figure of speech

noun phrase

: 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

Examples of figure of speech in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Reynolds went against the artistic conventions of the time by giving a physical, monstrous form to Shakespeare’s figure of speech. Teresa Nowakowski, Smithsonian Magazine, 6 Nov. 2023 The novel’s vitality comes from Alex’s voice, with its buoyancy and confidence, its slightly jangly English and wonky figures of speech. Sara Holdren, Vulture, 10 Sep. 2023 People with advancing dementia will no longer understand figures of speech like metaphors or idioms. Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi, Discover Magazine, 5 May 2023 Weinersmith has successfully captured the spirit of this timeless story, weaving in generous amounts of alliteration and his version of Old English kennings, a compound figure of speech that replaces a common noun with two or more words that make for a more figurative than literal description. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 14 Apr. 2023 Even these little figures of speech can reflect how, in frustrating situations, you might be tempted to blame your nerves for acting up—or stress out about how to calm them down. Maggie O'Neill, SELF, 31 Mar. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'figure of speech.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1751, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of figure of speech was in 1751

Dictionary Entries Near figure of speech

Cite this Entry

“Figure of speech.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition

figure of speech

: a form of expression (as a simile or metaphor) that uses words other than in a plain or literal way
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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