Figures of Speech with Meaning | Figures of Speech or Rhetoric

    Figures of Speech or Rhetoric is one of the important literary device in English  literature, also they serve the purpose of making the English language more beautiful . 

So here we write a short note about what is “Rhetoric” and “Figures of Speech” and their origin and then we discuss about various figures of speech and their use in sentences and in the field of literature… 

Figures of Speech with Meaning

    The term, Rhetoric comes from the Greek word RHETOR meaning a public speaker. 

    The word actually means the art of the orator and it’s object is to teach the composition and delivery of speech for the purpose of moving the feelings of others. 

    The word RHETOR is now generally used to mean the whole art of graceful and effect composition whether spoken or written.

Figures of Speech with Meaning

    For this sort of effective composition, rhetorical ornaments known as Figures of speech

      The term “Figure” Comes from the Latin word   “FIGUR“. This word means the form or shape of an object. This word means the form or shape of reshaping of an object too. 

    The second meaning of the word refers to the remarkable actions with which a man stands out. To use it basically a departure from the plain and ordinary way of speaking out or expressing an idea for the sake of greater effect. 

    Through a sentence we use a particular figures of speech

    There were various figures of speech in English language. They serve the purpose of making the language  more beautiful . 

    Thus we found some figures of speech based on SIMILARITY,  some based on ASSOCIATION, some figures of speech based on CONTRAST OR DIFFERENCE.

Figures based on SIMILARITY : 


The word SIMILE come from the latin “SIMILIS”    meaning “likeness“.

When two dissimilar things / objects are compared to one another and the comparison bis stated, it is a Simile. 

One must remember two important points signified with a simile : 

I) The things or actions must be different. 

ii) There must be a point of similarity between this two different things  , there will be such words as ‘like‘ ,  ‘so‘ ,  ‘as‘ to serve as the connecting link.

Example – 

1.When like a roe, I bounded over the mountains                                         (Wordsworth) 

2.To follow knowledge like a sinking star,                  Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.                         ( Tennyson in “Ulysses”) 

3.The bride is red as a rose. 

4.Drive my dead thoughts over the universe             like Withered leaves to quicken a new birth.                                                ( Shelly) 

5. I wondered lonely as a cloud.                                                                ( Wordsworth) 

6.  And now, like amorous birds of prey                        Rather at once our time devour. 

     This is an example of simile. In this sentence ‘lovers’ are compared to ‘amorous birds of prey’ , though this are two different things but the comparison is done with a similar point- that is being ability to use time by love making. This is an explicit comparison as simile is an explicit statement of likeness between two different things or action. The sign of comparison is ‘like’. 

       There are two different kind of Simile 

  I) simple Simile 

  ii) Epic Simile

Metaphor –      

  ‘Metaphor‘ , the word has come from the Greek words ‘Meta ‘  meaning change and Phero meaning ‘ I bear’. 

Hence Metaphor means a transfer of significance. By this figure a word is transferred from the object to which it belongs to another object, in such a manner that a comparison is implied, though not formally expressed. 

     A Metaphor is often called an implied simile while a simile is called an expanded metaphor


 1.  The news you bring is a dagger to my heart. 

2.  I ‘ll drink life to the less. 

3. His crypt the clondy canopy. 

4. The gulls are sailing in the blue. 

5.   Camel is the ship of the desert.   Here the word ‘camel’ is compared to a ‘ship’ while the word ‘desert’ is compared to an ‘ ocean’ . The comparison is only implied and not clearly suggested. 

6.  Life’s but a walking shadow.  

          This is an example of Metaphor.  A Metaphor is an implicit statement or implied comparison between two very dissimilar things. In this sentence two dissimilar /different things /objects. ‘Life’  and ‘a walking shadow’  are implicitly compared to each other. 


Personal Metaphor – 

            It is more close to ‘personification’ than to ‘metaphor’ . 

In personal metaphor personal attributes are transferred to inanimate objects and an adjective is also attached to it for the purpose of conveying human feelings. 


1. The hungry sea 

2. The blushing rose

3.  The happy world 

4. The sullen sky 

5.   That to the sleeping woods all night singeth a quite tune 

    Here the term ‘woods’ has been said to be ‘sleeping ‘ which is an adjective. The woods are invested with human qualities and feelings. 

Allegory – 

    The word Allegory had come from the Greek word ‘ ALLOS‘ meaning ‘other ‘  and ‘AGORERO‘ meaning ‘I speak‘ 

    An ALLEGORY literally means a speech having a meaning other than the literal one. 

   An Allegory is a figure by which a length and detailed comparison is made between two un- allied subjects for the purpose on conveying some moral instruction. 

“Out of the head I sprung,  Amazement since           All the ‘host‘ of heaven etc.” 

 Parable – 

      The word Parable has come from the Greek words “para”  meaning ‘beside’  and ‘beallo‘ meaning ‘I throw ‘ . 

           A ‘parable‘  is an allegorical story meant to enforce some high moral or religious lesson as is found in ‘The new testament ‘ .


The parable of the good Samaritan. 

Fable –  A fable is a short fictitious  story with a moral. 

Here the irrational animals are general introduced as is found in Aesop’s Fable

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