Figure of Speech: Definition/Explanation/Types

What is figure of speech?

A figure of speech or rhetorical device is a departure from the ordinary way of speaking or writing in order to produce a greater effect in speaking or writing.

In simple way, transformation of an ordinary language to in more effective language or in rhetorical effect.

Explanation: Figure of speech can be found in literature, poetry and prose also in everyday speech. It elegantly enhances the beauty of writing, it makes the sentence more defining and deeper with meaningful addition of figure of speech.

Writers leave audience in sense of wonder, as they now understand the motive of the writer to use such words. By using figure of speech, it intensifies the thought and purpose of writers using such language. Figure of speech brings life to ordinary words or sentence.

There are various types of figure of speech

  • Simile – (उपमा)
  • Metaphor – (रुपक)
  • Epigram – (चुटकुला)
  • Antithesis – (प्रतिपक्षता)
  • Oxymoron – विरोधाभासी)
  • Alliteration – (अनुप्रास)
  • Personification – (मनुष्यागुणारोप)
  • Apostrophe – (संबंध बोधक चिह्न)
  • Metonymy – (लक्षणालंकार)
  • Synecdoche – (उपलक्षण)
  • Litotes – (पर्यायोकित)
  • Pun – (श्लेष)
  • Epithet – (गुण सुचक नाम)
  • Hyperbole – (अतिश्योक्ति)
  • Euphemism – (प्रेयोकित)
  • Irony – (व्यंगोकित, ताना)

Above mention types are some common figure of speech

Simile: It is use when there is a comparison between two or more objects. Such words; `like`, `as`, `so`, `than` etc.

For Example

  1. The news spread like wild fire.
  2. Ranjit Singh was as brave as lion.
  3. Do not behave like a coward.
  4. His face became as black as coal since he is working overnight.
  5. Mercy drop as the gentle rain from heaven.

Metaphor: It is an implied simile it means that direct mention of an object with another. Basically, it shows hidden similarities with one another.

For example

  1. The camel is the ship of desert.
  2. Kalidas is the Shakespeare of India.
  3. Variety is the spice of life.
  4. Coming events cast their shadows before.
  5. Life is an empty dream.

Epigram: It is a short and pointed saying in amusing way.

For Example

  1. The child is the father of man.
  2. Fools rush in where angels fear to read.
  3. Mankind must put an end to war or War will put an end to mankind.
  4. Coward dies many times before their death.
  5. Art lies in concealing art.

Antithesis: It emphasizes an idea against another

For Example

  1. To err is human; to forgive is divine.
  2. United we stand; divided we fall.
  3. A bird in hand is worth two in the bush.
  4. God made the country; man made the town.
  5. Man proposes; God disposes.

Oxymoron: It reconciles two conflicting qualities as;

For Example

  1. He is regularly irregular.
  2. She was a pious liar.
  3. He is an honorable villain.

Alliteration: It repeats similar sound or letters as;

For Example

  1. How High His Highness Heaves His Haughty Head.
  2. A Big Bug Bite a Bear.
  3. Burning Bright and Frame Fearful symmetry.
  4. The fair Breeze Blew, the white Foam Flew.
  5. The Load of Learning Lumbering in his head.

Personification: It speaks about lifeless ideas or an objects, as having life;

For Example

  1. Death lays his icy hand on kings.
  2. Peace hath her victories.
  3. The wind howled in the night.

Apostrophe: If somebody is addressed; it is mark with apostrophe (`) it is a punctuation mark.

For Example

  1. Milton thou should` st be living at this hour.
  2. O death! I wish you were here.
  3. I` m going to the market.
  4. I can`t believe it`s you.

Metonym: It refers to an object by a general name.

For Example

  1. Please address the chair (chairman)
  2. The case was before the full of benches (judges)

Pun:  It refers to those words which play upon;

For Example

  1. Is life worth living? It depends upon the liver.
  2. An ambassador lies abroad for his country.
  3. A teacher trains the mind, a driver minds the train.

Epithet: It transfers one adjective to another;

For Example

  1. The traveler walks his weary way.
  2. I lay all night on my sleepless pillow.

Synecdoche: It uses the part of whole and vice versa;

For Example

  1. A fleet of fifty sail (ships) left the port.
  2. I have seen forty summers (years)

Litotes: It uses negative to strengthen an impression;

For Example

  1. He is no dullard.
  2. She is a citizen of no alien country.

Hyperbole or Exaggeration: In it the object is said in more exaggerated manner;

For Example

  1. She wept an ocean of tears.
  2. He ran faster than the wind.
  3. I faced a sea of troubles.

Euphemism: I t describes a disagreeable thing by an agreeable name;

For Example

  1. He has slept the sleep that knows no walking (his dead)
  2. You are telling me a fairy tale (a lie)

Irony: In it, the real meaning is exactly the opposite way of what we say;

For Example

  1. Brad says he was an ambitious, (but he is an honorable man)
  2. A Pilot has a fear of heights.
  3. A traffic police gets his license suspended for unpaid parking tickets.

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