Skip Nav

Literature Glossary


❶Mystery fiction is only one of many literary forms. An allusion is an indirect reference to a person, place, event, or artistic work.

Chris Baldick

Don’t be an oxymoron. Know your literary terms.
Literary Devices and Terms
Navigation menu

Noun used to describe the stress put on a certain syllable while speaking a word. For example, there has been disagreement over the pronunciation of "Abora" in line 41 of "Kubla Khan" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. According to Herbert Tucker of the website For Better For Verse, the accent is on the first and last syllable of the word, making its pronunciation: Accentual verse is common in children's poetry. Nursery rhymes and the less well-known skipping-rope rhymes are the most common form of accentual verse in the English Language.

An acrostic is a poem or other form of writing in which the first letter, syllable, or word of each line, paragraph, or other recurring feature in the text spells out a word or a message. An Acrostic by Edgar Allan Poe. A word or phrase which modifies a noun or pronoun, grammatically added to describe, identify, or quantify the related noun or pronoun.

A describing word used to modify a verb, adjective, or another adverb. Typically ending in -ly, adverbs answer the questions when, how, and how many times. A type of writing in which the settings, characters, and events stand for other specific people, events, or ideas.

A figure of speech that makes a reference to, or representation of, people, places, events, literary work, myths, or works of art, either directly or by implication. An interjected scene that takes the narrative back in time from the current point the story has reached.

A version of the foot in poetry in which the first two syllables of a line are unstressed, followed by a stressed syllable. Intercept the syllables in and ter are unstressed followed by cept which is stressed. A short account of a particular incident or event, especially of an interesting or amusing nature. The adversary of the hero or protagonist of a drama or other literary work: Iago is the antagonist [18] of Othello.

The omission of conjunctions between clauses. An example is when John F. Kennedy said on January the 20th " Verse written in iambic pentameter without rhyme. Also known as "lexis" and "word choice," the term refers to the words selected for use in any oral, written, or literary expression.

Diction often centers on opening a great array of lexical possibilities with the connotation of words by maintaining first the denotation of words. A line in poetry that ends in a pause—indicated by a specific punctuation, such as a period or a semicolon. The continuing of a syntactic unit over the end of a line.

Enjambment occurs when the sense of the line overflows the meter and line break. A long poem that narrates the victories and adventures of a hero. It can be identified by lofty or elegant diction.

An interjected scene that takes the narrative forward in time from the current point of the story in literature, film, television, and other media. Prose written in a terse, haikai style, accompanied by haiku. Broad genre comprising the related forms haiku haikai-renga and haibun.

A line from a poem hat has six feet in its meter. Another name for hexameter is "The Alexandrine. In Japanese poetry , the opening stanza of a renga or renku haikai no renga. A figure of speech that alters the syntactic order of the words in a sentence or separates normally-associated words. The term may also be used more generally for all different figures of speech that transpose the natural word order in sentences.

A term where different subordinate clauses are used in a sentence to qualify a single verb or modify it. A word that's tacked onto a sentence in order to add strong emotion. It's grammatically unrelated to the rest of the sentence.

They are usually followed by an exclamation point. For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs , and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single entry from a reference work in OR for personal use for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice. Publications Pages Publications Pages. Search within my subject specializations: Medicine and health Music Names studies Performing arts Philosophy.

The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms 3 ed. Filter glossary terms by first letter. Showing 1 to 20 of Terms. Abecedarian Related to acrostic, a poem in which the first letter of each line or stanza follows sequentially through the alphabet. Accentual verse Verse whose meter is determined by the number of stressed accented syllables—regardless of the total number of syllables—in each line.

Accentual-syllabic verse Verse whose meter is determined by the number and alternation of its stressed and unstressed syllables, organized into feet. From line to line, the number of stresses accents may vary, but the total number of syllables within each line is fixed. The majority of English poems from the Renaissance to the 19th century are written according to this metrical system. Acmeism An early 20th-century Russian school of poetry that rejected the vagueness and emotionality of Symbolism in favor of Imagist clarity and texture.

Acrostic A poem in which the first letter of each line spells out a word, name, or phrase when read vertically. Allegory An extended metaphor in which the characters, places, and objects in a narrative carry figurative meaning.

Alliteration The repetition of initial stressed, consonant sounds in a series of words within a phrase or verse line. Allusion A brief, intentional reference to a historical, mythic, or literary person, place, event, or movement.

Logging out…

Main Topics

Privacy Policy

Literary Terms Dictionary A range of online literary dictionaries and glossaries, that include, among others: a Phrase finder glossary, Postmodern Terms and a literary glossary dedicated to Stephen King.

Privacy FAQs

Literary Devices refers to the typical structures used by writers in their works to convey his or her messages in a simple manner to the readers. When employed properly, the different literary devices help readers to appreciate, interpret and analyze a literary work. Below is a list of literary devices with detailed definition and examples.

About Our Ads

“This dictionary’s virtues and its plain-spokenness make it as apt to the bedside table as to the desk: Dr Baldick is a Brewer for specialized tastes” - Times Literary SupplementThe best-selling Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms (formerly the Concise dictionary) provides clear, concise, and often witty definitions of the most troublesome literary terms from . Reading and Literature – A Glossary of Literary Terms 3 Character: One of the people (or animals) in a story. Climax: The high point in the action of a story. Conflict: A problem or struggle between two opposing forces in a story. There are four basic conflicts: • Person Against Person: A problem between characters.

Cookie Info

Literary Terms: A Dictionary. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, ISBN Peter Childs. The Routledge Dictionary of Literary Terms. Routledge, ISBN J. A. Cuddon. The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory. Penguin Books, ISBN Dana Gioia. Welcome to ITS Tutorial School's comprehensive source of definitions for terms related to English Literature. It covers a wide range of terms, concepts and theories related to English literature. A brief biography of many well known authors has also been included. Over terms are defined.