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Figure of speech
Related: allegory - metaphor - phrase - rhetoric - trope
A figure of speech, sometimes termed a rhetorical figure, or elocution, is a word or phrase that departs from straight-forward, literal language. It deals with etymology, the study of the origin and use of words.
Figures of speech are often used and crafted for emphasis, freshness of expression or clarity. However, clarity may also suffer from their use.
Note that not all theories of meaning necessarily have a concept of "literal language". Under theories that do not, figure of speech is not an entirely coherent concept.
An example of the figurative use of a word can be given by the word crown. If you say: I am going to crown you., does that mean:
--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Figures_of_speech [May 2004]
- I am going to place a literal crown on your head.
- I am going to symbolically exalt you to the place of kingship.
- I am going to knock your head off.
Schemes and tropes
Figures of speech have been classified into a number of different categories. Most figures originated out of centuries of philological commentary on ancient texts, and so most are named from Greek or Latin, as they originally were meant to classify grammatical peculiarities of those languages.
Scholars of classical Western rhetoric have divided figures of speech into two main categories: schemes and tropes. Schemes (from the Greek sch?ma, form or shape) are figures of speech in which there is a deviation from the ordinary or expected pattern of words. For example, the phrase, "John, my best friend" uses the scheme known as apposition. Tropes (from the Greek tropein, to turn) involve changing or modifying the general meaning of a term. An example of a trope is the use of irony, which is the use of word in a way that conveys a meaning opposite to its usual meaning ("For Brutus is an honorable man; / So, are they all, honorable men"). --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Figure_of_Speech [Apr 2005]
Categories of figures of speech
Figures of speech have been classified into a number of different categories. These include:* accumulatio * allegory * alliteration * amplification * anastrophe * anthimeria * antithesis * aphorism * aposiopesis * apostrophe * assonance * axiom * catachresis * chiasmus * circumlocution * conceit * denominatio * ellipsis * enallage * euphemism * figure * hyperbaton * hyperbole * kenning * idiom * irony * litotes * meiosis * metalepsis * metaphor * metonymy * onomatopoeia * parable * paradox * paralipsis * paronomasia * periphrasis * perissologia * personification * pleonasm * praeteritio * procatalepsis * proslepsis * proverb * pun * rhetoric * simile * syllepsis * synecdoche * synonymia * tertium comparationis * trope * tmesis (and dystmesis) * zeugma--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Figures_of_speech [May 2004]
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