Poetic Devices

These terms will help you identify devices in poetry and also be able to use them as you compose your own.


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definitions & notes
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  1. allegory

    a short moral story
  2. alliteration

    use of the same consonant at the beginning of each word
  3. assonance

    the repetition of similar vowels in successive words
  4. consonance

    a harmonious state of things and of their properties
  5. enjambment

    continuation from one line of verse into the next line
  6. imagery

    the ability to form mental pictures of things or events
  7. metaphor

    a figure of speech that suggests a non-literal similarity
  8. rhyme

    correspondence in the final sounds of two or more lines
  9. mood

    a characteristic state of feeling
  10. tone

    the distinctive property of a complex sound
  11. couplet

    a stanza consisting of two successive lines of verse
  12. foreshadowing

    the act of providing vague advance indications
  13. free verse

    poetry that does not rhyme or have a regular meter
  14. hyperbole

    extravagant exaggeration
  15. irony

    incongruity between what might be expected and what occurs
  16. literal

    limited to the explicit meaning of a word or text
  17. figurative

    not literal
  18. metonymy

    substituting the name of a feature for the name of the thing
  19. apostrophe

    a mark used to indicate the omission of one or more letters
  20. narrator

    someone who tells a story
  21. speaker

    someone who expresses in language
  22. onomatopoeia

    using words that imitate the sound they denote
  23. plot

    a small area of ground covered by specific vegetation
  24. point of view

    a mental position from which things are perceived
  25. protagonist

    the principal character in a work of fiction
  26. antagonist

    someone who offers opposition
  27. stanza

    a fixed number of lines of verse forming a unit of a poem
  28. rhythm

    an interval during which a recurring sequence occurs
  29. satire

    witty language used to convey insults or scorn
  30. setting

    the physical position of something
  31. simile

    a figure of speech expressing a resemblance between things
  32. synecdoche

    using part of something to refer to the whole thing
  33. symbol

    something visible that represents something invisible
  34. theme

    the subject matter of a conversation or discussion
  35. allusion

    passing reference or indirect mention
  36. personification

    attributing human characteristics to abstract ideas
  37. repetition

    the act of doing or performing again
  38. oxymoron

    conjoined contradictory terms
  39. syllable

    a unit of spoken language larger than a phoneme
  40. connotation

    an idea that is implied or suggested
  41. denotation

    the most direct or specific meaning of a word or expression
  42. pun

    a humorous play on words
  43. paradox

    a statement that contradicts itself
Created on April 4, 2013