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Chemistry LibreTexts

Figurative Words

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  • Figurative Words are what we commonly refer to as figurative language. Figurative language is the language we use whenever we make a comparison to something and it helps create an image in the reader's mind. When we can understand these comparisons, we can understand the meaning the author is trying to convey better.

    It's important to note that there are different types of comparisons that we make, and thus there are different types of figurative language.

    Read below to discover the different types:


    Metaphors are words or phrases we use to compare two unlike things. Often times, the traits of one thing are applied to another in order to suggest a resemblance, but the traits are not literally applicable.

    Example: "It is raining cats and dogs!"

    It is not literally raining cats and dogs outside, but it creates an image and meaning for us to understand that it is raining really heavy and intensely.

    Watch the video below to gain a better understanding of metaphors.


    Similes are metaphors that compare two unlike things using like or as.

    Example: "She was as sweet as pie." OR "It fit like a glove."


    Alliteration is when we use the repetition of initial consonant sounds in two or more neighboring words. Sometimes we can use initial vowel sounds as well.

    Example: The big brass band began booming.


    Hyperbole is when we use exaggeration to create an image or feeling but they are not literal.

    Example: I have a ton of homework to do.

    The person doesn't actually have a whole ton of homework but saying that allows readers to understand the meaning thay they have a lot to do.


    Onomatopoeia are words that sound the same or similar to what they mean.

    Examples: BAM! BOOM! PING!


    Personification is when we give human qualities to nonhuman objects.

    Example: The phone danced across the table.