Poetic Devices

These terms will help you identify devices in poetry and also be able to use them as you compose your own.
Read more...

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. allegory
    a short moral story
  2. alliteration
    use of the same consonant at the beginning of each word
  3. assonance
    the repetition of similar vowels in successive words
  4. consonance
    the property of sounding harmonious
  5. enjambment
    continuation from one line of verse into the next line
  6. imagery
    the ability to form mental pictures of things or events
  7. metaphor
    a figure of speech that suggests a non-literal similarity
  8. rhyme
    correspondence in the final sounds of two or more lines
  9. mood
    a characteristic state of feeling
  10. tone
    the distinctive property of a complex sound
  11. couplet
    a stanza consisting of two successive lines of verse
  12. foreshadowing
    the act of providing vague advance indications
  13. free verse
    poetry that does not rhyme or have a regular meter
  14. hyperbole
    extravagant exaggeration
  15. irony
    incongruity between what might be expected and what occurs
  16. literal
    limited to the explicit meaning of a word or text
  17. figurative
    not literal
  18. metonymy
    substituting the name of a feature for the name of the thing
  19. apostrophe
    a mark used to indicate the omission of one or more letters
  20. narrator
    someone who tells a story
  21. speaker
    someone who expresses in language
  22. onomatopoeia
    using words that imitate the sound they denote
  23. plot
    a small area of ground covered by specific vegetation
  24. point of view
    a mental position from which things are perceived
  25. protagonist
    the principal character in a work of fiction
  26. antagonist
    someone who offers opposition
  27. stanza
    a fixed number of lines of verse forming a unit of a poem
  28. rhythm
    an interval during which a recurring sequence occurs
  29. satire
    witty language used to convey insults or scorn
  30. setting
    the physical position of something
  31. simile
    a figure of speech expressing a resemblance between things
  32. synecdoche
    using part of something to refer to the whole thing
  33. symbol
    something visible that represents something invisible
  34. theme
    the subject matter of a conversation or discussion
  35. allusion
    passing reference or indirect mention
  36. personification
    attributing human characteristics to abstract ideas
  37. repetition
    the act of doing or performing again
  38. oxymoron
    conjoined contradictory terms
  39. syllable
    a unit of spoken language larger than a phoneme
  40. connotation
    an idea that is implied or suggested
  41. denotation
    the most direct or specific meaning of a word or expression
  42. pun
    a humorous play on words
  43. paradox
    a statement that contradicts itself

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.