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Meaning of figure of speech

fig'ure of speech'

Pronunciation: [key]
— Rhet. Rhet.
  1. any expressive use of language, as a metaphor, simile, personification, or antithesis, in which words are used in other than their literal sense, or in other than their ordinary locutions, in order to suggest a picture or image or for other special effect. Cf. trope (def. 1).
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.