Poetry Vocabulary (Imagery and Figurative Language)

Imagery
Words that trigger your imagination to recall and combine images—memories or mental pictures of sights, sounds, tastes, smells, sensations of touch and motion.

Visual Imagery
Most frequently occurring type of imagery; appeals to the reader’s sense of sight.

Auditory Imagery
Words that trigger the reader’s experience with sound.

Olfactory Imagery
Words that trigger the reader’s sense of smell.

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Gustatory Imagery
Language that appeals to the reader’s sense of taste.

Tactile Imagery
Images relating to touch and texture

Kinetic or Kinesthetic Imagery
Images relating to motion or movement

Simile
A figure of speech where an comparison is made between two things that are essentially dissimilar. The comparison uses the words: like, as, than, similar to, seems.

Metaphor
A figure of speech that describes one thing as though it were actually something else. Example:”I am a riddle in nine syllables,An elephant, a ponderous house”

Personification
A figure of speech where human traits are given to an animal, an object, or a concept.Example:”And then my heart with pleasure fills,And dances with the daffodils.”

Apostrophe
A figure of speech in which someone absent or dead or nonhuman is addressed as though it were alive and present and could reply.

Example:”Little Lamb who made thee?Dost thou know who made thee?”

Metonymy
A figure of speech in which one thing is used as a substitute for another with which it is closely identified. Examples:”The Press” = journalists and reporters”The White House” = the President or government

Synecdoche
A special type of metonymy in which a part stands for a whole or a whole for a part. Example:”Wheels” = a car

Extended Figure
A figure of speech (usually metaphor, simile, personification, or apostrophe) sustained or developed through a considerable number of lines or through a whole poem.

Paradox
A statement or situation that contains apparently contradictory or incompatible elements. Examples:”Child is father of the man””I must be cruel to be kind”

Oxymoron
A type of verbal paradox in which two successive words seemingly contradict one another.

Examples:Jumbo shrimpCivil War Friendly Fire

Paronomasia
A big word for punsExample:She offered her honor, he honored her offer, and all night long he was on her and off her.

Synesthesia
Presentation of one sense experience in terms usually associated with another sensation.Example:For me, pain will always taste like oranges.The orchestra played in various hues of greens and blues.

Hyperbole
Also called ‘overstatement’. A figure of speech in which exaggeration is used in the service of truth.

Example:They play this song like a million times a day.

Understatement
A figure of speech that consists of saying less than one means, or of saying what one means with less force than the occasion warrants. Example:”I have to have this operation. It isn’t very serious. I have this tiny little tumor on the brain.” ~Catcher in the Rye

Allegory
A narrative or description that has a second meaning beneath the surface, often relating each literal term to a fixed, corresponding idea or principle.

Example:The woods and the field in Frost’s “Desert Places”

Litotes
A form of deliberate understatement where the writer uses double negatives.”not unloved” = loved”not unwelcome” = welcome “not young” = old

Allusion
A reference, explicit or implicit, to something in previous literature or history.

Symbol
Something that means more than what it is; an object, person, situation, or action that in addition to its literal meaning suggests other meanings as well.Example:Eggs as a symbol of fertility in The Handmaid’s Tale