Glossary of Literary Terms

alliteration – repetition of the same sounds or of the same type of sounds at the beginning of words or in stressed syllables

assonance – repetition of identical or similar vowel sounds

consonance – repetition of consonants or of a consonant pattern, especially at the ends of words

ellipsis – omission of a word or phrase necessary for a complete construction of a phrase or sentence but not necessary for understanding

foot – a section from a line of verse

free verse – verse with no regular pattern in either rhyme or line length

half-rhyme – partial or imperfect rhyme, often using assonance or consonance (also known as imperfect rhyme and pararhyme)

iambic – a foot of verse which uses unstressed, followed by stressed syllables

iambic pentameter – a common meter in poetry consisting of an unrhymed line with five feet, each foot containing an unaccented syllable and an accented syllable

imagery – use of vivid or figurative language to represent objects, actions, or ideas

metaphor – figure of speech in which a word or phrase that ordinarily designates one thing is used to designate another, thus making an implicit comparison

onomatopoeia – formation or use of words that imitate the sounds associated with the objects or actions to which they refer

oxymoron – figure of speech in which contradictory terms are combined

parable – simple story illustrating a moral or religious lesson

simile – figure of speech in which two essentially unlike things are compared, in a phrase containing such words as: like or as

syntax – the grammatical arrangement of words in sentences, to express a meaning