Glossary of Poetic Terms

Glossary of Poetic Terms

Alliteration: The repetition of the same sounds or letters at the beginning of words i.e. ‘red rabbits running’

Assonance: When the syllables of words near one another are similar, particularly with the rhyming of stressed vocals (not consonants) but also different vowels with repeated consonants i.e. ‘true shoe’

Caesura: A pause near the middle of a line often created with the use of a comma or full stop i.e. ‘I stopped. I thought’

Consonance: The repetition of the same consonants within a sentence or poem. Not to be confused with assonance.

Enjambment: When a sentence carries on, past the end of a line or stanza.

Fricative: A type of consonant which produces a friction sound when voiced, for examples ‘f’ and ‘th’

Half-rhyme: Can also be called near rhyme, imperfect rhyme, oblique rhyme, or slant rhyme. A rhyme where the stressed syllables of ending consonants match but the vowels before do not; a type of rhyme where sounds are similar but not the same.

Metaphor: A form of imagery where an object, person or thing is described by referring to it as something else. This establishes a comparison between the two things within the metaphor. For example, describing clouds as ‘rabbits’ tails’

Meter: Patterns of stressed and unstressed syllables, which makes up the rhyming structure of poems.

Onomatopoeia: The term to describe when a word sounds like what it represents or when a word is formed by sounds associated with what it represents i.e. creak

Pathetic Fallacy: When the weather in a poem or other literary work matches the speaker’s mood. When humans apply emotions to inanimate things such as the weather or objects.

Rhyme: The repetition of sounds in a phrase.

Rhythm: A sound pattern created by syllables, long and short and stressed and unstressed, being alternated.

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