Figurative Language

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What Is Figurative Language (with Examples)

Figurative language is the use of words in an unusual or imaginative manner. Often figurative language involves the use of a metaphor, a simile, personification, hyperbole, idiom, a euphemism, and pun. However, as the term figurative language also covers unusual or imaginative word constructions (and not just word meanings), it also includes alliteration, assonance, consonance, onomatopoeia, and logosglyphs.

Examples of Figurative Language

When most people think of figurative language, similes and metaphors spring to mind. However, the term figurative language covers a wide range of literary techniques. Here are some examples of figurative language in each of the categories:

Metaphor

A metaphor asserts that one thing is something that it literally is not. For example:

Simile

A simile likens one thing to another (usually achieved by the use of the word like or as). For example:

Personification

Personification is when non-human objects are given human traits. For example:

Hyperbole

Hyperbole is an exaggeration or extravagant statement used for effect. For example:

Idiom

An idiom is commonly used expression whose meaning does not relate to the literal meaning of its words. For example:

Euphemism

A euphemism is the use of agreeable or inoffensive words to replace rude or offensive ones. For example:

Pun

A pun is a witticism that plays on the different meanings of a word or two words which sound alike but have different meanings. For example:

Alliteration

Alliteration is the repetition of the same initial letter in successive words for effect. For example:

Assonance

Assonance is the repetition of the same vowel sound in neighbouring words. For example:

Consonance

Consonance is the repetition of the same consonant sound in neighbouring words (but not at the front Ė that's alliteration). For example:

Onomatopoeia

Onomatopoeia is the use of a word which sounds like what it represents. For example:

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See Also

What is a metaphor? What is a simile? What is personification? What is hyperbole? What is a euphemism? What is an idiom? What is alliteration? What is assonance? What is consonance? What is onomatopoeia? What is a figure of speech? What does literal meaning mean? Glossary of grammatical terms