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Questions tagged [figurative-language]

For questions about language where the words have meaning other than their literal sense. For example, metaphor or simile.

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Did Percy use an omission after “fed”?

The poem is called Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley I met a traveller from an antique land, Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the ...
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What is the meaning of brush in this sentence

I came across a sentence while reading which was: Not a trace of Wu Daozi's brush was left - and the artist was never seen again in this world. I don't think it here means an act or instance of ...
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Is it a metaphor or personification? [closed]

Is a clause "the toys cry" a metaphor or personification? Thank you
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55 views

What does “moanest loud” mean?

A Dirge Rough wind, that moanest loud Grief too sad for song; Wild wind, when sullen cloud Knells all the night long; Sad storm whose tears are vain, Bare woods, whose branches strain, ...
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176 views

What is the literary device used here?

I remember my teacher talking about literary devices, I have a sentence below. What literary device is use here? To bring peace, you must bring war.
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were anchored from?

I'm translating an English article to Persian (my mother tongue). I didn't understand the meaning of this phrase or anything!: "The employee relations aspect of sustainable HRM reflects an ...
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59 views

Is this phrase a dramatic effect? [closed]

What does the highlighted expression mean, is it a dramatic effect? SIGHTS During: a car in one’s lane or a barrier approaching, the frightened faces of the people in the oncoming vehicle right ...
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What does 'cogs' mean in this context?

He stopped there to enjoy the effect of these words. He could almost see the cogs working under Uncle Vernon's thick, dark, neatly parted hair. If he tried to stop Harry writing to Sirius, Sirius ...
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164 views

under cover of pinkness?

What does "pinkness" mean in the following? Something significant happened under cover of pinkness while we were busy agonising over Scotland and Ed Miliband's dodgy memory. The Financial Times ...
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What does this figurative usage of “swampy” mean?

Not to pooh-pooh the Doobs and their smooth, aged take on swampy, countrified soul, but this show belongs to Steely Dan. (source) I have checked several dictionaries but haven't found one listing a ...
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What does “tripwire” mean as a verb?

Half Nelson offers an opportunity to marvel, once again, at the dazzling talent of Ryan Gosling for playing young men as believable as they are psychologically trip-wired. (source) Though familiar ...
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what is the meaning of communion in the paragraph?

“Sometimes a meal is just a meal, and eating with others is simply eating with others. More often than not, though, it’s not. Once or twice a semester at least, I will stop discussion of the story or ...
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Metaphor vs Analogy

Metaphor: A figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable. A thing regarded as representative or symbolic of something ...
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none has come up with

I want to know the meaning of the bold portion, please. Also the meaning of the "come up with" and what is subject for the bold portion. She has seen six doctors so far but none has come up with ...
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Figure of Speech - Comparing Singular with Plural, and Vice Versa

Can I compare nouns with contrasting numbers. Assume I'm in a furniture shop: These cabinets are like the guy from yesterday. Or should I always tie the numbers? So I should just pick one cabinet ...
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Based on the context of the story, could this sentence be literal or figurative?

A story named The Centipede, written by Rony V. Diaz is used as the basis for some English lessons. You can read and analyze the story here at this link. There is also a summary and review here. For ...
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373 views

Is the expression “sick to hell” too strong? [closed]

For example, can I use it while I'm talking to a kid or could it sound vulgar? So when do you exactly use it?
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“figurative” vs “metaphorical”

What is the difference between two these terms? Are they interchangeably used? Because when I sometimes look at the dictionary, I see this term, figurative, attached to some words which can be used ...
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“The best outcome for Spain…” Is there any ambiguity as to the meaning of this phrase?

Consider this sentence: "The best outcome for Spain would be to permit the referendum, and for Catalan voters to reject independence" (Source, In the last paragraph) Would this mean that the best ...
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683 views

“Hot embers” and “cold ice”. Is this a figure of speech?

I've often come across phrases such as "hot embers" and "cold ice" (I'd be hard pressed to cite sources...I don't remember any). I found the adjectives "hot" and "cold" used with "embers" and "ice" ...
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“if it/that were possible”

This is an excerpt using the expression 'if it were possible.' I would like to be able to use it in my composition in the future. But the rule that governs the use seems more than just a little ...
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533 views

Expression for “abundant source of”

What figurative expression could I use to describe "an abundant source of"? The context is the following: the Amazon is a true Free University of Sciences and Philosophy, and authentic ___________ ...
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Can I say 'I will keep your heart from the fall'

Can I say in the poem: "I will keep your heart from the fall"? Or "I will save your heart from the fall'? Of course, it's indirect meaning.
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Can a person be described as “squeaky”?

In one of our tests here at the school where I work we had the following question: Which adjective can be used to describe a person? The correct answer was wacky, but among the incorrect ones, there ...
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What's a common idiom to say someone is strong?

I have no idea how Americans convey the message that someone is physically very strong in informal everyday English. [In my mother language we say someone has a power of a donkey.] The only ...
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242 views

What is a “middle class injury”?

From Buzzfeed I found the following article 36 Truly Terrifying Middle-Class Injuries I spent the morning reproofing our Barbour jackets and now my forearm is sore #middleclassinjuries —...
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To “favor someone's side of the house”

I just read the sci-fi short story "And all the earth a grave", and I don't get the punch line. To summarize the story: A company starts an aggressive marketing effort on selling coffins, which ...
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What is P***Y? Is it giving a bad impression?

I saw movie of this post. I found this sentence: And bragged about grabbing women by the P***Y What's P***Y? I think it is not a good expression... (Because I hear bleep censor while the man is ...
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A verb which used to describe process of problem solving or making something good to differentiate a person involved from others?

In Russian there r words "вытаскивать" (basically it means to "pull off" something from something) & "вытягивать" (basically it means to "draw" something out of something), but in informal speech ...
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Why “John lost his coat and his temper” has logically and grammatically different ideas?

Consider this quote first please. For instance, in a sentence “John lost his coat and his temper”, the verb “lost” applies to both noun “coat” and “temper”. Losing a coat and losing temper are ...
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Is there a figure of speech for “illlness which passes without a special treatment”?

In German we have a figure of speech: "Das geht von selbst vorbei", which normally means that an illness will pass without the need to treat it with medicaments or something special at all. Is there a ...
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417 views

Spooking at shadows

What does 'to spook at shadow' mean in the following context? My sense of the issue is that a lot of engineers are spooking at shadows, worried about their performance reviews if they spend 80% ...
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175 views

Spine/stem synonym with figurative meaning

I know the word 'spine' can be used like a metaphor for person's courage or assertiveness or inner strength. I'm looking for synonyms for this meaning but with one additional meaning related to a tree ...
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Expressing the idea that one can barely live or survive (figurative, if possible)

It took me some time to find out the English word waterline whose presence wasn't as yet included in my vocabulary. As an aside, in my language in a literal translation this would be called floating ...
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“No strings attached”: scope, verb to introduce?

This is about the expression no strings attached from the plural of string: strings [plural] : requirements that are connected with something : things that you have to do, give, etc., if you ...
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511 views

Meaning of “Deep Winter ”

I have a question about the meaning of "deep" here: We are about to be confronted with the dangers of deep winter. What does "deep" refer to? Does it mean the later part of winter?
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On/Off His Routine

I have a question about the usages of "on" and "off" with "routine": He was on his routine. He was off his routine. The above usages could be found on the web, but not in ...
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How can 'turnover' be interpreted figuratively?

[OED:] A. 1. a. The action of turning over, in various senses: see quots.; (Polit. slang) a transference of votes from one party to another. I understand the morphemes 'turn' and over' and the ...
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Touched By Controversy

I have a question about the meaning of the verb "touch" here: This year, the candlelight vigil in Hong Kong has been touched by controversy. Definition 6b for "touch" in this dictionary reads: ...
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233 views

Ellipsis with apostrophe?

This is a strophe from one song: "But the times were hard, Lord, the jobs were few all through Tecumseh valley but she asked around and a job she found tending bar at Gypsy Sally's" ...
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Superpowers Emerge From WW2

Definition 1a for "emerge" of this dictionary reads: to become known or apparent Definition 3 reads: used to indicate the usually good state or condition of someone or something at the ...
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The verb “to plow through”

In which sense the verb to plow through was used in the following sentence? I know it can be used to do a task figuratively or to run down on people or something but I don't think these meanings are ...
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4k views

“In the wake of”

I have a question about the usage of the phrase "in the wake of" here: We are still in the wake of discriminatory laws against women and children. I could not find a good dictionary definition ...
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Through Vs Outside Of

I have some question about the usage of "through" and "outside of". Consider these sentences: 1a. He made transactions through Amazon Payments. 2a. He made sales through Ebay. 3a. He made ...
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Go Down In A Notebook

I have a question about the usage of "go down" in this dictionary: It all goes down in her notebook. I was thinking this sense of "go down" should be used with "in history", not "in a notebook"...
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pledge your first-born child to Microsoft — I don't understand what that means

From a book called Access 2013: The Missing Manual: At this point, you're probably wondering how much that part in the center of Figure 21-1—the SQL Server database engine—actually costs. ...
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“To mingle from single”

Which one is correct out of the below two? If possible, I request that you give a justification also. 1) He is going to mingle from single. Or 2) He is going to mingle to single.
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Is it ungrammatical to end a list preceded by a colon without an “and”?

Example: The mansion looked like a castle: crenelated roof, lancet windows, cylindrical towers with crosses on top. As yo can see I omitted the and. Is it ungrammatical?
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Is “without” the opposite of “within?”

I've seen the famous quote from Hermes Trismegistus: "As above, so below. As within, so without. As the universe, so the soul." Is without actually the opposite of within? For example, these ...
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Usage of “Hold Its Shape”

I have a question about the usages of the verb "hold" here: New Breast Implant Holds Its Shape I checked this dictionary, but cannot find a definition that fits the usage of "hold its shape" ...