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figure of speech

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Definition: A figure of speech is a word or phrase that departs from everyday literal language for the sake of comparison, emphasis, clarity, or freshness. Metaphor and simile are the two most commonly used figures of speech, but things like hyperbole, synecdoche, puns, and personification are also figures of speech. Used well, figures of speech greatly enhance your fiction, and can be a very economical way of getting an image or a point across, but used incorrectly, they will confuse the reader.
Also Known As: figurative language, rhetorical figure, metaphorical language
Examples:

The expression "not playing with a full deck" uses figurative language to explain that a person is crazy. To discover more examples of figures of speech and to test your knowledge, take the quiz on figures of speech.

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