American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. 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.
- n. language used in a figurative or nonliteral sense
“It was now a mere figure of speech to call them so, though, in their home-talk, loving simplicity, they would neither have been ashamed nor annoyed at the epithet – these two tall lads, who in the dusk looked as man-like as their father.”
“This involves a figure of speech but does not yet, as K.W. contends, establish the meaning of "tribe" for”
“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.”
“Mostly it was just a figure of speech but now and then a child was beaten to death for his sneakers, a baby smothered because it cried,”
“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.”
“Whether this be a mere figure of speech used by that scurrilous lampooner, or whether it indicates that the work was circulated by the religious professors of that period, I cannot determine.”
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Key words from "The Training of a Public Speaker" by Grenville Kleiser (New York and London, 1920)
Words to do with rhetoric--study of, history of, practice of, theory of
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