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Definition of "figure of speech" []

  • An expression that uses language in a nonliteral way, such as a metaphor or synecdoche, or in a structured or unusual way, such as anaphora or chiasmus, or that employs sounds, such as alliteration or assonance, to achieve a rhetorical effect. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "figure of speech" in a sentence
  • "Off the wall, hyphenated as above when used as a compound modifier of the word it precedes, is a figure of speech that shows staying power."
  • "The fresh figure of speech racing through the lingo of the edge-cutting calls up the image of a runner straining ahead, the tilt of the body throwing weight forward to aid acceleration."
  • "Even so eminent an economist as Irving Fisher of Yale was lulled by the superficial evidences of prosperity into announcing that we were marching along a “permanently high plateau”—a figure of speech given a macabre humor by the fact that stocks fell off the brink of that plateau one week to the day after he made his statement."