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Poetic Literary Terms

1. Allegory is a form of extended metaphor. The underlying meaning has moral, social, religious,
or political significance, and characters are often personifications of abstract ideas such as
charity, greed, or envy.
2. Alliteration is the repetition of initial sounds in neighboring words.
3. Allusion is a brief reference to a person, event, or place, real or fictitious, or to a work of art.
Casual reference to a famous historical or literary figure or event. An allusion may be drawn
from history, geography, literature, or religion.
4. Apostrophe is a form of personification in which the absent or dead are spoken to as if present
and inanimate objects are spoken to as if they were animate.
5. Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds.
6. Cacophony is harsh, discordant sounds. Opposite of euphony.
7. Caesura is a natural pause or break.
8. Connotation is an implied meaning of a word. Opposite of denotation.
9. Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds.
10. Denotation is the literal meaning of a word, the dictionary meaning. Opposite of connotation.
11. Enjambment is the running on of one line of poetry into another without pausing at the end of
the line.
12. Euphony is soothing pleasant sounds. Opposite of cacophony.
13. Hyperbole is exaggeration or overstatement.
14. Imagery is language that evokes one or all of the five senses: seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling,
15. Irony is an implied discrepancy between what is said and what is meant.
o Verbal Irony is when an author says one thing and means something else.
Dramatic Irony is when an audience perceives something that a character in
the literature does not know.
o Situational Irony is a discrepancy between the expected result and actual results.
16. Metaphor is a comparison between two unlike things not using like or as as in a simile.
17. Metonymy is substituting a word for another word closely associated with it.
18. Onomatopoeia is a word that imitates the sound it represents.
19. Oxymoron is putting two contradictory words together.
20. Paradox is a situation or action or feeling that appears to be contradictory but on inspection
turns out to be true or at least plausible.
21. Personification is giving human qualities to animals or objects.
22. Pun is a figure of speech which consists of a deliberate confusion of similar words or phrases
for rhetorical effect, whether humorous or serious.
23. Rhyme is the similarity of sounds, usually at the end of lines.
24. Rhyme Scheme is a pattern of words that contain similar sounds.
25. Simile is the comparison of two unlike things using like or as. Related to metaphor.
26. Stanza is a unified group of lines in poetry.
27. Symbol is using an object or action that means something more than its literal meaning.
28. Synecdoche is when one uses a part to represent the whole.
29. Tone is the attitude a writer takes towards a subject or character: serious, humorous, sarcastic,
ironic, satirical, tongue-in-cheek, solemn, objective.
30. Understatement is used to understate the obvious.