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A Guide to Similes, Metaphors & More
Hip-hop music and poetry are full of figurative language. Here is a guide for identifying and using figurative language in rap songs and poems. In this list, each figurative language term has a pronunciation guide, a definition, and an example. Remember: Rap is poetry, and a lot of poetry is rap. Also check out examples of metaphors in popular hip-hop page.
Simile (SIH-muh-lee): a comparison between two or more things using the words like or as.
Metaphor (MET-uh-for): a comparison between two or more things that doesn't use the words like or as.
Alliteration (uh-LIT-er-AY-shuhn): a phrase with a string of words all beginning with the same sound.
Hyperbole (hie-PER-buh-lee): an exaggeration.
Personification, (per-son-if-ih-KAY-shon): giving an animal or object human-like characteristics.
Paradox (PARE-uh-docks): a statement that seems untrue, that seems to contradict itself.
Symbol (SIM-bull): something that stands for something else (often something more abstract).
Assonance (ASS-uh-nince): the repetition of vowel sounds to create internal rhyme.
Onomatopoeia (ON-uh-maht-uh-PEE-uh): a word that imitates the sound it is describing.
Apostrophe (uh-POS-troh-fee): a figure of speech that addresses (talks to) a dead or nonpresent person, or an object.
Imagery (IM-aj-ree): a very general term that encompasses nearly any description of something that conjures an image, sound, taste, smell or feeling to mind. In other words a literal or concrete representation of a sensory experience or of an object that can be known by one or more senses.
Metonymy (met-TON-im-ee): a figure of speech that replaces the literal thing with a more vivid, but closely related thing or idea.
Understatement (UHN-der-stayt-ment): the opposite of hyperbole, an understatement makes something that is a big deal seem not very important. It's often used for humor.
Want to add to our list of figurative language examples? Write your own figurative language example, define the technique and email it to escher(AT)flocabulary.com.