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Figure of speech   /fˈɪgjər əv spitʃ/   Listen
Figure of speech

noun
1.
Language used in a figurative or nonliteral sense.  Synonyms: figure, image, trope.






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Figure of speech" Quotes from Famous Books



... to build cities vertically instead of horizontally there passed from our highways a picturesque figure, and from our language an expressive figure of speech. That oily-tongued, persuasive, soft-stepping stranger in the rusty Prince Albert and the black string tie who had been wont to haunt our back steps and front offices with his carefully wrapped bundle, retreated in bewildered ...
— Personality Plus - Some Experiences of Emma McChesney and Her Son, Jock • Edna Ferber

... deep, coherent, and unfaltering process. And one feels that it was something more than the chance of the moment that led the singer of old to weave the tears and the rejoicings of men's lives into a figure of speech that stands for unity of process, even the ...
— The Threshold Grace • Percy C. Ainsworth

... he objected to every one of them, on the ground of formality. This was too long, and that was too short; one was too high, and another too low; a fifth was too broad, and a sixth too narrow; in short, there was no figure of speech of this nature to which he did not resort, in order to prove their worthlessness, with the exception that I do not remember he charged any of my reasons with being ...
— The Monikins • J. Fenimore Cooper

... after him wonderingly. He had never said it to her before. Perhaps it was a figure of speech which people reserved for travelling. She supposed there was always the danger of a possible accident. Ah! if they could only have started off together, as he said, and never gone back to ...
— A Princess in Calico • Edith Ferguson Black

... power which he had once let fall, he only received another lesson from Jan Steenbock, teaching him that a placid man was not necessarily one who would quietly put up with insult and rough treatment, and proving that the tables of life are frequently turned in fact as they sometimes are in figure of speech! ...
— The Island Treasure • John Conroy Hutcheson

... elevate the style, and raise it above prose. My purpose was to imitate, and, as far as is possible, to adopt the very language of men; and assuredly such personifications do not make any natural or regular part of that language. They are, indeed, a figure of speech occasionally prompted by passion, and I have made use of them as such; but have endeavoured utterly to reject them as a mechanical device of style, or as a family language which Writers in metre seem to lay claim to by prescription. ...
— The Prose Works of William Wordsworth • William Wordsworth

... asks, "a real application to unconscious organic phenomena, or do we use it outside its ancient limits only in a figure of speech?" ...
— Luck or Cunning? • Samuel Butler

... branches. The atmosphere was luckily still quite clear, a fresh breeze from the eastward having prevailed during the whole of that day; but a purplish haze was gathering on the western horizon, and my heart leapt into my mouth—to make use of a well-worn figure of speech—when, standing out in clear relief against this soft purple-grey background, I saw, far away in the south-western board, the gleaming white sails of a ship stretching in toward the land under ...
— The Congo Rovers - A Story of the Slave Squadron • Harry Collingwood

... gentlemen. Sir, I envy them the luxury of their own feelings on this occasion. (Cheers.) Every gentleman who hears me, is probably acquainted with the reply made by an individual, who—to use an ordinary figure of speech—"hung out" in a tub, to the emperor Alexander:—"if I were not Diogenes," said he, "I would be Alexander." I can well imagine these gentlemen to say, "If I were not Dumkins I would be Luffey; if I were not Podder I would be Struggles." (Enthusiasm.) But, gentlemen of Muggleton, ...
— The Pickwick Papers • Charles Dickens

... sent to the bottom; so many, indeed, that it became a common saying among seamen who were employed in the Baltic trade that if the North Sea were to dry up it would resemble a green field, because of the quantity of green steamers that had perished there. Perhaps the phrase was merely a picturesque figure of speech, as the North Sea makes no distinction as to the claim it has on its victims, and the colour of paint does neither attract nor repel its favour. Notwithstanding the startling evidence which proved that there was ...
— Windjammers and Sea Tramps • Walter Runciman

... or other Government official, but subject to the conditions of a deposit of 5s. an acre, actual residence and improvements to the value of L1 per acre in value. The balance of the purchase-money was to remain for a time, not limited by date, at 5% interest. It is no figure of speech to say that this law unlocked the lands to the industrious settler, and notwithstanding the abuses which too widely grew up, it was the means of bringing into existence hundreds of comfortable homes in all parts of the colony where the name ...
— A Source Book Of Australian History • Compiled by Gwendolen H. Swinburne

... the case of those who have been reduced to it after knowing other things. You often think, I doubt not, in quiet hours, what would become of your children, if you were gone. You have done, I trust, what you can to care for them, even from your grave: you think sometimes of a poetical figure of speech amid the dry technical phrases of English law: you know what is meant by the law of Mortmain; and you like to think that even your dead hand may be felt to be kindly intermeddling yet in the affairs of those who were your dearest: that some ...
— The Recreations of A Country Parson • A. K. H. Boyd

... the India trade. On this point the negotiators had taken refuge in that most useful figure of speech for hard-pressed diplomatists and law-makers—the ellipsis. They had left out the word India, and his Catholic Majesty might persuade himself that by such omission a hemisphere had actually been taken ...
— The Rise of the Dutch Republic, 1555-1566 • John Lothrop Motley

... flushing a little at the reappearance of his unhappy figure of speech, but perfectly self-possessed. "My lord—and you, Lord Glenalmond, my dear friend," he began, "this is a happy chance for me, that I can make my confession and offer my apologies to two ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. XIX (of 25) - The Ebb-Tide; Weir of Hermiston • Robert Louis Stevenson

... what I had not noticed before: that at the belt of each of the tall, silent young backwoodsmen hung one or more wet, heavy, red and black soggy strips. The scalping had been no mere figure of speech! Thank heaven! none of our own people ...
— Gold • Stewart White

... distinguish this motion from others, and to signify the causes of our sensations of heat, etc., the name repulsive motion has been adopted." Here we have a most important idea. It would be somewhat a bold figure of speech to say the earth and moon are kept apart by a repulsive motion; and yet, after all, what is centrifugal force but a repulsive motion, and may it not be that there is no such thing as repulsion, ...
— Scientific American Supplement, No. 460, October 25, 1884 • Various

... her to go to the F.C.D.C.'s. I will do all in my power to do this for you; but my dear lady, please understand, that in all matters concerning these little dances I must consult the powers that be. I am their humble servant; I must take orders from them.' All of which was a figure of speech on my part." The arbiter would then diplomatically suggest the possibility of a friend of social influence, and make some allusion to family. That always started the fair visitor. The family always went back ...
— Fifth Avenue • Arthur Bartlett Maurice

... about her he might have formed a larger estimate of her staying-power. But he did not yet know what she was. That bad word that he had once let out through the window had been in Ranny's simple mind a mere figure of speech, a flowering expletive, flung to the dark, devoid of meaning and of fitness. He did not know what Violet's impulses and her instincts really were. He did not know that what he called her flabbiness was the inertia in which they stored their strength, nor that ...
— The Combined Maze • May Sinclair

... believe them. It is like reading Evidence given in a Court of Justice. So anxious the story-teller seems, that the truth should be clearly comprehended, that when he has told us a matter of fact, or a motive, in a line or two farther down he repeats it with his favorite figure of speech, 'I say' so and so,—though he had made it abundantly plain before. This is in imitation of the common people's way of speaking, or rather of the way in which they are addressed by a master or mistress, ...
— The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb (Vol. 6) - Letters 1821-1842 • Charles and Mary Lamb

... mere figure of speech. You fully believed, I suppose, that perpetual total-abstinence was ...
— The Lights and Shadows of Real Life • T.S. Arthur

... print there in the dark. W'y don't you go over to the light?... I'll 'ave to 'ave them shutters tyken off the winders." This was Stryker's amiable figure of speech, frequently employed to indicate the ...
— The Black Bag • Louis Joseph Vance

... Denver, "there was no figure of speech about that. It said: 'at the hands of your dearest friend.' These jumpers ain't my friends and never was—come on, let's take a chance. I'll run 'em off the claims if your father will give you half of 'em, and then you can turn ...
— Silver and Gold - A Story of Luck and Love in a Western Mining Camp • Dane Coolidge

... then, that we are not here entitled to suppose Shakspere a reader of the Senecan tragedies; and even were it otherwise, the passage in question is a figure of speech rather than a reflection on life or a stimulus to such reflection. And the same holds good of the other interesting but inconclusive parallels drawn by ...
— Montaigne and Shakspere • John M. Robertson

... you expect me to believe you?" she demanded. "You tell me you are in earnest. But you know as well as I do that that is a mere figure of speech. You are never in earnest. You play all day long. You will do it all your life. You never do anything worth mentioning. Other people do the work. You simply skim the surface of things. You are ...
— The Tidal Wave and Other Stories • Ethel May Dell

... them, when she cut me short with the observation that she disliked stories in which animals talked, because they were not true! I was rebuked, and tried again with better success, until there came an unlucky figure of speech concerning a blossoming locust-tree, that bent its green boughs and laughed in the summer sunshine, because its flowers were fragrant and lovely, and the world so green and beautiful. This she thought, on sober second thought, a trifle silly, as trees never did laugh! Now, that exasperating ...
— Children's Rights and Others • Kate Douglas Smith Wiggin

... presently, "whom do you mean by the bird of red plumage? Is it a mere figure of speech? Or has ...
— The Judgment House • Gilbert Parker

... Euthydemus in Xenophon, Memorabilia) does not regard the greatest evil of Greek life as a thing not to be spoken of; but it has a ridiculous element (Plato's Symp.), and is a subject for irony, no less than for moral reprobation (compare Plato's Symp.). It is also used as a figure of speech which no one interpreted literally (compare Xen. Symp.). Nor does Plato feel any repugnance, such as would be felt in modern times, at bringing his great master and hero into connexion with nameless ...
— Symposium • Plato

... to Rahab, as "the dragon which is in the sea," all clearly referring to the kingdom of Egypt, personified as one of her own crocodiles lying-in-wait in her own river, the Nile, or transferred, by a figure of speech, to the Red Sea, which formed her eastern border. Thus in chapter li. Isaiah apostrophizes "the arm ...
— The Astronomy of the Bible - An Elementary Commentary on the Astronomical References - of Holy Scripture • E. Walter Maunder

... view, Christianity cannot be conceived of as an abstraction, apart from the person of Jesus, nor can his religion come unless he comes with it. Jesus is with us always, in the world always, and none the less really, because invisibly. It is no figure of speech to say that Christ is with his Church, and with his truth; that where it goes, he goes; that when he comes, it comes. It may even be that his presence will not always be an invisible one. It may be that what we now believe, ...
— Orthodoxy: Its Truths And Errors • James Freeman Clarke

... seems hardly necessary to say that the word impinge, as a general term to express collision of forces, is here used by a figure of speech, and not as expressive of any theory ...
— A System Of Logic, Ratiocinative And Inductive • John Stuart Mill

... see. Yes, Macedonia. Slight misunderstanding. It's written from Ireland all right. There's the Irish Command stamp on it. 'Come over to Macedonia and help us.' Biblical phrase. St. PAUL, you know. Just a figure of speech. ...
— Punch, Or The London Charivari, Vol. 156, April 9, 1919 • Various

... three shovelfuls, a typical number in their religious system, of which the first had relation to the Great Spirit, the second to the Sun, and the third to Mother Earth When the grave was filled the senior sachem, by a figure of speech, deposited "the horns" of the departed sachem, emblematic of his office, upon the top of the grave over his head, there to remain until his successor was installed In that subsequent ceremony "the horns" were said to be taken ...
— Houses and House-Life of the American Aborigines • Lewis H. Morgan

... dear boy, not literally, but in a figure of speech; as the Lord, when declaring he never will forget Zion, says, 'I have graven thee upon the palms of My hands; thy walls ...
— Tiger and Tom and Other Stories for Boys • Various

... conviction, and my judgment to-day approves the language I then used. For the first time in the history of our country we have a government to which the noble words of our Magna Charta of freedom may be applied,—not as a mere figure of speech, but as expressing a simple grand truth,—for it is a government which "derives all its just powers from the consent of the governed." We should pause long and weigh carefully the probable results of our action before consenting to change this government. A regard ...
— History of Woman Suffrage, Volume III (of III) • Various

... grave. There was treason in Congress, treason in the Supreme Court, treason in the army and navy. Confusion and discord were everywhere. To use Mr. Lincoln's forcible figure of speech, sinners were calling the righteous to repentance. Finally the flag, insulted and fired upon, trailed in surrender at Sumter; and then came the humiliation of the riot at Baltimore, and the President ...
— The Boys' Life of Abraham Lincoln • Helen Nicolay

... little red bantam way. Was I too much of an idiot to see the connection? As soon as the Carlisle business became known, this young scoundrel flies the country. Couldn't I see an inch before my blind nose? Forbearing to question this remarkable figure of speech, I asked him how so confidential a matter could ...
— The Red Planet • William J. Locke

... street are not only forcible but subtle: for a figure of speech can often get into a crack too small for a definition. Phrases like "put out" or "off colour" might have been coined by Mr. Henry James in an agony of verbal precision. And there is no more subtle truth than that of the everyday phrase about a man having "his ...
— Orthodoxy • G. K. Chesterton

... a variety of subjects which are interesting to children, to which we may apply Bacon's principle; for instance, a child is eager to hear a story which you are going to tell him; you may exercise his attention by your manner of telling this story; you may employ with advantage the beautiful figure of speech called suspension: but you must take care, that the hope which is long deferred be at last gratified. The young critics will look back when your story is finished, and will examine whether their attention has been wasted, or whether all the particulars ...
— Practical Education, Volume I • Maria Edgeworth

... I now found, was a mere formula or figure of speech, and consisted only in throwing garlands over me. Still I was much comforted, not merely by the grace and cordiality of their welcome, but by the mention of Ila, whose name will doubtless be familiar to my readers as occurring in ...
— Fashionable Philosophy - and Other Sketches • Laurence Oliphant

... between man and monster might very well take place somewhere where the green culture of the fields meets the red desolation of the desert. As a matter of fact, I dare say, legend locates the duel itself somewhere else, but I am only making use of the legend as a legend, or even as a convenient figure of speech. I would only use it here to make a kind of picture which may clarify a kind of paradox, very vital to our present attitude towards all Palestinian traditions, including those that are more sacred even than St. George. This paradox has already ...
— The New Jerusalem • G. K. Chesterton

... appropriately favourite haunts of the nightingales on their return with the season of gladness from their winter resorts in the woods of the Caspian coast. The Persian poets tell of the passionate love of the nightingale for the scented rose, and in fanciful figure of speech make the full-blossomed flower complain of too much kissing from its bird-lover, so that its sweetness goes, and its beauty fades far too sadly soon. The boys told me of the number of family pairs, their nests and eggs, and said that they took the young male birds when fully fledged and about ...
— Persia Revisited • Thomas Edward Gordon

... Frenchman—and with astounding grace proceeded to the presentation. The Shah was curt in his words and much to the point, and I was greatly delighted at the charming directness of his remarks. There was no figure of speech, no tawdry metaphor in ...
— Across Coveted Lands - or a Journey from Flushing (Holland) to Calcutta Overland • Arnold Henry Savage Landor

... style. Mary adds concrete, specific words and phrases; e.g., at the end of the first paragraph of Mathilda's speech, the words "of incertitude" appear in Mathilda for the first time. She cancels, even in this final draft, an over-elaborate figure of speech after the words in the father's reply, "implicated in my destruction"; the cancelled passage is too flowery to be appropriate here: "as if when a vulture is carrying off some hare it is struck by an arrow his helpless victim entangled in the same fate is killed by the defeat of its enemy. ...
— Mathilda • Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

... and renewal which business entails leave the equivalent of the million dollars always on hand, though never in the literal shape of money. A stock of shifting goods always worth a million dollars is, by a figure of speech, described as a million ...
— Essentials of Economic Theory - As Applied to Modern Problems of Industry and Public Policy • John Bates Clark

... the poet, waving his heavy white hand, "is a figure of speech, Mr. Wayne. Only by the process of elimination can one arrive at the exquisite simplicity of poverty—care-free poverty. Even a single penny is a burden—the flaw in the marble, the fly in the amber of perfection. Cast it away and enter Eden!" And joining thumb and forefinger, ...
— Iole • Robert W. Chambers

... is not a mere figure of speech. Sundry learned pundits have been of opinion that the ancient Hindu knew no needle-made clothing, and Colonel Meadows Taylor has alleged that they had not even a word for the tailor's craft in their ...
— The Travels of Marco Polo, Volume 2 • Marco Polo and Rustichello of Pisa

... a current" is now understood to be mere figure of speech; it is thought that a wire does little else than give direction to electric energy. Pulsations of high tension have been proved to be mainly superficial in their journeys, so that they are best conveyed (or convoyed) by conductors of tubular form. And what ...
— Little Masterpieces of Science: - Invention and Discovery • Various

... remarkably limited comprehensions then if they are incapable of understanding so simple a figure of speech, as that there are two ways to go, and one is harder and safer than the other. I understood it when it was sung to me—and I was a very little child—and believed it, too, until I saw the lives of people contradict it; but if ...
— Four Girls at Chautauqua • Pansy

... his head to suppress a convulsion of laughter, but the crowd applauded the figure of speech, and the ...
— Greifenstein • F. Marion Crawford

... by modern painters or sculptors, of wealth, of commerce, of health, for instance, shocks, in most cases, the aesthetic sense, as something conventional or rhetorical, as a mere transparent allegory, or figure of speech, which could please almost no one. On the other hand, such symbolical representations, under the form of human persons, as Giotto's Virtues and Vices at Padua, or his Saint Poverty at Assisi, or the series of the planets in certain early Italian ...
— Greek Studies: A Series of Essays • Walter Horatio Pater

... truth. The supernatural was real, the spiritual actual. The conflict between the powers of light and the powers of darkness, between good angels and evil angels, between benign influences and malefic forces, was no figure of speech with her, but a reality. In these last years of her life more especially the earthly veil seemed to have fallen over her eyes. She seemed to have grasped something of the vision of the servant of Elisha, for whom the prophet prayed: "Lord, I pray Thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the ...
— The Romance of Isabel Lady Burton Volume II • Isabel Lady Burton & W. H. Wilkins

... religion it means simply that Christ's life was given for our life. Hence all this talk of men who say the Bible story of blood is disgusting, and that they don't want what they call a "slaughter-house religion," only shows their incapacity or unwillingness to look through the figure of speech toward the thing signified. The blood that, on the darkest Friday the world ever saw, oozed, or trickled, or poured from the brow, and the side, and the hands, and the feet of the illustrious sufferer, back of Jerusalem, in a few hours coagulated and dried up, and forever disappeared; ...
— New Tabernacle Sermons • Thomas De Witt Talmage

... me, I can not tell you which one is to be the hero and which the villain—but, let that go, for I am sure of one thing at least: this story has no villain. But it followed just as naturally as day follows night—for which figure of speech, my thanks to Mr. Shakespeare—that when Father Ilwin failed to do well, he grew gloomy and sad; and just as naturally—God help us—there was enough of human nature in Father Tom to say, "I told you so" to himself, and to have him pity Father Ilwin to others in that superior sort of way ...
— The City and the World and Other Stories • Francis Clement Kelley

... that spring of which the poets talk, but which we so seldom enjoy. Such an autumn glows upon us like a splendid evening; it is the very sunset of the year; and I have been tempted forth into a wider range of enjoyment than usual. This WALK (if I may use the Irish figure of speech called a bull) will be a RIDE. A very dear friend has beguiled me into accompanying her in her pretty equipage to her beautiful home, four miles off; and having sent forward in the style of a running footman the servant who had driven her, she assumes ...
— Our Village • Mary Russell Mitford

... the same as the olive-trees and the candle-sticks to prevent our being led astray with the supposition that they were actually intelligent agents. (I speak humanly.) Accepting this statement, the actions of these witnesses here described can be explained only by the figure of speech known as Personification, by which it is proper, under certain conditions, to attribute life, action, and intelligence to inanimate objects. Thus, the blood of Abel is said to have cried from the ground. Gen. 4:9, 10. ...
— The Revelation Explained • F. Smith

... that ends our figure of speech; for only the pitifulness of the defeat is the Great Mogul's; the sublimity of suicide is ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 1, No. 4, February, 1858 • Various

... hair and washed behind his ears, a word now and then to show that he is awake (I am assuming that he controls the tendency to wriggle)—and no more is needed. He is a lay figure, but not necessarily a lay figure of speech. ...
— The Perfect Gentleman • Ralph Bergengren

... apparent enough. The literary "Boom," for example, affected the entire reading public of the early nineteenth century. It was no figure of speech that "everyone" was reading Byron or puzzling about the Waverley mystery, that first and most successful use of the unknown author dodge. The booming of Dickens, too, forced him even into the reluctant hands of Omar's Fitzgerald. But the factory-syren voice of the modern "boomster" ...
— Anticipations - Of the Reaction of Mechanical and Scientific Progress upon - Human life and Thought • Herbert George Wells

... Without any figure of speech I feel quite ashamed when I think of you, Bertie. I send you one or two enormously long letters, burdened, as far as I can remember them, with all sorts of useless detail. Then, in spite of your kindly answers and your sympathy, which I have ...
— The Stark Munro Letters • J. Stark Munro

... shortening of life, this accumulating amount of ill health, causes an annual loss, in each of our great cities, of productive capacity to the value of millions of dollars, as well as an unnatural expense of millions more. This is no figure of speech. The community is poorer by millions of dollars each year through the waste which it allows of health and life. Leaving out of view all humane considerations, all thought of the misery, social and moral, which accompanies this physical degradation, and looking simply ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 5, No. 32, June, 1860 • Various

... a time comes when reasonable men find it hard to understand how any one in his senses can suppose that by eating bread or drinking wine he consumes the body or blood of a deity. "When we call corn Ceres and wine Bacchus," says Cicero, "we use a common figure of speech; but do you imagine that anybody is so insane as to believe that the thing he feeds upon ...
— The Golden Bough - A study of magic and religion • Sir James George Frazer

... was in active operation. A small quarter of the great slope of masonry facing the stage was roped off into an auditorium, in which the narrow level space between the foot-lights and the lowest step figured as the pit. Foot-lights are a figure of speech, for the performance was going on in the broad glow of the afternoon, with a delightful and apparently by no means misplaced confidence in the good-will of the spectators. What the piece was that was deemed so superbly able to shift for itself I know not—very possibly the same drama ...
— Italian Hours • Henry James

... from the train (a figure of speech merely; we were covered with dust), had just arrived at the home of Ananta, recently transferred from Calcutta to the ancient city of Agra. Brother was a supervising ...
— Autobiography of a YOGI • Paramhansa Yogananda

... duvs," said Jeff's aunt, generally, "and let 'em be thankful ez doesn't aboos the stren'th the Lord gives 'em, but be allers ready to answer for it at the bar o' their Maker." Possibly some suggestion in her figure of speech reminded her of Jeff's forgotten duties, so she added in the same breath and tone, "especially when transient customers is waiting for their licker, and Yuba Bill hammerin' on the counter with his glass; and yer ...
— Jeff Briggs's Love Story • Bret Harte

... nation; and whether or no this be a valuable and suggestive metaphor, very few people notice that it is a metaphor at all. If somebody said that a certain deserving charity had just gone into trousers, we should recognise that it was a figure of speech, and perhaps a rather surprising figure of speech. If somebody said that a daily paper had recently put its hair up, we should know it could only be a metaphor, and possibly a rather strained metaphor. Yet these phrases would mean the only thing that can possibly be ...
— What I Saw in America • G. K. Chesterton

... writers. Had Prescott ever seen them, he would doubtless have come to the same conclusion. "Hanging" gardens do not necessarily depend from anything, "floating" islands need not necessarily float. They really have the appearance of buoyancy to-day, and hence the figure of speech which has been universally applied to them. "I have not seen any floating gardens," says R. A. Wilson, author of "Mexico and its Religion," "nor, on diligent inquiry, have I been able to find a man, woman, or child that ever has seen them, nor do I believe that ...
— Aztec Land • Maturin M. Ballou

... know I'm conservative, doctor, but I'm glad you're consistent. She did send another valentine. I am afraid she strained this figure of speech about the boat. But when everything in the world depends on one metaphor, it will not do to be fastidious. Jennie drew again the little boat with misspelt name. And this time she added five words: 'The ...
— Duffels • Edward Eggleston

... concentrates, and while he radiates never irradiates. A late divine was suspected of heresy, partly because of his poetic bias; and one of his volumes was unfortunate for him and his readers, in that for his central position he planted himself on a figure of speech, and not on a logical proposition. The well-known story se non vero e ben trovato, of that keenest of lawyers, listening to a lecture of which every sentence was a gem and every paragraph rich with the spoils of literature, and ...
— The History of Dartmouth College • Baxter Perry Smith

... a figure of speech," she said, impatiently. "Our language is full of barbaric figures left over from the dark ages. But, oh, Ramsey!"—she touched his sleeve—"I've heard that Fred Mitchell is saying that he's going ...
— Ramsey Milholland • Booth Tarkington

... their former habitat be rendered fit to support good plants. The parable is to be studied in the spirit of its purpose; and strained inferences or extensions are unwarranted. A strong metaphor, a striking simile, or any other expressive figure of speech, is of service only when rationally applied; if carried beyond the bounds of reasonable intent, the best of such may become ...
— Jesus the Christ - A Study of the Messiah and His Mission According to Holy - Scriptures Both Ancient and Modern • James Edward Talmage

... Clear-sighted and prudent, loving and unselfish at the same time, his glance is projected downwards; and all things that are illumined by this double ray of light, nature conjures to discharge their strength, to reveal their most hidden secret, and this through bashfulness. It is more than a mere figure of speech to say that he surprised Nature with that glance, that he caught her naked; that is why she would conceal her shame by seeming precisely the reverse. What has hitherto been invisible, the inner life, seeks its salvation in the region of the visible; ...
— Thoughts out of Season (Part One) • Friedrich Nietzsche

... we say the Father and the Son are one principle, this word "principle" has not determinate supposition but rather it stands indeterminately for two persons together. Hence there is a fallacy of "figure of speech" as the argument concludes from the indeterminate to ...
— Summa Theologica, Part I (Prima Pars) - From the Complete American Edition • Thomas Aquinas

... included in the classification of rights in common, yet in time they amount to the same. The mere statement that "the colored brother can have half of their blankets whenever they want them," while doubtless a figure of speech, yet it signifies that under this very extreme of speech an appreciable advance of the race. It does not mean that there is to be a storming of the social barriers, for even in the more favored races definite lines are drawn. Sets and circles adjust ...
— History of Negro Soldiers in the Spanish-American War, and Other Items of Interest • Edward A. Johnson

... a glance at the mountain, drew upon his memory for sundry squalls and gales which he had seen himself, and thought the boatman's figure of speech less extravagant than it ...
— The Headsman - The Abbaye des Vignerons • James Fenimore Cooper

... of one thing for another.] Substitution — N. substitution, commutation; supplanting &c v.; metaphor, metonymy &c (figure of speech) 521. [Thing substituted] substitute, ersatz, makeshift, temporary expedient, replacement, succedaneum; shift, pis aller [Fr.], stopgap, jury rigging, jury mast, locum tenens, warming pan, dummy, scapegoat; double; changeling; quid pro quo, alternative. representative &c (deputy) 759; palimpsest. ...
— Roget's Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases: Body • Roget

... phrases which may call up conflicting mental images. When using metaphor, simile, etc., carry one figure of speech through, instead of shifting to another, or dropping suddenly ...
— The Century Handbook of Writing • Garland Greever

... received as a figure of speech. Old Betty Higden however tired, however footsore, would start up and be driven away by her awakened horror of falling into the hands of Charity. It is a remarkable Christian improvement, to have made a pursuing Fury of the Good Samaritan; but it was so in this ...
— Our Mutual Friend • Charles Dickens

... with the sin against the Holy Ghost (Luke), allowing for the difference between Greek and Christian modes of speaking. To this is opposed the lie in words, which is only such a deception as may occur in a play or poem, or allegory or figure of speech, or in any sort of accommodation,—which though useless to the gods may be useful to men in certain cases. Socrates is here answering the question which he had himself raised about the propriety of deceiving a madman; ...
— The Republic • Plato

... Conrad's mind is so rich, it has been so well mulched by years of vigorous life and sober thinking, that it pushes tendrils of radiant speculation into every crevice of the structure upon which it busies itself. This figure of speech leaves much to be desired and calls for apology, but in perversity and profusion the trellis growth of Mr. Conrad's memories, here blossoming before the delighted reader's eyes, runs like some ardent ...
— Shandygaff • Christopher Morley

... you were dead!" I say tersely, and it is not a figure of speech. For the moment I ...
— Nancy - A Novel • Rhoda Broughton

... that prove that both God and man have forgiven and forgotten it? Shall the Judge of all the earth do right in the matter of all men's guilt but ours? Does the apostle's warning not hold in our case?—his awful warning that we shall all stand before the judgment-seat? And is it only a strong figure of speech that the books shall be opened till we shall cry to the mountains to fall on us and to the rocks to cover us? Oh no! the truth is, the half has not been told us of the speechless stupefaction that shall fall on us when the trumpet shall ...
— Bunyan Characters - Third Series - The Holy War • Alexander Whyte

... about the age of thirty-four years. The family type is strong. One of the Pope's nieces might have sat for a portrait of his mother. The extraordinarily clear, pale complexion is also a family characteristic. Leo the Thirteenth's face seems cut of live alabaster, and it is not a figure of speech to say that it appears to emit a light ...
— Ave Roma Immortalis, Vol. 2 - Studies from the Chronicles of Rome • Francis Marion Crawford

... of death for its object, as we find proved in Ethic. iii, 6. Wherefore the inordinateness of this fear is opposed to fortitude which regards dangers of death. For this reason timidity is said to be antonomastically* opposed to fortitude. [*Antonomasia is the figure of speech whereby we substitute the general for the individual term; e.g. The Philosopher for Aristotle: and so timidity, which is inordinate fear of any evil, is employed to denote inordinate fear of ...
— Summa Theologica, Part II-II (Secunda Secundae) • Thomas Aquinas

... since reading the latter, I do not see how I could have answered it better. My speech certainly was better cheered than any other; especially one passage, where I made a colossus of Mr. Browne, at which the audience grew so tumultuous in their applause that they drowned my figure of speech before it was half out ...
— Passages From the English Notebooks, Complete • Nathaniel Hawthorne

... to think that, after having so long anticapated that party, I am now here in sackcloth and ashes, which is a figure of speech for the Peter Thompson uniform of the school, with plain white for ...
— Bab: A Sub-Deb • Mary Roberts Rinehart

... take with you to make you distinguish between the work of the poet and that of the rhymester, I should have thought by this time you would have known a little more about the nature of poetry. Personification is a figure of speech in constant use ...
— Sir Gibbie • George MacDonald

... has committed no grievous crime, that except he has repented of his evil self, and abjured all wrong, he is not safe from any, even the worst offence. There was a time when I could not understand that he who loved not his brother was a murderer: now I see it to be no figure of speech, but, in the realities of man's moral and spiritual nature, an absolute simple fact. The murderer and the unloving sit on the same bench before the judge of eternal truth. The man who loves not his brother, I do not say is at this moment capable of killing him, but if ...
— Thomas Wingfold, Curate • George MacDonald

... was to bring myself and the journalist in a more close relation. If I know anything at all of human nature—and the if is no mere figure of speech, but stands for honest doubt—no series of benefits conferred, or even dangers shared, would have so rapidly confirmed our friendship as this quarrel avoided, this fundamental difference of taste and training ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. 13 (of 25) • Robert Louis Stevenson

... everywhere and at all times, in a far more comprehensive way, out of Parliament altogether? Burke said there were Three Estates in Parliament; but, in the Reporters' Gallery yonder, there sat a Fourth Estate more important far than they all. It is not a figure of speech, or a witty saying; it is a literal fact,—very momentous to us in these times. Literature is our Parliament too. Printing, which comes necessarily out of Writing, I say often, is equivalent to Democracy: invent Writing, Democracy is inevitable. ...
— Sartor Resartus, and On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History • Thomas Carlyle

... lines. Their gorgeous colouring has effaced me altogether. People forget how much mode of expression, method of movement, are a matter of contagion. I have heard of stage-struck people before, and thought it a figure of speech. I spoke of it jestingly, as a disease. It is no jest. It is a disease. And I have got it badly! Deep down within me I protest against the wrong done to my personality—unavailingly. For three hours or ...
— The Country of the Blind, And Other Stories • H. G. Wells

... would use a little different figure of speech," returned Blind Charlie smoothly. "When I've got a coon up a hollow tree I build a fire in the hollow to bring him ...
— Counsel for the Defense • Leroy Scott

... interrogative point, but the height of our affirmation is taken with it. It is a figure of speech and intensifies ...
— The Philosophy of the Plays of Shakspere Unfolded • Delia Bacon

... observes: "The two dialogues together contain the whole philosophy of Plato on the nature of love, which in The Republic and in the later writings of Plato is only introduced playfully or as a figure of speech. But in the Phaedrus and Symposium love and philosophy join hands, and one is an aspect of the other. The spiritual and emotional is elevated into the ideal, to which in the Symposium mankind are described as looking forward, and which in the Phaedrus, as well as ...
— A Short History of Greek Philosophy • John Marshall

... elements at such times is no figure of speech. What has so disturbed the peace in the electric equilibrium, as to make possible this sudden outburst, this steep incline in the stream of energy, this ethereal Niagara pouring from heaven to earth? ...
— The Breath of Life • John Burroughs

... temptation of taunting the fallen foe, and he missed no opportunity to rub into the shamed inhabitants of Matautu the bitterness of their humiliation. He broke their spirit. And one morning, putting their pride in their pockets, a figure of speech, since pockets they had not, they all set out with the strangers and started working on the road. It was urgent to get it done quickly if they wanted to save any food at all, and the whole village ...
— The Trembling of a Leaf - Little Stories of the South Sea Islands • William Somerset Maugham

... relation to Him as determined not by statutory but by cosmic law, who regard sin and righteousness alike as the working out of the fundamental forces of life itself, the conception of God as King and of man as condemned or acquitted subject is but a figure of speech. ...
— The Church, the Schools and Evolution • J. E. (Judson Eber) Conant

... the teeth of her grandmother's cat! I must rank pretty low in the consideration of Dejah Thoris, I thought; but I could not help laughing at the strange figure of speech, so homely and in this respect so earthly. It made me homesick, for it sounded very much like "not fit to polish her shoes." And then commenced a train of thought quite new to me. I began to wonder what my people at home were doing. I had not seen them for years. There was a family ...
— A Princess of Mars • Edgar Rice Burroughs

... it's gospel your Honour," I heard the man reply; and, I believe, sailors do hand down to each other a tradition of that kind; for there is a figure of speech, and it is nothing more, with which the English men-of-war's men used to hail the lobster smacks going up ...
— A Yacht Voyage to Norway, Denmark, and Sweden - 2nd edition • W. A. Ross

... figure of speech 'in the fulness of time' embodies a truth too often forgotten. History knows nothing of spontaneous generation; the chain of cause and effect is unbroken, and however modest be the scale on which an historical work is cast, the reader has ...
— The Liberation of Italy • Countess Evelyn Martinengo-Cesaresco

... and sure way to life eternal. (2) If by violation of the law they have displeased God, he requires repentance and reformation as the only and sure ground of forgiveness. (3) There will be a judgment according to works. This Gospel wrought a change which by a figure of speech is called "a new birth"' (Sec. 13). Like Tindal, he contrasts the certainty of natural with the uncertainty of any traditional religion. He owns 'the Christian revelation was expedient because of the general corruption; but ...
— The English Church in the Eighteenth Century • Charles J. Abbey and John H. Overton

... thus clearly saw, and distinctly asserted, that the factors of organic evolution are the concrete actions, inner and outer, to which every organism is subject, Mr. Darwin, by habitually using the convenient figure of speech, was, I think, prevented from recognizing so fully as he would otherwise have done, certain ...
— Essays: Scientific, Political, & Speculative, Vol. I • Herbert Spencer

... hand, or is not merely a general resemblance expressed by some phrase or word which seems to mean more than it does. In other words, when you are testing an analogy, whether your own or an opponent's, make sure that the similarity is real for the present case. A picturesque figure of speech may add life to an argument, but it may also cover ...
— The Making of Arguments • J. H. Gardiner

... whisky-peddlers and horse-thieves. He was completely surrounded by thousands of the most warlike of Western Indians, with some thousands still more warlike just over the line. Perhaps it was well that he hailed from the land where they say, "A stout heart to a stey brae," because, if a figure of speech from the sea is permissible on the prairie, he and his men knew that they had "burned their ship behind them," and that they must hold their ground or perish. They proved equal to their task, but a sketch or two from the reports of that period reveal the situation even to those ...
— Policing the Plains - Being the Real-Life Record of the Famous North-West Mounted Police • R.G. MacBeth

... you're too good—I don't deserve such sacrifices," said Peter, who read in his kinsman's face that this was not a figure of speech but the absolute truth. "Didn't it, however, occur to you that, as it would turn out, I might—I even naturally would—myself ...
— The Tragic Muse • Henry James

... a mere figure of speech," and Mr. Crane smiled, too. "However, I was allowed to see her and have a real seance—oh, Helen," he turned to his wife, "I can scarcely wait to go there again and have you go ...
— The Come Back • Carolyn Wells

... would conduct themselves in a most circumspect and caballeroso manner—"but," he concluded, "in the most public street of Panama city the first time we meet those three dogs—we shall spit in their faces—that's all, nada mas," and the blazing eyes announced all too plainly what he meant by that figure of speech. ...
— Zone Policeman 88 - A Close Range Study of the Panama Canal and its Workers • Harry A. Franck

... indignation for a long time; and in his case this was not a mere figure of speech either, but a grim reality, for ...
— The Strange Cabin on Catamount Island • Lawrence J. Leslie

... way; she was winning sympathy, confidence, and respect every where—when she sank suddenly at the opening of her new life. Nobody could account for it. The doctors themselves were divided in opinion. Scientifically speaking, there was no reason why she should die. It was a mere figure of speech—in no degree satisfactory to any reasonable mind—to say, as Lady Lundie said, that she had got her death-blow on the day when her husband deserted her. The one thing certain was the fact—account for it as you might. In spite of science (which meant little), in spite ...
— Man and Wife • Wilkie Collins

... Sir Herbert's later days it was a mere pleasantry, or bold figure of speech to say that his court had risen, for he used to be lifted from his chair and carried bodily from the chamber of justice by two brawny footmen. Of course, as soon as the judge was about to be elevated by his bearers, the bar rose; and also as a matter of course the bar continued to ...
— A Book About Lawyers • John Cordy Jeaffreson

... decorating it with an Italian flag. The old gentleman protested, and was thereupon taken to the barracks, where he remained for one day. The Yugoslavs told us that the state of things was worse than in Africa—but that was a figure of speech; the facts were that the different societies and clubs had been closed, that all persons going down to the harbour had been forbidden to speak their own language to their friends on board ship, that ...
— The Birth of Yugoslavia, Volume 2 • Henry Baerlein

... implying vigour, or vivacity, or crudity, or inexperience, or hope, or a long life before them or any of the romantic attributes of youth, then it is surely as clear as daylight that we are duped by a stale figure of speech. We can easily see the matter clearly by applying it to any other institution parallel to the institution of an independent nationality. If a club called "The Milk and Soda League" (let us say) was set up yesterday, ...
— Heretics • Gilbert K. Chesterton

... unexpected caresses on the most cavalier of her wooers, Poetry. This world, the child of Sense and Faith, shy, wild, and provocative, for ever lures her lovers to the chase, and the record of their hopes and conquests is contained in the lover's language, made up wholly of parable and figure of speech. There is nothing under the sun nor beyond it that does not concern man, and it is the unceasing effort of humanity, whether by letters or by science, to bring "the commerce of the mind and of things" to terms ...
— Style • Walter Raleigh

... accepted. If that peculiarity ever existed—for my part, I have never met with it at any time—it does so no longer. When a Spaniard speaks of his house as that of "your Grace" (su casa de Usted), it is simply a figure of speech, which has no more special meaning than our own "I am delighted to see you," addressed to some one whose existence you had forgotten, and will forget again; but nothing can exceed the generous hospitality often shown to perfect strangers ...
— Spanish Life in Town and Country • L. Higgin and Eugene E. Street

... was connected the feeling, increasing with his advance to manhood, of a poetic beauty in mere clearness of thought, the actually aesthetic charm of a cold austerity of mind; as if the kinship of that to the clearness of physical light were something more than a figure of speech. Of all those various religious fantasies, as so many forms of enthusiasm, he could well appreciate the picturesque; that was made easy by his natural Epicureanism, already prompting [125] him to conceive of himself as but the passive spectator of the world around him. But it was to the severer ...
— Marius the Epicurean, Volume One • Walter Horatio Pater

... were unable to afford a sufficient number of troops to force the town into surrender. So Kimberley kept up its spirits—it viewed life with "one auspicious and one drooping eye"—mingling the discharge of guns with the chime of marriage-bells. This is no figure of speech, for there was actually a wedding—two people, at least, having found time to be romantic in their love amid the storm and stress of war. A dance and a concert also took place. Indeed, things were conducted with such high spirit and in so convivial ...
— South Africa and the Transvaal War, Vol. 2 (of 6) - From the Commencement of the War to the Battle of Colenso, - 15th Dec. 1899 • Louis Creswicke

... knew Mr. Trollop, "and was aware that he had a Blank-Blank;"—[**Her private figure of speech for Brother—or Son-in-law]—but Mr. Buckstone said that he was not able to conceive what so curious a phrase as Blank-Blank might mean, and had no wish to pry into the matter, since it was probably private, he "would nevertheless venture the blind assertion that ...
— The Gilded Age, Complete • Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner

... the "bottom of the bag" is quite a figure of speech—lucus a non lucendo. Strictly speaking, it had no bottom; but, where this should have been, there was a round aperture, formed by a stout hoop of ringall bamboo, to which the skin covering was lashed, and to which, also, the cords intended to sustain the afore-mentioned basket, as also the ...
— The Cliff Climbers - A Sequel to "The Plant Hunters" • Captain Mayne Reid

... that I would try to secure your happiness. I know what you want, need, and deserve, and here is this perfect child—the one woman for you, snatched from under your nose by Clive Cameron who will—" Emily Tweksbury sought for a figure of speech—"who will, without doubt, end in ...
— The Shield of Silence • Harriet T. Comstock

... rarely attainable by men. What are called the graces of composition are often its blemishes. There is no better test of beauties or defects of style than to judge them by the standard of letter writing. An expression, a phrase, a figure of speech, thought to be very splendid in itself, would often appear perfectly ridiculous if introduced in a letter. The rule of the cynic is a pretty good one, after all: In writing, when you think you have done something ...
— Continental Monthly , Vol IV, Issue VI, December 1863 - Devoted to Literature and National Policy. • Various

... of dwarfs, will be first felt in her Majesty's recruiting department. The standard will, of necessity, be lowered; the dwarfs will grow smaller and smaller; the vulgar expression "a man of his inches" will become a figure of fact, instead of a figure of speech; crack regiments, household-troops especially, will pick the smallest men from all parts of the country; and in the two little porticoes at the Horse Guards, two Tom Thumbs will be daily seen, doing ...
— Miscellaneous Papers • Charles Dickens

... Dammit's mother had entailed upon her son. He was detestably poor, and this was the reason, no doubt, that his expletive expressions about betting, seldom took a pecuniary turn. I will not be bound to say that I ever heard him make use of such a figure of speech as "I'll bet you a dollar." It was usually "I'll bet you what you please," or "I'll bet you what you dare," or "I'll bet you a trifle," or else, more significantly still, "I'll bet the ...
— The Works of Edgar Allan Poe - Volume 5 (of 5) of the Raven Edition • Edgar Allan Poe

... hoofs, innocent ways and edibility are well known. When we apply to anything the term 'sheep,' we imply that it has these qualities: 'sheep,' denoting the animal, connotes its possessing these characteristics; and, of course, it cannot, without a figure of speech or a blunder, be used to denote anything that does not possess all these qualities. It is by a figure of speech that the term 'sheep' is applied to some men; and to apply it to goats would be ...
— Logic - Deductive and Inductive • Carveth Read

... as cook and cabin-boy on board a "horse-jockey;" one of those vessels which carry horses, mules, and other cattle to the West Indies; a title bestowed upon them by sailors, who are very much in the habit of indulging in that figure of speech called by rhetoricians metonymy; in this instance applying the genuine name of all Connecticut men, and some Rhode Islanders, to a fore-topsail schooner, or hermaphrodite brig, as the case might be. He was next, by a ...
— An Old Sailor's Yarns • Nathaniel Ames

... French book about two lovers I came across the expression: "They were the universe to each other." It struck me as at once pathetic and comical, how that thoughtless phrase, put there merely as a hyperbolical figure of speech, in our case was so literally true. Still it is also literally true for a French passion of that kind. They are the universe to each other, because they lose sense for everything else. Not so with us. Everything we once loved we still love all the more ardently. ...
— The German Classics of The Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Vol. IV • Editor-in-Chief: Kuno Francke

... He must consider the rights of others. It was this which brought Grotius and the rest, with the New England theologians down to Park, to feel that forgiveness could not be quite free. If we acknowledge that this symbolism of God as judge or sovereign is all symbolism, mere figure of speech, not fact at all, then that objection—and much else—falls away. If we assert that another figure of speech, that of God as Father, more perfectly suggests the relation of God and man, then forgiveness may be free. Then justification ...
— Edward Caldwell Moore - Outline of the History of Christian Thought Since Kant • Edward Moore

... and the beam is a solid squared piece of timber, reaching from the eye of the man to the walls of the building. This peculiar mode of treating the subject may be traced to the earliest picture-books—thus the Ars Memorandi, a block-book of the early part of the 15th century, represents this figure of speech by a piece of ...
— Curiosities of Literature, Vol. 1 (of 3) • Isaac D'Israeli

... example of veracity and human nobleness, set by the gods of this lower world to their gazing populations, who could read in the Gazettes! What is truth, falsity, human Kingship, human Swindlership? Are the Ten Commandments only a figure of speech, then? And it was some beggarly Attorney-Devil that built this sublunary world and us? Questions might rise; had long been rising;—but now there was about enough, and the response to them was falling due; and Belleisle ...
— History of Friedrich II. of Prussia, Vol. XII. (of XXI.) • Thomas Carlyle

... organized in clans, curies, and tribes. But for military purposes the curia was called a century, because it furnished a quota of one hundred men to the army. The word century originally meant a company of a hundred men, and it was only by a figure of speech that it afterward came to mean a period of a hundred years. Now among all Germanic peoples, including the English, the brotherhood seems to have been called the hundred. Our English forefathers seem to have been organized, like other barbarians, in clans, brotherhoods, and tribes; ...
— Civil Government in the United States Considered with - Some Reference to Its Origins • John Fiske

... of—inactivity; "And, like owld corpses, dug up from antikity, "Wandrin' about in all sorts of inikity!!"—[5] Even you, Judy, true as you are to the Owld Light, Would have laught, out and out, at this iligant flight Of that figure of speech called the Blatherumskite. As for me, tho' a funny thought now and then came to me, Rage got the betther at last—and small blame to me, So, slapping my thigh, "by the Powers of Delf," Says I bowldly "I'll make a noration myself." And with that up I jumps—but, my darlint, the minit I cockt up ...
— The Complete Poems of Sir Thomas Moore • Thomas Moore et al

... "that is a figure of speech which is not employed here, for we use no reins of any kind; but I know what you mean, and I will answer you by saying that we each hold one rein, and in that way drive as steadily as if we were ...
— Daybreak: A Romance of an Old World • James Cowan

... Hypallages. A figure of speech by which attributes are transferred from their proper subjects ...
— The Works of Aphra Behn - Volume IV. • Aphra Behn

... this. When I had been two days at Holly House, I reflected that my sitting-room faced the wrong way for the view, and that my bedroom was dark and not large enough to swing a cat in. Not that there was the remotest necessity of my swinging cats in it, but the figure of speech is always useful. Neither did I care to occupy myself with the perennial inspection and purchase of raw edibles, when I wished to live in an ideal world and paint a great picture. Mrs. Hobbs would come to my bedside in the morning and ask me if I would like to ...
— Penelope's English Experiences • Kate Douglas Wiggin

... together may be the worst of that sad business,' said the Rev. Archibald Duke, in a tone implying that his wish was a strong figure of speech. ...
— Scenes of Clerical Life • George Eliot

... and directed the light downwards, as he spoke. Amelius looked in. The policeman's figure of speech, likening the lodgers to "herrings in a barrel," accurately described the scene. On the floor of a kitchen, men, women, and children lay all huddled together in closely packed rows. Ghastly faces rose ...
— The Fallen Leaves • Wilkie Collins

... sounded the everlasting rush of waves and the toil and crash and shipwreck of tremendous ships. The wind tugs at the trees as if it might pluck them root and all out of the earth like tufts of grass. Or, to try yet another desperate figure of speech for this unspeakable energy, the trees are straining and tearing and lashing as if they were a tribe of dragons ...
— Tremendous Trifles • G. K. Chesterton

... true spirit of philosophy or metaphysics can alone charm away metaphysical illusions, which are always reappearing, formerly in the fancies of neoplatonist writers, now in the disguise of experience and common sense. An analogy, a figure of speech, an intelligible theory, a superficial observation of the individual, have often been mistaken for a true account ...
— Cratylus • Plato

... deny exhausted the chestnut-tree to swing (intr) the porch that would have done me no good if it were anything but a figure of speech ...
— Le Petit Chose (part 1) - Histoire d'un Enfant • Alphonse Daudet

... "A doubtful figure of speech," Sir William broke in. "I think you should establish the personality before you attempt to give a feature to the essence. ...
— The Shaving of Shagpat • George Meredith

... between these two instances and the effects of my injections, the reader must see no more than a figure of speech, which, without explaining anything, tries to throw a glimmer of light upon it. The long procession of card friars is knocked down by the mere touch of the little finger to the first; the voluminous solution of alum suddenly turns solid under the influence of an invisible particle. In ...
— The Life of the Fly - With Which are Interspersed Some Chapters of Autobiography • J. Henri Fabre

... of this, gentlemen," said Mr. Serjeant Buzfuz, "it is difficult to smile with an aching heart; it is ill jesting when our deepest sympathies are awakened. My client's hopes and prospects are ruined, and it is no figure of speech to say that her occupation is gone indeed. The bill is down—but there is no tenant. Eligible single gentlemen pass and repass—but there is no invitation for them to inquire within or without. All is gloom and silence in the house; even the voice of the child is hushed—his infant sports ...
— The Law and Lawyers of Pickwick - A Lecture • Frank Lockwood

... put in Mrs. O'Donovan Florence. "Not a drop of coffee for me. An orange-sherbet, if you please. Coffee was a figure of speech—a ...
— The Cardinal's Snuff-Box • Henry Harland

... outward history there is but little to be reported; his life was the retired and uneventful one of a peculiarly intense and abstracted student. It is hardly a figure of speech, but almost exactly the literal truth to say that he was born, and lived, and died, beneath the shadow of the Universities. He was not, indeed, quite so much of a recluse as his fellow-countryman Kant, the renowned Koenigsberg philosopher, who, though he reached the age of eighty, and ...
— Gifts of Genius - A Miscellany of Prose and Poetry by American Authors • Various

... high or low, and during its short stay here the Expedition was regally received and entertained. A wood-cut, which appeared in the principal newspaper representing "Dawson City extending the glad hand of welcome to Explorer De Windt" was no mere figure of speech, for we were seldom allowed to pay for a meal, while the refreshments and cigars lavished upon me by total strangers at every moment of the day would have set up a regimental mess. My host here was the manager of the ...
— From Paris to New York by Land • Harry de Windt

... elegant (which it isn't, and only suggested by my trials with those dressmakers), I should say I was on pins and needles till it's all over. Bless me! and so I am, for here are three on the floor and one in my shoe." Prue paused to extract the appropriate figure of speech which she ...
— Moods • Louisa May Alcott

... is with me merely a figure of speech. I don't want any real angel. I want my wife, if I ever marry, to ...
— The Shades of the Wilderness • Joseph A. Altsheler

... explanation that followed, Emily's isolated position in the world was revealed in few words. But one more discovery—the most important of all—remained to be made. Had she used a figure of speech in saying that she was as poor as Mirabel himself? or had she told him the shocking truth? He put the question with perfect delicacy—-but ...
— I Say No • Wilkie Collins

... Blessed Damozel, and, in his later work, makes him speak sometimes almost like a believer in mesmerism. Dream-land, as we said, with its "phantoms of the body," deftly coming and going on love's service, is to him, in no mere fancy or figure of speech, a real country, a veritable expansion of, or addition to, our waking life; and he did well perhaps to wait carefully upon sleep, for the lack [215] of it became mortal disease with him. One may even recognise a sort of morbid and over-hasty making-ready for death itself, which ...
— Appreciations, with an Essay on Style • Walter Horatio Pater

... in the winter of 1773, that "the Iron hand of oppression tearing the choicest Fruit from the Fair Tree of Liberty" was a figure of speech which did not shape itself with nice flexibility to the exact form and pressure of observable facts. It is the limitation of moderate men to be much governed by observable facts; and if the majority could not at once rise to the rhetoric of Samuel Adams, it was doubtless because ...
— The Eve of the Revolution - A Chronicle of the Breach with England, Volume 11 In The - Chronicles Of America Series • Carl Becker

... said Mr. Micawber to my aunt, 'if you will allow me, ma'am, to cull a figure of speech from the vocabulary of our coarser national sports—floors me. To a man who is struggling with a complicated burden of perplexity and disquiet, such a reception is trying, ...
— David Copperfield • Charles Dickens

... the change of locality was infinitely simplified. In the Moluccas we may read a compendium of the wide-spread history which applies to the vast regions comprised in the mighty Archipelago. The doctrine of earthly changes and chances, too often accepted as a mere figure of speech, is here recognised as a stern reality; the tragedies of destruction repeat themselves through the ages, the laboratories of Nature eternally forge fresh thunderbolts, and the fate of humanity trembles in the balance. Meanwhile a profusion ...
— Through the Malay Archipelago • Emily Richings

... railroad, or any concrete object so large and complex that it cannot be grasped by a single effort of sense perception. But even here it is usual with us first to represent the whole object to our thought by means of a sketch, map, or figure of speech, so as first to get a quick survey of the whole thing. In history, also, we first grasp at wholes, then enter into a detailed account of an event, a campaign, a voyage, a revolution, etc. There are many complex ...
— The Elements of General Method - Based on the Principles of Herbart • Charles A. McMurry

... abolishing slavery, had then been accepted by twenty States, Arkansas did so three days later, and the six Northern States which had been delayed in action upon it were as certain to ratify as that a little time should roll round. [Footnote: Rickey's Constitution, p. 43.] It was therefore no figure of speech to say that slavery was dead: Sherman, Johnston, and Breckinridge knew it to be true. But Johnston urged that to secure the prompt and peaceful acquiescence of the whole South, it was undesirable to force upon them irritating acknowledgments even of what they tacitly admitted to ...
— Military Reminiscences of the Civil War V2 • Jacob Dolson Cox

... no doubt, the sheaths for a very marvelous instrument," said he, laughing at his own figure of speech. ...
— Louis Lambert • Honore de Balzac

... wonder, Ford—and that's no figure of speech. How on earth did you manage to do it all at ...
— Empire Builders • Francis Lynde

... it," said Mary, stanching the flow. "You were not so badly mistaken. I wasn't satisfied, but I was about to surrender." She smiled at herself and her warlike figure of speech. ...
— Dr. Sevier • George W. Cable

... remain. Therefore it might be said that as the Father was unbegotten, so the man was unbegotten, inasmuch as "man" stood for the Person of the Father. But if one were to go on to say, "The man is unbegotten; the Son is man; therefore the Son is unbegotten," it would be the fallacy of figure of speech or of accident; even as we now say God is unbegotten, because the Father is unbegotten, yet we cannot conclude that the Son is unbegotten, although ...
— Summa Theologica, Part III (Tertia Pars) - From the Complete American Edition • Thomas Aquinas

... vividly described is evidently a mere figure of speech: so is it in the other instances which picture the rephaim as employed and in motion. "Why," complainingly sighed the afflicted patriarch, "why died I not at my birth? For now should I lie down and be quiet; I should slumber; I should ...
— The Destiny of the Soul - A Critical History of the Doctrine of a Future Life • William Rounseville Alger

... mighty lucky thing for her that the Red Cross was ready to take it off her shoulders, and she has turned to us (How does that sound? Can you imagine me doing anything useful?) with tears of appeal and gratitude. That isn't a figure of speech. I have actually seen the Prefect of this Province, who would rank with the governor of one of our states, and who is a brave, capable man, cry like a woman over the seeming hopelessness of the ghastly problem. I have heard him say that he—that France—was helpless, and beg us in the name ...
— 'Smiles' - A Rose of the Cumberlands • Eliot H. Robinson

... conjuror's hat produces rabbits; the cabbage to swell and overshadow the earth, like the Tree of Knowledge; and the puppy to go off at a scamper along the road to the end of the world. Any one who has read Browning's longer poems knows how constantly a simile or figure of speech is selected, not among the large, well-recognised figures common in poetry, but from some dusty corner of experience, and how often it is characterised by smallness and a certain quaint exactitude which could not have been found in any more usual example. Thus, for instance, Prince Hohenstiel—Schwangau ...
— Robert Browning • G. K. Chesterton

... said Mr. Bingle hastily. "It's a saying of Shakespeare, Rouquin. Of course, love's labour is never really lost. It's a figure of speech." ...
— Mr. Bingle • George Barr McCutcheon

... to another, or a right of way was said to be a quality or [383] incident of a neighboring piece of land, men's minds were not alert to see that these phrases were only so many personifying metaphors, which explained nothing unless the figure of speech was true. ...
— The Common Law • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

... literary world. And his assertion I found confirmed by the critics, who, with one accord, and without being paid, declared these verses proof that the author possessed "a rare inventive genius." The meaning of this was all Hebrew to me. My mother suggested that it might be a figure of speech copied from Chaldean mythology. ...
— The Life and Adventures of Maj. Roger Sherman Potter • "Pheleg Van Trusedale"

... small provincial printing establishments. Even at Angouleme, so closely connected through its paper-mills with the art of typography in Paris, the only machinery in use was the primitive wooden invention to which the language owes a figure of speech—"the press groans" was no mere rhetorical expression in those days. Leather ink-balls were still used in old-fashioned printing houses; the pressman dabbed the ink by hand on the characters, and the movable table on which the form of type was placed in readiness for the sheet of paper, being ...
— Two Poets - Lost Illusions Part I • Honore de Balzac

... the corner posts, and sometimes the worshipper presenting a living creature would tether it with a cord to the altar's horn, so that the gift could be used either for sacrifice or service. In both cases the figure of speech seems to imply the possibility of the consecration being reversed by the withdrawal of the offering, or broken by its loss, the sacrifice slipping off or away from the altar, or being loosened by the person who had presented ...
— Standards of Life and Service • T. H. Howard

... distinguish between the noise of a cowl on Hathaway Mansions, which are fully 150 yards away, and one which is practically just above my bedroom. As I write this letter, seated at a table at the window of my study, I can actually see the cowl shrieking—if you will pardon a figure of speech which has perhaps a Hibernian flavour. As my study is built out to the back of this house, it is parallel with your property at 15, Poynings Road. I am within fifty yards of the offending cowl. The noise it makes rises and falls in shrillness according to the speed at which the cowl revolves ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 146, April 15, 1914 • Various

... bound," (by his oath,) and so freed from the duty to his parents, is left to be inferred from the speaker's silence; compare the similar use of this figure of speech, in Ex. 32:32; ...
— The New Testament of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. • Various



Words linked to "Figure of speech" :   prosopopoeia, smash hit, summer, image, exaggeration, mark, hyperbole, figure, home run, rhetorical device, metaphor, oxymoron, rainy day, bull's eye, megahit, zeugma, dawn, domino effect, kenning, cakewalk, irony, lens, flip side, evening, sleeper, bell ringer, blind alley, simile, conceit, metonymy, goldbrick, personification, housecleaning, synecdoche, period, blockbuster



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