘nothing lovelier can be found / In woman, than to study household good’ Here's 'nothing' emphasizes 'lovelier'. Is there a term ...