Figurative Language Terms

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Glossary of Figurative Language Terms

An allusion is a figure of speech that makes a reference or representation of or to a well-known person, place, event, literary work, or work of art. Example: He made a Herculean effort to move the stalled car to the side of the road but it would not budge. Figurative language is the creative words and phrases a writer uses to help a reader see things in new and unexpected ways. Imagery is a type of figurative language. When a writer uses imagery, he/she gives the reader a sense of how something smells, tastes, sounds, feels or looks. Example: The old dog staggered down the road, dragging its back leg. A metaphor is an unlikely comparison between two things without using the words “like”, “as” or “than”. A metaphor can be one simple sentence or it can be extended throughout an entire stanza or poem (or used in prose).
 Example: Her rosebud lips pursed to kiss him. Onomatopoeia is a word that imitates the sound it is describing such as "click," "buzz," "bang," or "slurp", or animal noises such as "oink" or "meow"
. A simile is an unlikely comparison between two things using the words “like”, “than” or “as.” Example: The monster’s eyes flashed like the brake lights of a car. Personification is the technique of using words or phrases that give an inanimate object or abstract idea human traits and qualities, such as emotions, desires, sensations, physical gestures and speech.
 Example: The willow tree bowed its head and wept in sorrow as the storm raged into the night.
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