figure of speech

Figure of Speech Definition, List and Figure of Speech with Examples of Poetic Devices


Figure of Speech – Figure of Speech is a technique a writer uses to produce a special effect in their writing. 
important figures of speech
List of different Figures of Speech used in poetry is as follows – 


Alliteration Metaphor
Allusion Onomatopoeia
Anaphora Oxymoron
Antithesis personification
Assonance Rhyme
Consonance Repetition
Enjambment Simile
Hyperbole Symbolism
Imagery Synecdoche
pun Transferred Epithet


Figure of Speech


The definitions and examples of Figures of speech which are used in poetry are as follows:
1) Alliteration: The repetition of a consonant sound at the start of 2 or more consecutive words is known as alliteration.

Examples of Alliteration are as follows –  

But Custard cried for a nice safe cage (The Tale of Custard the Dragon)

  • Use of ‘c’ sound in Custrad cried


2) Allusion: A reference or suggestion to a historical or well known person, place or thing.

Examples of Allusion are as follows –

(I am Rapunzel, I have not a care; (Amanda)

here reference to Rapunzel is the use of Allusion

3) Anaphora: The repeated use of word at the start of two or more consecutive lines. 

Examples of Anaphora are as follows –

Did you finish your homework, Amanda?

Did you tidy your room, Amanda? (Amanda)

Here Did word is used at start of both lines

4) Antithesis: Use of opposite words in close placement

Examples of Antithesis are as follows –

And forever, by day and night, I give back life to my own origin,…(Voice of the Rain)

Here day and night are opposite words

5) Assonance: The repetition of a vowel sound within a sentence.

Examples of Assonance are as follows –

Of noble natures, of the gloomy days (A Thing of Beauty)


Use of sound ‘o’ (of, noble, of, gloomy)

6) Consonance: The repetition of a consonant sound in a sentence. It can be at the beginning, middle or end of the word.


Examples of Consonance are as follows –

Like rootless weeds, the hair torn round their pallor: (An elementary school classroom in a slum)


Use of sound ‘r’ in the beginning, middle and end of the words.


7) Enjambment: When a sentence continues into two or more lines in a poem

Examples of Enjambment are as follows –

Driving from my parent’s

home to Cochin last Friday

morning, I saw my mother,

beside me,

doze, open mouthed, her face

ashen like that

of a corpse and realised with

pain (My mother at sixty-six) 


The sentence continues from first to last line 

8) Hyperbole: It is a Greek word meaning “overcasting”. The use of exaggeration to lay emphasis.

Examples of Hyperbole are as follows –

Eternal I rise impalpable out of the land and the bottomless sea, (The Voice of the rain)

Here the poet says the sea is bottomless which is an exaggeration

9) Imagery: The creation of any sensory effect like visual, auditory, olfactory, gustatory, tactile, kinesthetic, organic.( to create scenes in the poem)

Examples of imagery are as follows –

pistol in his left hand, pistol in his right,

And he held in his teeth a cutlass bright,

His beard was black, one leg was wood;

It was clear that the pirate meant no good. (The Tale of Custard the Dragon)


Here the poet has presented visual imagery; this means he has described the appearance of the pirate.

10) Metaphor: It is indirect comparison by highlighting a particular quality of two things.

Examples of metaphor are as follows –

I am the Poem of Earth, said the voice of the rain …(Voice of the Rain)

Here, rain is compared to a poem

11) Onomatopoeia: It is the usage of sound words to create a dramatic effect.


Examples of onomatopoeia are as follows –

And Blink said Weeck! which is giggling for a mouse, (The Tale of Custard the Dragon)


The words ‘chatter’, ‘trebles’, ‘bubble’ and ‘babble’ are used to show flowing water of a spring

12) Oxymoron: It is when apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction. (here the words are not opposite to each other like it is in antithesis but their meaning is opposite)

Examples of oxymoron are as follows –

While greedy good-doers, beneficient beasts of prey,

Swarm over their lives enforcing benefits …. (A Roadside Stand)

Here adjective beneficient is used for beast of prey which is contradictory because a beast of prey is not beneficient for others.

13) Personification: It means to give human quality to an object or a non living thing.

Examples of personification are as follows –

I am the Poem of the Earth, said the voice of the rain, (Voice of the Rain)


Here rain has been personified when the poet says that it spoke.

14) Rhyme: The usage of words in a way to create musical effect. It can be internal rhyme or end rhyme. 


Examples of rhyme are as follows –

The little old house was out with a little new shed

In front at the edge of the road where the traffic sped,

A roadside stand that too pathetically pled,

It would not be fair to say for a dole of bread,... (A Roadside stand)


Here last word of each line rhymes so rhyme scheme is aaaa

15) Repetition: It is the repeated use of a word of line to lay emphasis

Examples of repetition are as follows –

all I did was smile and smile and smile….  (My mother at sixty-six)

16) Simile: It is the comparison between two things or persons by using like or as.

Examples of simile are as follows –

I saw my mother,

beside me

doze, open mouthed, her face

ashen like that

of a corpse and realised with… (My mother at sixty-six)

Here, the colour of the mother’s face has been compared to that of ash

17) Symbolism: the use of words or images to symbolize specific concepts, people, objects, or events.


Examples of symbolism are as follows –

The massive weight of Uncle’s wedding band

Sits heavily upon Aunt Jennifer’s hand. (Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers)

Here the weight of the wedding band represents the immersive marital obligations that are a burden for Aunt Jennifer.

18) Synecdoche: It is a word or phrase in which a part of something is used to refer to the whole of it.


Examples of synecdoche are as follows –

When aunt is dead, her terrified hands will lie.. (Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers)

Here her hands refer to the entire body

19) Transferred epithet: It is an adjective used with a noun refers to another noun.


Of all the thousand selfish cars that pass (A Roadside Stand)


Here the adjective selfish has been used with cars but it refers to the passengers in those cars

20) Pun: it is the use of words having more than one meaning and can be inferred in different ways


Example of Pun is as follows-


Still ringed with ordeals she was mastered by (Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers)


Here, ‘ringed’is a pun which means she wore the wedding ring and that she was surrounded by the ordeals of marriage.