figure of speech

noun phrase

Definition of figure of speech

: a form of expression (such as a simile or metaphor) used to convey meaning or heighten effect often by comparing or identifying one thing with another that has a meaning or connotation familiar to the reader or listener

First Known Use of figure of speech

1751, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of figure of speech was in 1751

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Cite this Entry

“Figure of speech.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for figure of speech

figure of speech


English Language Learners Definition of figure of speech

: a phrase or expression that uses words in a figurative way rather than in a plain or literal way

figure of speech

plural figures of speech

Kids Definition of figure of speech

: an expression (as a simile or a metaphor) that uses words in other than a plain or literal way

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