If I was writing something and I wanted to emphasize its meaning I might informally write it like this:

  • The bus ride was very loooooong.
  • I had a BIG lunch.
  • The document had a number of speeling errors.

Does anyone know a term for this informal usage?

  • You're playing with typography, like writing the word "tiny" in a very small font. That's not "wordplay" . So you mean to ask, "What is it called when the typographic or orthographic representation of a word portrays the meaning of the word?" – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jan 27 '17 at 22:20
  • check Lambie's answer, it is interesting! – WRX Jan 28 '17 at 2:08

You're doing a few different things here.

I'd say

The bus ride was very loooooong.


I had a BIG lunch

are both examples of emphasis


The document had a number of speeling errors.

is satirical or ironic.

I would generally place all forms of "playing" with language under the broad term:


  • 2
    Onomatopoeia means a word that sounds like the sound it describes. An autological word (also called homological word or autonym) is a word that expresses a property that it also possesses. (From Wikipedia). Too bad we can't make up a word for this. Wordplay was excellent though. – WRX Jan 27 '17 at 20:18
  • 1
    Yeah if he had mentioned "boom", "woof", "bark" I would have brought up onomatopoeia. Autological is a good find though, I had not heard of that word. @WillowRex – mstorkson Jan 27 '17 at 21:01
  • There is no onomatopoeia here at all. And word play or plays on words are puns. – Lambie Jan 28 '17 at 14:37

What you are doing is using typeface visually to create emphatic effects. And by that I do not mean special fonts or design using programs like Photoshop.

The master at this was E.E. Cummings. Or, at least, he was one of the first to do this.

The ultimate in using typeface to create visual effects is called Concrete Poetry.

  • I am going to look that up. I love the name. I have seen and enjoyed it, but did not know that had any name. Cool beans! So how about : concrete prose? – WRX Jan 28 '17 at 2:05

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