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Terms and Devices


undefined, object
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argumentum ad hominem
the fallacy of attacking the character or circumstances of an individual who is advancing a statement or an argument instead of trying to disprove the truth of the statement or the soundness of the argument. Often the argument is characterized simply as a personal attack
a similarity between like features of two things on which a comparison may be based; a form of reasoning in which one thing is inferred to be similar to another thing in a certain respect, on the basis of the known similarity between the things in other respects
a particular quality, way of sounding, modulation, or intonation of the voice as expressive of some meaning feeling spirit, etc.; a particular style or manner, as of writing or speech; mood
an argument the conclusion of which is supported by two premises, of which one (major premise) contains the term (major term) that is predicate of the conclusion, and the other (minor premise) contains the term (minor term) that is the subject of the conclusion; common to both premises is a term (middle term) that is excluded from the conclusion ("All A is C; all B is A; therefore all B is C")
a syntactic construction containing a subject and predicate and forming part of a sentence or constituting a whole simple sentence
a literary composition in verse or prose, in which human folly and vice are held up to scorn, derision, or ridicule
something used for or regarded as representing something else; a material object representing something, often something immaterial; emblem, token, or sign
vehement or violent denunciation, censure, or reproach; an insulting or abusive word or expression
the combination of distinctive features of literary or artistic expression, execution, or performance characterizing a particular person, group, school or era
a figure of speech that consists of the use of the name of one object or concept for that of another to which it is related or of which it is a part
a short allegorical story designed to illustrate or teach some truth, religious principle, or moral lesson; a statement of comment that conveys a meaning indirectly by the use of comparison, analogy or the like
a figure of speech in which a term or phrase is applied to something to which it is not literally applicable in order to suggest a resemblance
the study of the rules for the formation of gramatical sentences in a language
the principles and practice of symbolists in art or literature; the practice of representing things by symbols, or of investigating with a symbolic meaning or character
reasoning from the general to the particular (or from cause to effect); relating to logical deduction; involving inferences from general principles
the meaning, or an interpretation of the study of the relationship between various signs and symbols and what they represent
the use of words to convey a meaning that is opposite of its literal meaning; a technique of indicating, as through character or plot development, an intention or attitude opposite to that which is actually or ostensibly stated
a disclosure or statement that is less than complete; restraint or lack of emphasis in expression, as for rhetorical effect; a statement that is restrained in ironic contrast to what might have been said
involving lecture and textbook instruction rather than demonstrative and laboratory study; teaching or intending to teach a moral lesson
the associated or secondary meaning of a word or expression in addition to its explicit or primary meaning; an idea that is implied or suggested
a figure of speech by which a locution produces an uncongruous seemingly self-contradictory effect
an extravagant statement or figure of speech not intended to be taken literally; obvious and intentional exaggeration
an interpretive method, originally used to relate specific entities or events to the absolute idea, in which some assertible proposition (thesis) is necessarily opposed by an equally assertible and apparently contradictory proposition (antithesis), the mutual contradiction being reconciled on a higher level of truth by a third proposition (synthesis); the direct or exact opposite
a sharply ironical taunt; sneering or cutting remark; a form of wit that is marked by the use of sarcastic language and is intended to make its victim the butt or contempt or ridicule
a passing or casual reference; an incidental mention of something either directly or by implication; a reference to another text or historical figure
an excessively favorable opinion of one's own ability, importance, wit, etc.; feelings of excessive pride; the trait of being unduly vain and conceited; falsepride; figure of speech, elaborate image or far-fetched comparison of very dissimilar things
extended metaphor
a metaphor that is extended through a stanza or entire poem, often by multiple comparisons of unlike objects or ideas
an implicit or recurrent idea; a motif; a unifying idea that is a recurrent element in literary or artistic work; the subject of discussion, essay, etc.
the formation of a word by imitation of a sound made by or associated with its referent; using words that imitate the sound the denote
style of speaking or writing as dependent upon choice of words; the accent, inflection, intonation, and speech - sound quality manifested by an individual speaker, usually judged in terms of prevailing standards of acceptability; enunciation
the substitution of a mild, indirect or vague expression for one thought to be offensive, harsh or blunt
doubtfulness or uncertainty of meaning or intention; an unclear, indefinite or equivocal word, expression, meaning
the art or science of all specialized literary uses of language in prose or verse, including the figures of speech; the way language is used to persuade
a symbolic narative; the representation of abstract ideas or principles by characters, figures or events in narative; a dramatic or pictorial form; extended metaphor
the use of identical or equivalent syntactic constructions in corresponding clauses or phrases
periodic sentence
a sentence that, by leaving the completion of its main clause to the end, produces an effect of suspence
non sequitur
an inderence or a conclusion that does not follow from the premises
a short, often satirical poem dealing concisely with a single subject and usually ending with a witty or ingenious turn of thought
loose sentence
a sentence that does not end with the completion of its main clause, but continues with one or more subordinate clauses or other modifiers
expression in spoken or written words, or by other means; the distinctive style or manner of expression of an author or of a character in a book
a proposition stated or put forward for consideration, especially one to be discussed and proved or to be maintained against objections; a subject for a composition or essay; a dissertation on a particular subject in which one has done original research
characteristic of or appropriate to ordinary or familiar conversation rather than formal speech or writing; informal; involving or using conversation
the commencement of two or more stressed syllables of a word group either with the same consonant or sound group; the representation of the same sounds or of the same kinds of sounds at the beginning of words or in stressed syllables
a statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth
a word, phrase or series of sentences connecting one part of a discourse to another; a passage that connects a topic to one that follows
a recurring subject, theme, idea, etc., especially in a literary artistic, or musical work; a unifying idea that is a recurrent element in a literary or artistic work
the keen perception and cleverly apt expression of those connections between ideas that awaken asmusment and pleasure
a set of categories for which the verb is inflicted in many languages, and that is typically used to indicate the syntactic relation of the clause in which the verb occurs to the other clauses in the sentence, or the attitude of the speaker toward what he or she is saying, as certainty or uncertainty, wish or command, emphasis or hesitancy
the formation of mental images, figures, or likeness of things or of such images collectively; the mental pictures created by a piece of writing
a word, phrase, or clause, usually a substantive, that is replaced by a pronoun or other substance later, or occasionally earlier, in the same or in another, usually subsequent, sentence
a humorous or satirical imitation of a serious piece of literature or writing
a short tale to teach a moral lesson, often with animals or inanimate objects as characters; a story about legendary persons and exploits
a class or category of artistic endeavor having a particular form, content, technique or the like; kind, sort, or style; a kind of literary or artistic work
a figure of speech in which a part is used for the whole or the whole for the part, the special for the general or the general for the special
a characterizing word or phrase firmly associated with a person or thing and often used in place of an actual name; title or the like
overly concerned with minute details or formalisms especially in teaching
point of view
the position of the narrator in relation to the story, as indicated by the narrator's outlook from which the events are depicted and by the attitude toward the character
a terse saying embodying a general truth, or astute observation; a concise and often witty statement of wisdom or opinion
of reasoning; proceeding from particular facts to a general conclusion; reasoning from detailed facts to general principles
the attribution of a personal nature or character to inanimate objects or abstract notions especially as a rhetoric figure
the explicit or direct meaning or set of meanings of a word or expression, as distinguished from the ideas or meanings associated with it or suggested by it; the association or set of associations that a word usually elicits for most speakers of a language, as distinguished from those elicited for any individual speaker because of personal experience
a sermon, usually on a Biblical topic and usually of a nondoctrinal nature; a tedious moralizing lecture or admonation; an inspirational saying of cliché
a digression in the form of an address to someone not present, or to a personified object or idea

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