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AP Vocab - Full List

All AP Vocabulary Words


undefined, object
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The selection of words in a literary work.
A subsidiary or subordinate or parallel plot in a play or story that coexists with the main plot
literal language
A form of language in which writers and speakers mean exactly what their words denote.
Using the same or similar words, phrases, or images throughout a work for emphasis.
The pattern of related comparative aspects of language in a literary work.
The matching of final vowel or consonant sounds in two or more words. End rhyme indicates rhymes that occur at the end of lines of poetry, while internal rhyme indicates rhymes within lines.
round character
A character who demonstrates complexity and many qualities during the course a work of literature
lyric poem
A type of poem characterized by brevity, compression, and the expression of feeling.
The repetition of consonant sounds, especially at the beginning of words that are next to or close to each other.
free verse
Poetry without a regular rhyme scheme or metrical pattern.
A figure of speech that exaggerates to provide emphasis, either for comic or serious effect.
stage direction
A playwright's descriptive or interpretive comments that provide readers (and actors) with information about the dialogue, setting, and action of a play.
A group of characters who comment on the characters and action in a play without participating in the action themselves. They often represent the view of the general society at the time and in the place at which the play is set.
The sorting out or unraveling of a plot at the end of a play, novel, or story..
figurative language
Words, phrases, or expressions that convey more than their literal meaning. Metaphor, allegory, and symbol are just a few types of figurative language that writers employ.
A discrepancy or contrast between what is said and what is done or between what is expected and what actually happens. Verbal Irony occurs when characters say the opposite of what they mean. Irony of Situation occurs when the opposite of what the characters or reader expects happens. Dramatic Irony occurs when there is a discrepancy between what a character knows and what the audience (or in some cases, the other characters) knows
A play in which the conflicts of the plot and the complications faced by the characters are not deeply serious.
The voice heard in a work of fiction, poetry, or drama.
Exaggeration or distortion of a character's physical, emotional, and moral characteristics, for the purpose of comic criticism.
A metrical unit composed of stressed and unstressed syllables. For example, an iamb or iambic foot is composed of an unaccented syllable followed by an accented one.
A brief witty poem, often satirical.
Pattern of sound, including the accents of stress in lines of poetry.
The purging of the feelings of pity and fear that, according to Aristotle, occur in the audience of tragic drama.
A poem written in fourteen lines.
A run-on line of poetry in which logical and grammatical sense carries over from one line into the next. An enjambed line differs from an end-stopped line in which the grammatical and logical sense is completed within the line.
A speech in a play that is meant to be heard by the audience but not by other characters on the stage. If there are no other characters present, the soliloquy represents the character thinking aloud.
The time and place where the action of a literary work occurs.
A humorous, mocking imitation of a literary work, sometimes sarcastic, but often playful and even respectful in its playful imitation.
The spectacle a play presents in performance, including the position of actors on stage, the scenic background, the props and costumes, and the lighting and sound effects.
Comparison of two apparently unrelated objects, situations, actions, individuals or settings, without using explicit comparative language such as "like" or "as. Metaphor is one of the most important of literary uses of language.
The means by which writers present and reveal character. Although techniques of characterization are complex, writers typically reveal characters through their speech, dress, manner, and actions.
The explanation at the beginning of a work of literature of details related to characters, plot, and setting, which readers need to know to understand the action of the work. It is the first stage of a fictional or dramatic plot, in which necessary background information is provided.
A figure of speech in which a part is substituted for the whole. An example: "Lend me a hand."
A very short narrative, often told to illustrate a particular point.
Fiction (non-realistic )
A form that began appearing in the nineteenth-century, which has been given particular attention by post-modern authors writing during the last half of the twentieth century and in the twenty-first century. In non-realistic fiction, believable details, events, and characterizations may be integrated with supernatural, fantasy, or absurd elements
The way an author chooses words, arranges them in lines, sentences, paragraphs, or stanzas, and conveys meaning through the use of imagery, rhythm, rhyme, figurative language, irony, and other devices.
The voice heard in a work of fiction, poetry, or drama, often called the speaker. The narrator or speaker should not be confused with the author, whose point of view may or may not be shared by the narrator/speaker.
The associations called up by a word that goes beyond its dictionary meaning.
A story, which may be told through fiction, non-fiction, drama, or poetry.
The struggle between two forces, in a literary work. Conflicts may include interior conflict between two opposing emotions or commitments within the character, as well as external conflicts, such as characters opposing the mores of their society, forces of nature, or other characters.
An unstressed syllable followed by a stressed one, as in to-DAY.
A scene in which the protagonist recognizes an event, action, or other truth that assures her or his downfall
An extended metaphor; a figure of speech that establishes a parallel between two very different circumstances, settings, actions, or objects.
Use of language in an extremely restrained style, so as to literally state less than what the author anticipates the reader will understand.
tragic hero
The main character in a tragic play.
The main character of a literary work
A story that narrates strange happenings in a direct manner, without detailed descriptions of character.
Giving emotions, abstract concepts, places, inanimate objects, or animals the qualities of humans.
A figure of speech in which a closely related term is substituted for an object or idea. An example: "We have always remained loyal to the crown."
The turning point of the action in the plot of a drama or work of fiction. This turning point often marks the protagonist's taking an action or making a decision to resolve the conflict of the work.
The grammatical order of words in a sentence or line of verse or dialogue. The organization of words and phrases and clauses in sentences of prose, verse, and dialogue.
comic relief
The use of a comic scene to interrupt a succession of intensely tragic dramatic moments. The comedy of scenes offering comic relief typically parallels the tragic action that the scenes interrupt.
dynamic character
A character who changes in the course of a work of literature.
A statement that seems contradictory or mistaken, yet turns out, when examined carefully, to make sense.
dramatic monologue
A type of poem in which a speaker addresses a silent listener. As readers, we overhear the speaker in a dramatic monologue.
An interruption of a work's chronology to describe or present an incident that occurred prior to the main time frame of a work's action. Writers use flashbacks to complicate the sense of chronology in the plot of their works and to convey the richness of the experience of human time.
A drama in which the hero (female or male) is usually a person of great significance in society, often a member of the royal family. The action of the drama shows the changing fortunes of the protagonist, who at the beginning of the play enjoys high status, but by the end has lost everything of value. This protagonist usually meets her or his downfall because of an error in judgment, because of a character flaw , or because of the effects of fate or circumstances beyond the control of the individual.
Words spoken by an actor directly to the audience, which are not "heard" by the other characters on stage during a play.
Comparison of two apparently unrelated objects, situations, actions, individuals or settings, using explicit comparative language such as "like" or "as."
A brief story that teaches an often ethical or spiritual lesson.
A pair of rhymed lines, which sometimes forms a separate stanza of a poem. Shakespeare's sonnets end in rhymed couplets, as in "For thy sweet love remembered such
A customary feature of a literary work, such as the use of a chorus in Greek tragedy, the inclusion of an explicit moral in a fable, or the use of a particular rhyme scheme in a sonnet.
flat character
A character who shows only one main characteristic during the course of a work of literature.
A quality of a play's action that stimulates the audience to feel pity for a character. Pathos is always an aspect of tragedy, and may be present in comedy as well.
A long narrative poem that records the adventures of a hero. Epics typically chronicle the origins of a civilization and embody its central values
Italian sonnet
A form of sonnet divided into eight line and six line parts. Also called a Petrarchan sonnet.
point of view
The angle of vision from which a story is narrated. See narrator. A work's point of view can be: first person, in which the narrator is a character or an observer, respectively; objective, in which the narrator knows or appears to know no more than the reader; omniscient, in which the narrator knows everything about the characters; and limited omniscient, which allows the narrator to know some things about the characters but not everything.
An object, action, character, setting, animal or other element in a literary work that stands for something more than its literal meaning.
narrative poem
A poem that tells a story.
A stanza of poetry containing four lines. A Shakespearean sonnet contains three quatrains followed by a couplet.
static character
A character who does not change during the course of a work of literature.
The resolution of the plot of a literary work
iambic pentameter
A poetic meter consisting of a line of five iambs.
A poem that laments the dead.
falling meter
Poetic meters such as trochaic and dactylic that move or fall from a stressed to an unstressed syllable.
The use of words to imitate the sounds they describe. Words such as buzz and crack are onomatopoetic.
A division or unit of a poem that is repeated in the same form—either with similar or identical patterns of rhyme and meter
A concrete representation of a sense impression, a feeling, or an idea. In some works one image predominates either by recurring throughout the work or by appearing at a critical point in the plot.
The point at which the action of the plot turns in an unexpected direction for the protagonist
Hints of what is to come in the action of a play or a story.
falling action
In the plot of a story or play, the action following the climax of the work that moves it towards its denouement or resolution.
A line or group of lines that is repeated throughout a poem or song, often at the end of stanzas, sometimes with small changes in the words.
The implied attitude of a writer toward the subject and characters of a work
A six-line unit of verse constituting a stanza or section of a poem; the last six lines of an Italian sonnet.
A narrative poem written in four-line stanzas, characterized by swift action and narrated in a direct style.
The dictionary meaning of a word. Writers typically play off a word's denotative meaning against its connotations, or suggested and implied associational implications.
A character who contrasts and parallels the main character in a play or story.
The unified structure of incidents in a literary work
An address to an absent or fictional person, to a place, or to an inanimate object as though it were living and present.
satiric humor
Comic characters, dialogue, and actions that are used for the purpose of revealing, criticizing and ridiculing human foibles, faults, vices, and idiosyncrasies.
limited omniscient narrator
A narrator who can report external actions and conversations of many characters, but can only relate the internal thoughts of one character. A limited omniscient narrator speaks in third person.
The central idea or ideas, underlying or explicit, of a literary work, as distinguished from its subject and plot.
first-person narrator
A narrator who is also a character in the story, poem, novel, or drama and who tells the story through the use of "I" or "we." First-person narrators can report only their own thoughts and observations and not those of others.
An eight-line unit of poetry, which may constitute a verse or section of the poem.
An event or action in a work of literature that serves to intensify and develop the conflict.
An imagined story, whether in prose, poetry, or drama.
The measured pattern of rhythmic accents in poems.
A strong pause within a line of verse..
rising meter
Poetic meters such as iambic and anapestic that move or ascend from an unstressed to a stressed syllable.
A variant of language different from that regarded as formal usage in a particular culture. Distinctive pronunciations of words, non-standard grammatical constructions
end rhyme
The matching of the final vowel or consonant sounds in two or more words that occur at the end of lines of poetry.
A long, stately poem in stanzas of varied length, meter, and form. Odes are typically serious poems on an exalted subject.
The action at the end of a tragedy that initiates the denouement or falling action of a play.
A speech by a single character without another character's response.
A brief story with an explicit moral provided by the author.
omniscient narrator
A narrator who knows everything and can report on the thoughts and actions of all characters.
A reference to an event, a person, a location, a work of art, or an object that is not included in the work itself.
realistic , An imagined story, whether in prose, poetry or drama. The details of realistic fiction are consistent with the parameters of life as we know it and of the world in which we live (or of life in the place and time during which the work is set).
The conversation of characters in a literary work. In fiction, dialogue is typically enclosed within quotation marks. In plays, characters' speech is preceded by their names.
deus ex machina
A god who resolves the entanglements of a play by supernatural intervention.
internal rhyme
The matching of the final vowel or consonant sounds in two or more words that occur within the same line of poetry.
The repetition of similar vowel sounds in a line of poetry or within a sentence of prose.
What a story or play is about; to be distinguished from plot and theme.
rising action
A set of complications, conflicts, and crises in a story, novel, or play that leads to the climax and resolution of the action.
blank verse
A line of poetry or prose in unrhymed iambic pentameter.
tragic flaw
A weakness or limitation of character, resulting in the fall of the tragic hero.
A character or force against which another character struggles.
A narrative in which the characters, setting, and action stand for specific concepts, ideas, or principles. often takes the form of a story in which the characters represent moral qualities.
dramatic irony
Occurs when there is a discrepancy between what a character knows and what the audience knows.

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