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Figure of speech   /fˈɪgjər əv spitʃ/   Listen
Figure of speech

noun
1.
Language used in a figurative or nonliteral sense.  Synonyms: figure, image, trope.






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Figure of speech" Quotes from Famous Books



... elevate the style, and raise it above prose. My purpose was to imitate, and, as far as possible, to adopt the very language of men; and assuredly such personifications do not make any natural or regular part of that language. They are, indeed, a figure of speech occasionally prompted by passion, and I have made use of them as such; but have endeavoured utterly to reject them as a mechanical device of style, or as a family language which Writers in metre seem to lay claim to by prescription. I have wished to keep the Reader ...
— English Critical Essays - Nineteenth Century • Various

... returned to the palace in a frightful condition. From the time he mounted his horse, at six o'clock in the morning, the rain had not ceased a single instant, and he was so wet that it could be said without any figure of speech that the water ran down into his boots from the collar of his coat, for they were entirely filled with it. His hat of very fine beaver was so ruined that it fell down over his shoulders, his buff belt was perfectly soaked with water; in fact a man just drawn ...
— The Memoirs of Napoleon Bonaparte • Bourrienne, Constant, and Stewarton

... yet in general use in small provincial printing establishments. Even at Angouleme, so closely connected through its paper-mills with the art of typography in Paris, the only machinery in use was the primitive wooden invention to which the language owes a figure of speech—"the press groans" was no mere rhetorical expression in those days. Leather ink-balls were still used in old-fashioned printing houses; the pressman dabbed the ink by hand on the characters, and the movable table on which the form of type was placed in readiness for the sheet of paper, ...
— Two Poets - Lost Illusions Part I • Honore de Balzac

... rather than to diminish the persistent quantity of her emotion, and the few minutes during which Kemper had been absent from her had sufficed to exaggerate his image to a statue that was heroic in its proportions. It was as if her heart—she was still lucid enough to think in a figure of speech—were an altar dedicated to the perpetual flame before a deity who had already showed himself to ...
— The Wheel of Life • Ellen Anderson Gholson Glasgow

... is mentioned that displeases him; but I was told when he smiled, the smile was of the sweetest and most amiable. I cannot say I saw him in smiling mood, but I saw him frown, and never did anyone so truly translate to me the figure of speech of "looking black." He advanced with self-possession, returned my salute without coldness or empressement, as if it were a mere matter of form, and sat down beside me. We had a long chat. Santa Cruz did not take much active part in it, ...
— Romantic Spain - A Record of Personal Experiences (Vol. II) • John Augustus O'Shea

... with you to make you distinguish between the work of the poet and that of the rhymester, I should have thought by this time you would have known a little more about the nature of poetry. Personification is a figure of speech in constant ...
— Sir Gibbie • George MacDonald

... changed. It was no mere figure of speech: it actually was ANOTHER face that looked ...
— Under the Redwoods • Bret Harte

... said to be a quality or [383] incident of a neighboring piece of land, men's minds were not alert to see that these phrases were only so many personifying metaphors, which explained nothing unless the figure of speech was true. ...
— The Common Law • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

... that except he has repented of his evil self, and abjured all wrong, he is not safe from any, even the worst offence. There was a time when I could not understand that he who loved not his brother was a murderer: now I see it to be no figure of speech, but, in the realities of man's moral and spiritual nature, an absolute simple fact. The murderer and the unloving sit on the same bench before the judge of eternal truth. The man who loves not his brother, ...
— Thomas Wingfold, Curate • George MacDonald

... along the graceful curves that outlined the beautiful being before me. I thought I had seen the face somewhere. I had, but a moment before, while looking upon that of the elder lady. They were the same face—using a figure of speech—the type transmitted from mother to daughter: the same high front and facial angle, the same outline of the nose, straight as a ray of light, with the delicate spiral-like curve of the nostril which meets ...
— The Scalp Hunters • Mayne Reid

... waving his heavy white hand, "is a figure of speech, Mr. Wayne. Only by the process of elimination can one arrive at the exquisite simplicity of poverty—care-free poverty. Even a single penny is a burden—the flaw in the marble, the fly in the amber of perfection. Cast it away and enter Eden!" And joining thumb ...
— Iole • Robert W. Chambers

... the article in a brown-stone front, with marble steps. Picture to him in the most glowing terms the joys of the fireside, with fond you by his side. If he hints that a fireside in July is slightly tepid, thoughtfully suggest that it is merely a figure of speech, and introduce an episode of cream to cool it. Quote vehemently from TENNYSON, and LONGFELLOW, and Mrs. BROWNING. Bring the artillery of your eyes to bear squarely on the mark. Remember that thirty-seven years and an anxious mother are steadily ...
— Punchinello, Vol. 1, No. 19, August 6, 1870 • Various

... reply was much softer than she intended, especially as she could have told anybody that the Baron's compliment was the merest figure of speech. ...
— The Lunatic at Large • J. Storer Clouston

... term is used, secondly, by a figure of speech, and in a collective sense, to designate the body of persons who, having neither capital nor land, come into the industrial organization offering productive services in exchange for means of subsistence. These persons are united by community of interest into ...
— What Social Classes Owe to Each Other • William Graham Sumner

... his lantern, and directed the light downwards, as he spoke. Amelius looked in. The policeman's figure of speech, likening the lodgers to "herrings in a barrel," accurately described the scene. On the floor of a kitchen, men, women, and children lay all huddled together in closely packed rows. Ghastly faces rose terrified out of ...
— The Fallen Leaves • Wilkie Collins

... is evidently a mere figure of speech: so is it in the other instances which picture the rephaim as employed and in motion. "Why," complainingly sighed the afflicted patriarch, "why died I not at my birth? For now should I lie down and be quiet; I should ...
— The Destiny of the Soul - A Critical History of the Doctrine of a Future Life • William Rounseville Alger

... becoming apparent enough. The literary "Boom," for example, affected the entire reading public of the early nineteenth century. It was no figure of speech that "everyone" was reading Byron or puzzling about the Waverley mystery, that first and most successful use of the unknown author dodge. The booming of Dickens, too, forced him even into the reluctant ...
— Anticipations - Of the Reaction of Mechanical and Scientific Progress upon - Human life and Thought • Herbert George Wells

... for another.] Substitution — N. substitution, commutation; supplanting &c v.; metaphor, metonymy &c (figure of speech) 521. [Thing substituted] substitute, ersatz, makeshift, temporary expedient, replacement, succedaneum; shift, pis aller [Fr.], stopgap, jury rigging, jury mast, locum tenens, warming pan, dummy, scapegoat; double; changeling; quid pro quo, alternative. representative &c (deputy) 759; palimpsest. ...
— Roget's Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases: Body • Roget

... MARGARET.' It is not only vague, but common-place: there is no particular reason that we know of why a summer dream should be fairer than a winter dream; and we cannot think that the poet meant to make use of that figure of speech called amphibology, although the line will bear a double interpretation. The legend is of the guilty amour of MORDRED, a Knight Templar, with a fair innocent who, upon the point of becoming a mother, is slain by her lover at ...
— The Knickerbocker, or New-York Monthly Magazine, February 1844 - Volume 23, Number 2 • Various

... the corner posts, and sometimes the worshipper presenting a living creature would tether it with a cord to the altar's horn, so that the gift could be used either for sacrifice or service. In both cases the figure of speech seems to imply the possibility of the consecration being reversed by the withdrawal of the offering, or broken by its loss, the sacrifice slipping off or away from the altar, or being loosened by the person who ...
— Standards of Life and Service • T. H. Howard

... in their arms, I now found, was a mere formula or figure of speech, and consisted only in throwing garlands over me. Still I was much comforted, not merely by the grace and cordiality of their welcome, but by the mention of Ila, whose name will doubtless be familiar to my readers as occurring in a Sanscrit poem ...
— Fashionable Philosophy - and Other Sketches • Laurence Oliphant

... learn exact particulars about the mode in which Rameses II made war, from the poem of Penta-Our, a Theban writer of the fourteenth century B.C. It is only by a figure of speech that this poem can be called an epic; it is rather a historical narrative couched in terms of poetic exaggeration with the object of flattering the royal vanity ...
— Egyptian Literature

... instantly ashamed of her figure of speech, for she could not explain it in words ...
— The Voyage Out • Virginia Woolf

... the severity of the examination, or what in after times, by an academic figure of speech, was called screwing, or a screw, was what excited the chief dread.—Willard's Memories of Youth and Manhood, Vol. ...
— A Collection of College Words and Customs • Benjamin Homer Hall

... not see how I could have answered it better. My speech certainly was better cheered than any other; especially one passage, where I made a colossus of Mr. Browne, at which the audience grew so tumultuous in their applause that they drowned my figure of speech before it was half out ...
— Passages From the English Notebooks, Complete • Nathaniel Hawthorne

... Mr. Lyons made a panegyric on these United States of America, from the special standpoint of their dedication to the "God of our fathers," a solemn figure of speech. The sincerity of his patriotism was emphasized by the religious fervor of his deduction that God was on the side of the nation, and the nation on the side of God. Though he abstained from direct strictures, both his manner and his matter seemed to serve a caveat, so ...
— Unleavened Bread • Robert Grant

... the comparison between these two instances and the effects of my injections, the reader must see no more than a figure of speech, which, without explaining anything, tries to throw a glimmer of light upon it. The long procession of card friars is knocked down by the mere touch of the little finger to the first; the voluminous solution of alum suddenly turns solid under the influence of ...
— The Life of the Fly - With Which are Interspersed Some Chapters of Autobiography • J. Henri Fabre

... strikes our fancy; or perhaps, with the vaguest enunciation possible of any opinion at all, we are satisfied with ourselves if we are merely able to throw off some rounded sentences, to make some pointed remarks on some other subject, or to introduce some figure of speech, or flowers of rhetoric, which, instead of being the vehicle, are the mere substitute of meaning. We wish to take a part in politics, and then nothing is open to us but to follow some person, or some party, and to learn the commonplaces and the watchwords ...
— The Idea of a University Defined and Illustrated: In Nine - Discourses Delivered to the Catholics of Dublin • John Henry Newman

... attempt to resolve it into a natural event, a delusion or hallucination in the minds of the disciples, the eye-witnesses and death-defying witnesses to its truth, or to treat it as an allegory or figure of speech, is to me a signal failure. It must be accepted as the keystone—for such it is—and seal to the great Christian doctrine of a future life, as a historical fact, or rejected as ...
— Historical and Political Essays • William Edward Hartpole Lecky

... picture himself with his eyes and nose open, and decided he didn't look very attractive that way. Well, it was only a figure of speech or something. He didn't ...
— Out Like a Light • Gordon Randall Garrett

... England must be taught her place in the world. England must give up her claims. In hot moments he had gone further, and had declared that England must be—whipped. He had been specially loud against that aristocracy of England which, according to a figure of speech often used by him, was always feeding on the vitals of the people. But now all this was very much changed. He did not go the length of expressing an opinion that the House of Lords was a valuable institution; but he discussed questions of primogeniture and hereditary ...
— He Knew He Was Right • Anthony Trollope

... stories, and he therefore kills them off. The truth, however, is that the sceptic, pessimistic Turgenef could not as an artist faithful to his belief do aught else with his heroes than to let them perish. For to him cruel fate, merciless destiny, was not mere figure of speech, but reality of realities. To Turgenef, life was at bottom a tragedy; and whatever the auspices under which he sent forth his heroes, he felt that sooner or later they must become victims of blind fate, brute force, of the relentlessly grinding, ...
— Lectures on Russian Literature - Pushkin, Gogol, Turgenef, Tolstoy • Ivan Panin

... dignity which he determined to maintain to the utmost of his power; but in the pulpit only did the full measure of this exaltation come over him. Thence he looked down serenely upon the flock of which he was the appointed guide, and among whom his duty lay. The shepherd leading his sheep was no figure of speech for him; he was commissioned to their care, and was conducting them—old men and maidens, boys and gray-haired women—athwart the dangers of the world, toward the great fold. On one side always the fires of hell ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 15, No. 89, March, 1865 • Various

... shameful love of Euthydemus in Xenophon, Memorabilia) does not regard the greatest evil of Greek life as a thing not to be spoken of; but it has a ridiculous element (Plato's Symp.), and is a subject for irony, no less than for moral reprobation (compare Plato's Symp.). It is also used as a figure of speech which no one interpreted literally (compare Xen. Symp.). Nor does Plato feel any repugnance, such as would be felt in modern times, at bringing his great master and hero into connexion with nameless crimes. He is contented with representing ...
— Symposium • Plato

... custom of "offering" what is not intended to be accepted. If that peculiarity ever existed—for my part, I have never met with it at any time—it does so no longer. When a Spaniard speaks of his house as that of "your Grace" (su casa de Usted), it is simply a figure of speech, which has no more special meaning than our own "I am delighted to see you," addressed to some one whose existence you had forgotten, and will forget again; but nothing can exceed the generous hospitality often shown to perfect strangers in country districts where the accommodation for travellers ...
— Spanish Life in Town and Country • L. Higgin and Eugene E. Street

... caballeroso manner—"but," he concluded, "in the most public street of Panama city the first time we meet those three dogs—we shall spit in their faces—that's all, nada mas," and the blazing eyes announced all too plainly what he meant by that figure of speech. ...
— Zone Policeman 88 - A Close Range Study of the Panama Canal and its Workers • Harry A. Franck

... "That's a mere figure of speech, just as one says, 'I'll blow your brains out.' The skilled duellist, however, always aims at the middle of the body; the head does not offer ...
— The Memoires of Casanova, Complete • Jacques Casanova de Seingalt

... States alone, five millions of dollars are invested in the building of printing presses, many of which, by slightest violence to figure of speech, do think and speak. Inspiration was not wholly a thing of long-gone ages, for if ever men received into brain and worked out through hand the divine touch, then were Hoe, and Scott, and ...
— Scientific American Supplement, No. 795, March 28, 1891 • Various

... formed conclusions, but the result of deliberation and conviction, and my judgment to-day approves the language I then used. For the first time in the history of our country we have a government to which the noble words of our Magna Charta of freedom may be applied,—not as a mere figure of speech, but as expressing a simple grand truth,—for it is a government which "derives all its just powers from the consent of the governed." We should pause long and weigh carefully the probable results of our action before consenting to change this government. A regard for ...
— History of Woman Suffrage, Volume III (of III) • Various

... place in—it sounds like the "Arabian Nights" now!—took place in the great room, caravansary, stable, behind a negro-trader's auction-mart, where human beings underwent literally the daily buying and selling of which the world now complains in a figure of speech—a great, square, dusty chamber where, sitting cross-legged, leaning against the wall, or lying on foul blanket pallets on the floor, the bargains of to-day made their brief sojourn, awaiting transformation into the profits of ...
— Balcony Stories • Grace E. King

... Owen to say that figurative language of this kind explains nothing; but it was little less than puerile in him to see no more in the theory of natural selection than such a mere figure of speech. To say that the liver selects the elements of bile, or that nature selects specific types, may both be equally unmeaning re-statements of facts; but when it is explained that the term natural selection, unlike that of "hepatic sensation," ...
— Darwin, and After Darwin (Vol. 1 and 3, of 3) • George John Romanes

... it means a bright point that glitters and twinkles in the sky, and sets him saying an old nursery rhyme. To the youth or maiden it suggests love, romance, a summer eve, or a frosty walk under the friendly winter sky. To the rhetorician it suggests a figure of speech—the star of hope. To the mariner it suggests guidance and the homeward port. To the astronomer it means the world in which he lives. His life is centred in that star. To the poet it means all these things and many more. ...
— The Warriors • Lindsay, Anna Robertson Brown

... Belvern was this. When I had been two days at Holly House, I reflected that my sitting-room faced the wrong way for the view, and that my bedroom was dark and not large enough to swing a cat in. Not that there was the remotest necessity of my swinging cats in it, but the figure of speech is always useful. Neither did I care to occupy myself with the perennial inspection and purchase of raw edibles, when I wished to live in an ideal world and paint a great picture. Mrs. Hobbs would come to my bedside in the morning ...
— Penelope's English Experiences • Kate Douglas Wiggin

... paw opened and shut to illustrate his point as he moved toward the door and the Three Bar girl knew that when Waddles spoke of clamping down it was no mere figure of speech. ...
— The Settling of the Sage • Hal G. Evarts

... of the rhetorical figure called Antanaclasis (or repetition of the same words in a different sense)—that I laughed and my mother smiled. But she smiled reverently, not thinking of the Antanaclasis, as, laying her hand on Roland's arm, she replied in the yet more formidable figure of speech called Epiphonema (or exclamation), "Yet, with all your economy, you would ...
— The Caxtons, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... "Surely," exclaimed the Psalmist, "goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever." This dwelling in "the house of the Lord" is by no means a figure of speech. Nor is it to be regarded as some ineffable privilege to be—possibly to be—enjoyed after that change we call death. Its real significance is here and now. One must dwell in "the house of the Lord" to-day, and every day. The "house of the Lord" is a ...
— The Life Radiant • Lilian Whiting

... delirious fancy this figure of speech became a reality. A rain of blood streamed down upon him from dark clouds; his clothes and hands were wet with the loathsome moisture. He went down to the Nile to cleanse himself, and suddenly saw Nitetis coming towards him. She had the same sweet smile ...
— Uarda • Georg Ebers

... the illusion of looking into our own minds as if our thoughts or feelings were written down in a book. This is another figure of speech, which might be appropriately termed 'the fallacy of the looking-glass.' We cannot look at the mind unless we have the eye which sees, and we can only look, not into, but out of the mind at the thoughts, words, actions of ourselves ...
— Theaetetus • Plato

... are interesting to children, to which we may apply Bacon's principle; for instance, a child is eager to hear a story which you are going to tell him; you may exercise his attention by your manner of telling this story; you may employ with advantage the beautiful figure of speech called suspension: but you must take care, that the hope which is long deferred be at last gratified. The young critics will look back when your story is finished, and will examine whether their attention has ...
— Practical Education, Volume I • Maria Edgeworth

... ideas by modern painters or sculptors, of wealth, of commerce, of health, for instance, shocks, in most cases, the aesthetic sense, as something conventional or rhetorical, as a mere transparent allegory, or figure of speech, which could please almost no one. On the other hand, such symbolical representations, under the form of human persons, as Giotto's Virtues and Vices at Padua, or his Saint Poverty at Assisi, or the series of the planets in certain early Italian engravings, are profoundly ...
— Greek Studies: A Series of Essays • Walter Horatio Pater

... together may be the worst of that sad business,' said the Rev. Archibald Duke, in a tone implying that his wish was a strong figure of speech. ...
— Scenes of Clerical Life • George Eliot

... have remarkably limited comprehensions then if they are incapable of understanding so simple a figure of speech, as that there are two ways to go, and one is harder and safer than the other. I understood it when it was sung to me—and I was a very little child—and believed it, too, until I saw the lives of people contradict it; but if I believed, it still ...
— Four Girls at Chautauqua • Pansy

... we use it (as we do use it) as implying vigour, or vivacity, or crudity, or inexperience, or hope, or a long life before them or any of the romantic attributes of youth, then it is surely as clear as daylight that we are duped by a stale figure of speech. We can easily see the matter clearly by applying it to any other institution parallel to the institution of an independent nationality. If a club called "The Milk and Soda League" (let us say) was set up yesterday, as I have no doubt it was, then, of course, ...
— Heretics • Gilbert K. Chesterton

... House. I would propose that, instead of having a Governor-General and an Indian empire, we should have neither the one nor the other. I would propose that we should have Presidencies, and not an Empire. If I were a Minister—which the House will admit is a bold figure of speech—and if the House were to agree with me—which is also an essential point—I would propose to have at least five Presidencies in India, and I would have the governments of those Presidencies perfectly equal ...
— Speeches on Questions of Public Policy, Volume 1 • John Bright

... Job Truefitt, from forward, making use of a very common nautical figure of speech. "There's port the helm—square away the yards—she'll be down to us ...
— Ronald Morton, or the Fire Ships - A Story of the Last Naval War • W.H.G. Kingston

... observance. To give to all who ask; to lend to all who would borrow; to yield the cloak when the coat is taken forcibly; to turn the left cheek when the right is smitten—all this is to him so evidently but a figure of speech, that he does not find it very hard to satisfy conscience. Setting these passages aside, as not to be taken in the sense of the letter, he does not find it very difficult to dispose of others that come nearer to the obvious duties of man to man—such, for instance, ...
— All's for the Best • T. S. Arthur

... this, gentlemen,' said Mr. Serjeant Buzfuz, 'it is difficult to smile with an aching heart; it is ill jesting when our deepest sympathies are awakened. My client's hopes and prospects are ruined, and it is no figure of speech to say that her occupation is gone indeed. The bill is down—but there is no tenant. Eligible single gentlemen pass and repass—but there is no invitation for them to enquire within or without. All is gloom and silence in the house; even the voice of the child is hushed; his infant sports are disregarded ...
— Bardell v. Pickwick • Percy Fitzgerald

... with an Italian flag. The old gentleman protested, and was thereupon taken to the barracks, where he remained for one day. The Yugoslavs told us that the state of things was worse than in Africa—but that was a figure of speech; the facts were that the different societies and clubs had been closed, that all persons going down to the harbour had been forbidden to speak their own language to their friends on board ship, that three Croat teachers had ...
— The Birth of Yugoslavia, Volume 2 • Henry Baerlein

... habitat be rendered fit to support good plants. The parable is to be studied in the spirit of its purpose; and strained inferences or extensions are unwarranted. A strong metaphor, a striking simile, or any other expressive figure of speech, is of service only when rationally applied; if carried beyond the bounds of reasonable intent, the best of such may become meaningless ...
— Jesus the Christ - A Study of the Messiah and His Mission According to Holy - Scriptures Both Ancient and Modern • James Edward Talmage

... the nightingales on their return with the season of gladness from their winter resorts in the woods of the Caspian coast. The Persian poets tell of the passionate love of the nightingale for the scented rose, and in fanciful figure of speech make the full-blossomed flower complain of too much kissing from its bird-lover, so that its sweetness goes, and its beauty fades far too sadly soon. The boys told me of the number of family pairs, their nests and eggs, and said that they took the young male birds when ...
— Persia Revisited • Thomas Edward Gordon

... with the high social position of the parties and the peculiar sadness of the occasion. That a young man and woman, on the eve of matrimony, and with everything to live for, should be hurled into eternity (a Harringtonian figure of speech) by a railroad train at a rustic crossing, while driving, was certainly an affair heartrending enough to invite every habiliment of woe. As he thus reasoned Harrington became aware that one of the stalwart young men was looking at ...
— The Law-Breakers and Other Stories • Robert Grant

... war-ship visit? she inquired of the Scandinavian viking. And in answer the dead man, asleep for centuries among the rocks of the Isle of Skye, showed golden coins of the caliphs in his skeleton hand. These coins are not a figure of speech; they are real, and may be seen at the Edinburgh Museum. The wand has touched old undeciphered manuscripts, and broken the charm that kept them dumb. From them rose songs, music, love-ditties, and war-cries: phrases so full of life that the living hearts of to-day have been stirred ...
— A Literary History of the English People - From the Origins to the Renaissance • Jean Jules Jusserand

... And if the end would win the approval of Y.D.—and of Y.D.'s daughter—then any means was justified. Had not Linder said, "Burn the grass on the road?" Drazk knew well enough that Linder's remark was a figure of speech, but his eccentric mind found no trouble in converting it into ...
— Dennison Grant - A Novel of To-day • Robert Stead

... clear, then, that we are not here entitled to suppose Shakspere a reader of the Senecan tragedies; and even were it otherwise, the passage in question is a figure of speech rather than a reflection on life or a stimulus to such reflection. And the same holds good of the other interesting but inconclusive parallels drawn by ...
— Montaigne and Shakspere • John M. Robertson

... or metaphysics can alone charm away metaphysical illusions, which are always reappearing, formerly in the fancies of neoplatonist writers, now in the disguise of experience and common sense. An analogy, a figure of speech, an intelligible theory, a superficial observation of the individual, have often been mistaken for a true account of the ...
— Cratylus • Plato

... existence. It has been a mighty lucky thing for her that the Red Cross was ready to take it off her shoulders, and she has turned to us (How does that sound? Can you imagine me doing anything useful?) with tears of appeal and gratitude. That isn't a figure of speech. I have actually seen the Prefect of this Province, who would rank with the governor of one of our states, and who is a brave, capable man, cry like a woman over the seeming hopelessness of the ghastly problem. ...
— 'Smiles' - A Rose of the Cumberlands • Eliot H. Robinson

... memory now. If Jonah's gourd had not been a little too much used already, it would serve an excellent turn just here in the way of an apt figure of speech illustrating the growth, the wilting, and the withering of Metropolisville. The last time I saw the place the grass grew green where once stood the City Hall, the corn-stalks waved their banners on the very site of the old store—I ask pardon, the "Emporium"—of ...
— The Mystery of Metropolisville • Edward Eggleston

... isn't. I used that as a figure of speech. But I'm sure if you try to be quiet and well-behaved children you ...
— Marjorie's Maytime • Carolyn Wells

... can't help observing here that this must have been the merest figure of speech, for just then there was a comfortable little glow of satisfaction about Mrs. Selldon's heart. She was so delighted to have "got on well," as she expressed it, with the literary lion, and by this time dessert was on the table, ...
— The Autobiography of a Slander • Edna Lyall

... out of that figure of speech," suggested Jonathan. "Go back to your princess. Say, 'every man his ...
— More Jonathan Papers • Elisabeth Woodbridge

... contains old glass, and in the centre of the floor is placed the chair of Purbeck marble in which the Archbishops are enthroned. As it is no longer considered as old as the days of Augustine the title St. Augustine's Chair must be regarded as a figure of speech. ...
— Beautiful Britain • Gordon Home

... time, his glance is projected downwards; and all things that are illumined by this double ray of light, nature conjures to discharge their strength, to reveal their most hidden secret, and this through bashfulness. It is more than a mere figure of speech to say that he surprised Nature with that glance, that he caught her naked; that is why she would conceal her shame by seeming precisely the reverse. What has hitherto been invisible, the inner life, seeks its salvation in the region of the visible; what ...
— Thoughts out of Season (Part One) • Friedrich Nietzsche

... a bold figure of speech, but not exactly the right thing; for, unhappily, the pat opening had slipped away—even couplets from Pope may be but "fallings from us, vanishings," when fear clutches us, and a glass of sherry is hurrying like smoke among our ideas. Ladislaw, who stood at the ...
— Middlemarch • George Eliot

... figure of speech, because there is such a continual change of life and death going on in the soft tissues of the body that in a month or more of fasting it may be assumed that much of the tissues which is left has undergone reconstruction, and both brain and stomach act as if they ...
— The No Breakfast Plan and the Fasting-Cure • Edward Hooker Dewey

... dear boy, not literally, but in a figure of speech; as the Lord, when declaring he never will forget Zion, says, 'I have graven thee upon the palms of My hands; thy walls are continually ...
— Tiger and Tom and Other Stories for Boys • Various

... But for military purposes the curia was called a century, because it furnished a quota of one hundred men to the army. The word century originally meant a company of a hundred men, and it was only by a figure of speech that it afterward came to mean a period of a hundred years. Now among all Germanic peoples, including the English, the brotherhood seems to have been called the hundred. Our English forefathers seem to ...
— Civil Government in the United States Considered with - Some Reference to Its Origins • John Fiske

... singular request more as a figure of speech than a real demand, but an hysteria was upon Haw-Haw Langley. He stretched up his vast, gaunt arms to the dim spot of red in the central heavens above the fire, and Haw-Haw prayed for the first and last time ...
— The Night Horseman • Max Brand

... Timar, "Michael, I have something to tell you—this autumn will be my last. I know that death is near. For twenty years I have suffered from the disease which will kill me; it is heart complaint. Do not look on this as a figure of speech; it is a fatal disease, but I have always concealed it, and never complained. I have kept it under by patience, and you have helped me by the love you showed and the joys you prepared for me. If you had not done so, ...
— Timar's Two Worlds • Mr Jkai

... and shortening of life, this accumulating amount of ill health, causes an annual loss, in each of our great cities, of productive capacity to the value of millions of dollars, as well as an unnatural expense of millions more. This is no figure of speech. The community is poorer by millions of dollars each year through the waste which it allows of health and life. Leaving out of view all humane considerations, all thought of the misery, social and moral, which accompanies this physical degradation, and looking simply at ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 5, No. 32, June, 1860 • Various

... think that, after having so long anticapated that party, I am now here in sackcloth and ashes, which is a figure of speech for the Peter Thompson uniform of the school, with plain white for evenings and ...
— Bab: A Sub-Deb • Mary Roberts Rinehart

... The figure of speech pleased her, and as she walked on to the store a vision of blue sea rose before her. On it she seemed to see a fleet of little boats with white sails swelling in the wind. On each sail was a letter and all ...
— Mary Ware's Promised Land • Annie Fellows Johnston

... addressing of our virtuous withes and desires to the Deity, since the address has no influence on him, is only a kind of rhetorical figure, in order to render these wishes more ardent and passionate. This is Mr. Leechman's doctrine. Now the use of any figure of speech can never be a duty. Secondly, this figure, like most figures of rhetoric, has an evident impropriety in it, for we can make use of no expression, or even thought, in prayers and entreaties, which does not imply that these prayers have an ...
— Life Of Johnson, Volume 5 • Boswell

... much in this respect that they scarcely credit each other's testimony. Some who had practically zero imagery held that the "picture before the mind's eye" spoken of by the poets was a myth or mere figure of speech; while those who were accustomed to vivid images could not understand what the others could possibly mean by "remembering facts about the breakfast table without having any image of it", and were strongly tempted to accuse them ...
— Psychology - A Study Of Mental Life • Robert S. Woodworth

... him wonderingly. He had never said it to her before. Perhaps it was a figure of speech which people reserved for travelling. She supposed there was always the danger of a possible accident. Ah! if they could only have started off together, as he said, and never gone back to Sleepy Hollow ...
— A Princess in Calico • Edith Ferguson Black

... it appears merely an epicurean doctrine: 'Eat, drink, and be merry, for to-morrow we die.' I have gone through so many yesterdays when I strove with Death that I have realised to its full the wisdom of that sentence; and it is to me not merely a figure of speech, but a literal fact. Any to-morrow I might die. It is scarcely two months since I came back from the grave: is it worth while to be anything but radiantly glad? Of all things that life or perhaps my temperament has given me I prize the gift of laughter ...
— The Golden Threshold • Sarojini Naidu

... lesson from Jan Steenbock, teaching him that a placid man was not necessarily one who would quietly put up with insult and rough treatment, and proving that the tables of life are frequently turned in fact as they sometimes are in figure of speech! ...
— The Island Treasure • John Conroy Hutcheson

... tales eternal life is contained in food points again (as we have found to be the case with the Biblical narratives of Creation and of the Deluge) to a common source for the two traditions. Similarly the phrase 'waters of life' is a figure of speech of frequent occurrence in Biblical literature in both the Old and the New Testaments. It is no argument against a common source for the Hebrew and Babylonian stories explaining how man came to forego immortality, ...
— The Religion of Babylonia and Assyria • Morris Jastrow

... he said—all. It expressed pretty well what he felt he should feel. That reference to God she would, of course, understand. God was to him a Figure of Speech. He had said as much to Phyllis Ayrton. But then he had said that he had regarded God to mean the Power by which men were able (sometimes) successfully to combat the influences of nature. But had he not just then made up his mind to yield to that passion which God, as a Principle, has ...
— Phyllis of Philistia • Frank Frankfort Moore

... that's only a figure of speech; I thought so from his voice. He was ever so tender, and took to Dutch when English was too cool for him. It was really touching, for I never heard a fellow do it before; and, upon my word, I should think it was rather a tough job to say that sort of thing to a pretty woman, mask ...
— On Picket Duty and Other Tales • Louisa May Alcott

... with the weathercocks, pay my compliments to the bells, inspect the fire-alarm, and pick up information by listening at the telegraph wires. People often talk about "a little bird" who spreads news; but they don't know how that figure of speech originated. It is the sparrows sitting on the wires, who receive the electric shock, and, being hollow-boned, the news go straight to their heads; they then fly about, chirping it on the housetops, and the air carries it everywhere. That's the way ...
— Aunt Jo's Scrap-Bag • Louisa M. Alcott

... of the Army and Navy is in fact the treasurer. A permanent and radical change should therefore be decreed. The patronage incident to the Presidential office, already great, is constantly increasing. Such increase is destined to keep pace with the growth of our population, until, without a figure of speech, an army of officeholders may be spread over the land. The unrestrained power exerted by a selfishly ambitious man in order either to perpetuate his authority or to hand it over to some favorite as his successor may lead to the employment of all the means ...
— A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents: Tyler - Section 2 (of 3) of Volume 4: John Tyler • Compiled by James D. Richardson

... at the river?" he gave out as the first hymn. Some sang it falteringly; they had their own ideas of Bill's chances in the next world, and did not consider the "river" just the proper figure of speech to describe it. ...
— The Second Chance • Nellie L. McClung

... said the old lady. "That blessed gyirl"—the old lady called her a girl by a sort of figure of speech perhaps—"that blessed gyirl's the kindest creetur you ever saw—comes here every day, most, to cheer a body up ...
— The Hoosier Schoolmaster - A Story of Backwoods Life in Indiana • Edward Eggleston

... no figure of speech. In those days men were but too well accustomed to hewing off heads. Leif meant to have his orders attended to, and the men ...
— The Norsemen in the West • R.M. Ballantyne

... shift. The waste and renewal which business entails leave the equivalent of the million dollars always on hand, though never in the literal shape of money. A stock of shifting goods always worth a million dollars is, by a figure of speech, described as a million dollars "invested in ...
— Essentials of Economic Theory - As Applied to Modern Problems of Industry and Public Policy • John Bates Clark

... The battle lasts all day, beginning when the earliest rays gild the mountain tops, and continues until the West is driven to the edge of the world. As the evening precedes the morning, so the West, by a figure of speech, may be ...
— American Hero-Myths - A Study in the Native Religions of the Western Continent • Daniel G. Brinton

... figure of speech is a change from the usual form of expression for the purpose of producing a greater effect. These changes may be effective either because they are more pleasing to us or because they are more forcible, ...
— Composition-Rhetoric • Stratton D. Brooks

... The figure of speech or of thought by which we transfer the language and ideas of a familiar science to one with which we are less acquainted may be ...
— Five of Maxwell's Papers • James Clerk Maxwell

... prepared to sacrifice St. Elmo and the lives of its entire garrison to attain his end. He did not, however—to continue the simile of La Cerda—prescribe for others a medicine which he himself was not prepared to take, and when he said that he would go to the fort of St. Elmo it was no mere figure of speech. The council of the Knights, however, would not hear of the Grand Master thus sacrificing himself; well did these noble gentlemen know that there was none among them like unto him, that his name and his influence were worth an ...
— Sea-Wolves of the Mediterranean • E. Hamilton Currey

... trial. He was a youth of about twenty-two, intelligent, handsome, and amiable, but extremely indolent, in a graceful and gentlemanly way; or, as old Judge Fenderson put it more than once, he was lazy as the Devil,—a mere figure of speech, of course, and not one that did justice to the Enemy of Mankind. When asked why he never did anything serious, Dick would good-naturedly reply, with a well-modulated drawl, that he did n't have to. His father was rich; there was but one ...
— The Wife of his Youth and Other Stories of the Color Line, and - Selected Essays • Charles Waddell Chesnutt

... supply A. A. D. with several examples in English, from my commonplace-book, of the "bold figure of speech not uncommon in the vivid language of Greece;" and among the rest, one from ...
— Notes and Queries, Number 186, May 21, 1853 • Various

... word you're too good—I don't deserve such sacrifices," said Peter, who read in his kinsman's face that this was not a figure of speech but the absolute truth. "Didn't it, however, occur to you that, as it would turn out, I might—I even naturally would—myself ...
— The Tragic Muse • Henry James

... man was unbegotten, inasmuch as "man" stood for the Person of the Father. But if one were to go on to say, "The man is unbegotten; the Son is man; therefore the Son is unbegotten," it would be the fallacy of figure of speech or of accident; even as we now say God is unbegotten, because the Father is unbegotten, yet we cannot conclude that the Son is unbegotten, although ...
— Summa Theologica, Part III (Tertia Pars) - From the Complete American Edition • Thomas Aquinas

... more comprehensive way, out of Parliament altogether? Burke said there were Three Estates in Parliament; but, in the Reporters' Gallery yonder, there sat a Fourth Estate more important far than they all. It is not a figure of speech, or a witty saying; it is a literal fact,—very momentous to us in these times. Literature is our Parliament too. Printing, which comes necessarily out of Writing, I say often, is equivalent to Democracy: invent Writing, Democracy is inevitable. Writing brings Printing; brings universal ...
— Sartor Resartus, and On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History • Thomas Carlyle

... Root fell into the greatest of all possible rages, and, as we like a figure of speech called a climax, we must say, that Mrs Root fell into a much greater. They would turn the hussey out of the house that instant; they would do that, they would do this, and they would do the other. At length, the ...
— Rattlin the Reefer • Edward Howard

... Mary, stanching the flow. "You were not so badly mistaken. I wasn't satisfied, but I was about to surrender." She smiled at herself and her warlike figure of speech. ...
— Dr. Sevier • George W. Cable

... had known all about her he might have formed a larger estimate of her staying-power. But he did not yet know what she was. That bad word that he had once let out through the window had been in Ranny's simple mind a mere figure of speech, a flowering expletive, flung to the dark, devoid of meaning and of fitness. He did not know what Violet's impulses and her instincts really were. He did not know that what he called her flabbiness was the inertia in which ...
— The Combined Maze • May Sinclair

... a story, children. If the man said there was a horse under him, it was a figure of speech, which we call hyperbole; he only meant to state in a funny way that the mud ...
— Dotty Dimple Out West • Sophie May

... reasonable men find it hard to understand how any one in his senses can suppose that by eating bread or drinking wine he consumes the body or blood of a deity. "When we call corn Ceres and wine Bacchus," says Cicero, "we use a common figure of speech; but do you imagine that anybody is so insane as to believe that the thing he feeds upon ...
— The Golden Bough - A study of magic and religion • Sir James George Frazer

... below the surface, and bring up the supposed secondary, or still more remote meaning, that diviner signification held in reserve, in recessu divinius aliquid, latent in some stray touch of Homer, or figure of speech in the ...
— The Renaissance - Studies in Art and Poetry • Walter Pater

... figure of speech—an unusual metaphor, for example—may often be used in the beginning of an article to arouse curiosity. As the comparison in a metaphor is implied rather than expressed, the points of likeness may ...
— How To Write Special Feature Articles • Willard Grosvenor Bleyer

... cities vertically instead of horizontally there passed from our highways a picturesque figure, and from our language an expressive figure of speech. That oily-tongued, persuasive, soft-stepping stranger in the rusty Prince Albert and the black string tie who had been wont to haunt our back steps and front offices with his carefully wrapped bundle, ...
— Personality Plus - Some Experiences of Emma McChesney and Her Son, Jock • Edna Ferber

... they had the faces to say, the Leeks, and Onyons they worshipped, were not very Leeks, and Onyons, but a Divinity under their Species, or likenesse. The words, "This is my Body," are aequivalent to these, "This signifies, or represents my Body;" and it is an ordinary figure of Speech: but to take it literally, is an abuse; nor though so taken, can it extend any further, than to the Bread which Christ himself with his own hands Consecrated. For hee never said, that of what Bread soever, any Priest whatsoever, should say, "This ...
— Leviathan • Thomas Hobbes

... a business man,—as perhaps you know. I make it a point never to deal with any one except the head of a concern, if you'll pardon my way of putting it. It isn't right to speak of Growstock as a concern, but you'll understand, of course. Figure of speech." ...
— The Prince of Graustark • George Barr McCutcheon

... viii., p. 640.).—This phrase is identical with that of "petitio principii," a figure of speech well known both to logicians and mathematicians, i. e. assuming a point as proved, and reasoning upon it as such, which has in fact ...
— Notes and Queries, Number 233, April 15, 1854 • Various

... have spread over the last eighty years it has been well said that "to be borne in one world, to die in another, is, in the case of very old people, scarcely a figure of speech," so marvellous is the difference between the surroundings of their cradle and their grave. Standing by the Janus at the portals of the two centuries, what a contrast was presented in the backward ...
— Fragments of Two Centuries - Glimpses of Country Life when George III. was King • Alfred Kingston

... tell, that last word of mine gave me an idea. Looking back I can see what tremendous things was hid in that chance speech, for it decided my life in a manner of speaking. Of course when I told Greg he weren't the only one, I used a figure of speech and no more, because there weren't none else and never had been; but now, as I unrayed for bed, I asked myself how it would be if there was another after me, and though very well knowing that no such thing could possibly happen, I let the thought run, pictured ...
— The Torch and Other Tales • Eden Phillpotts

... teeth of her grandmother's cat! I must rank pretty low in the consideration of Dejah Thoris, I thought; but I could not help laughing at the strange figure of speech, so homely and in this respect so earthly. It made me homesick, for it sounded very much like "not fit to polish her shoes." And then commenced a train of thought quite new to me. I began to wonder what my people at home ...
— A Princess of Mars • Edgar Rice Burroughs

... One couldn't swear he hadn't. Bolted he certainly has, but if she will hope I can't say that I know he has gone with Miss Nash. Though I am sure he has: how else would he undertake to repay me in a few days? Unless that is only a figure of speech." ...
— Lippincott's Magazine, Vol. 22, November, 1878 - of Popular Literature and Science • Various

... silent with indignation for a long time; and in his case this was not a mere figure of speech either, but a grim reality, ...
— The Strange Cabin on Catamount Island • Lawrence J. Leslie

... inward self, naturally," he said. "We call it 'soul' as a figure of speech; it is ...
— Ziska - The Problem of a Wicked Soul • Marie Corelli

... and modes of expression which have no meaning apart from this belief in the conscious animation of every object in the world. They may move us for the moment by their utterances; but we never take their raptures literally. To the savage, however, it is no figure of speech to call upon the sun to behold some great deed, or to declare that the moon hides her face; to assert that the ocean smiles, or that the river swells with rage, and overwhelms a wayfarer who is crossing it, or an unsuspecting village on its banks. These phrases for him fit the facts of ...
— The Science of Fairy Tales - An Inquiry into Fairy Mythology • Edwin Sidney Hartland

... words and phrases; e.g., at the end of the first paragraph of Mathilda's speech, the words "of incertitude" appear in Mathilda for the first time. She cancels, even in this final draft, an over-elaborate figure of speech after the words in the father's reply, "implicated in my destruction"; the cancelled passage is too flowery to be appropriate here: "as if when a vulture is carrying off some hare it is struck by an arrow his helpless victim entangled in the same ...
— Mathilda • Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

... readin' that fine print there in the dark. W'y don't you go over to the light?... I'll 'ave to 'ave them shutters tyken off the winders." This was Stryker's amiable figure of speech, frequently employed to indicate the coverings ...
— The Black Bag • Louis Joseph Vance

... he had nothing to say to the merits of my arguments, he objected to every one of them, on the ground of formality. This was too long, and that was too short; one was too high, and another too low; a fifth was too broad, and a sixth too narrow; in short, there was no figure of speech of this nature to which he did not resort, in order to prove their worthlessness, with the exception that I do not remember he charged any of my reasons with ...
— The Monikins • J. Fenimore Cooper

... of her Church was to her divinest truth. The supernatural was real, the spiritual actual. The conflict between the powers of light and the powers of darkness, between good angels and evil angels, between benign influences and malefic forces, was no figure of speech with her, but a reality. In these last years of her life more especially the earthly veil seemed to have fallen over her eyes. She seemed to have grasped something of the vision of the servant of Elisha, for whom the prophet prayed: "Lord, ...
— The Romance of Isabel Lady Burton Volume II • Isabel Lady Burton & W. H. Wilkins

... In the Moluccas we may read a compendium of the wide-spread history which applies to the vast regions comprised in the mighty Archipelago. The doctrine of earthly changes and chances, too often accepted as a mere figure of speech, is here recognised as a stern reality; the tragedies of destruction repeat themselves through the ages, the laboratories of Nature eternally forge fresh thunderbolts, and the fate of humanity trembles in the balance. ...
— Through the Malay Archipelago • Emily Richings

... and faint lines. Their gorgeous colouring has effaced me altogether. People forget how much mode of expression, method of movement, are a matter of contagion. I have heard of stage-struck people before, and thought it a figure of speech. I spoke of it jestingly, as a disease. It is no jest. It is a disease. And I have got it badly! Deep down within me I protest against the wrong done to my personality—unavailingly. For three hours or more a week I have to go and ...
— The Country of the Blind, And Other Stories • H. G. Wells

... "A doubtful figure of speech," Sir William broke in. "I think you should establish the personality before you attempt to give a feature to the ...
— The Shaving of Shagpat • George Meredith

... evident that if what we have been describing as the process of recall is true, then the commonly accepted idea that practice in memorizing makes memorizing easier is false, and that there is no truth in the popular figure of speech that likens the memory to a muscle ...
— The Trained Memory • Warren Hilton

... point, but the height of our affirmation is taken with it. It is a figure of speech and intensifies the affirmative with ...
— The Philosophy of the Plays of Shakspere Unfolded • Delia Bacon

... wonder, Ford—and that's no figure of speech. How on earth did you manage to do it ...
— Empire Builders • Francis Lynde

... Peter.—In addressing Peter as "Satan," Jesus was obviously using a forceful figure of speech, and not a literal designation; for Satan is a distinct personage, Lucifer, that fallen, unembodied son of the morning (see page 7); and certainly Peter was not he. In his remonstrance or "rebuke" addressed to Jesus, Peter was really counseling what Satan had ...
— Jesus the Christ - A Study of the Messiah and His Mission According to Holy - Scriptures Both Ancient and Modern • James Edward Talmage

... sentiment in the matter, there are other circumstances in the change which cannot fail to disquiet them. I hinted just now that the "residential" people would not grieve if the labouring folk took their departure. Now, this is no figure of speech. Although it is likely that not one cottager in twenty has any real cause to fear removal, there has been enough disturbance of the old families to prove that nobody is quite safe. Thus, about two years ago, when some cottage property near to a new "residence" was bought ...
— Change in the Village • (AKA George Bourne) George Sturt

... really know. It was vaguely supposed to imply some intensely feminine fancy-work done by old ladies, and used as a figure of speech ...
— T. Tembarom • Frances Hodgson Burnett

... hardly necessary to say that the word impinge, as a general term to express collision of forces, is here used by a figure of speech, and not as expressive of any theory respecting the nature ...
— A System Of Logic, Ratiocinative And Inductive • John Stuart Mill

... probably a vibration, of the corpuscles of bodies, tending to separate them." ... "To distinguish this motion from others, and to signify the causes of our sensations of heat, etc., the name repulsive motion has been adopted." Here we have a most important idea. It would be somewhat a bold figure of speech to say the earth and moon are kept apart by a repulsive motion; and yet, after all, what is centrifugal force but a repulsive motion, and may it not be that there is no such thing as repulsion, and that it ...
— Scientific American Supplement, No. 460, October 25, 1884 • Various

... make the performance so much the more interesting. And now, as the conjurer says when he begins, observe that there is no deception. That is the figure of speech called lying, because there is to be nothing but deception from beginning to end. Did you ever consider the nature of a lie, Unorna? It is ...
— The Witch of Prague • F. Marion Crawford

... knew, for instance, that the Queen herself would in such a matter act so simply in accordance with the advice of some one else, that the pardon, if given, would not in the least depend on her Majesty's sentiments. To call it the Queen's pardon was a simple figure of speech. This was manifest to him, and he was driven to endeavour to make it manifest to her. She spoke of a petition to be sent direct to the Queen, and insinuated that Robert Bolton, if he were anything like a real brother, would force himself ...
— John Caldigate • Anthony Trollope

... having combed his hair and washed behind his ears, a word now and then to show that he is awake (I am assuming that he controls the tendency to wriggle)—and no more is needed. He is a lay figure, but not necessarily a lay figure of speech. ...
— The Perfect Gentleman • Ralph Bergengren

... probability the time will come when that story or that figure of speech will just fit in to illustrate some point he is trying to make. Nor does the correspondent restrict his material to the subject in which he is directly interested, for ideas spring from many sources and the advertisement of some firm in an entirely different ...
— Business Correspondence • Anonymous

... this expression, I cannot but think that Mr. Biglow has been too hasty in attributing it to me. Though Time be a comparatively innocent personage to swear by, and though Longinus in his discourse {Peri Hypsous} has commended timely oaths as not only a useful but sublime figure of speech, yet I have always kept my lips free from that abomination. Odi profanum vulgus, I hate your swearing ...
— The Biglow Papers • James Russell Lowell

... of the shanties I learnt as a boy from Blyth sailors, and which has never been printed before. I fancy that 'blackbird' and 'crew' must be a perversion of 'blackbird and crow,' as the latter figure of speech occurs in other shanties. ...
— The Shanty Book, Part I, Sailor Shanties • Richard Runciman Terry

... forgotten it? Shall the Judge of all the earth do right in the matter of all men's guilt but ours? Does the apostle's warning not hold in our case?—his awful warning that we shall all stand before the judgment-seat? And is it only a strong figure of speech that the books shall be opened till we shall cry to the mountains to fall on us and to the rocks to cover us? Oh no! the truth is, the half has not been told us of the speechless stupefaction that shall fall on us when the trumpet shall sound and when ...
— Bunyan Characters - Third Series - The Holy War • Alexander Whyte

... a current" is now understood to be mere figure of speech; it is thought that a wire does little else than give direction to electric energy. Pulsations of high tension have been proved to be mainly superficial in their journeys, so that they are best conveyed (or convoyed) by conductors of tubular form. And what is it ...
— Little Masterpieces of Science: - Invention and Discovery • Various

... has gone through these experiences more than once, and fully realised the peculiar sensation of helplessness, confusion, and brain numbing which follows. Dark as pitch is mostly a figure of speech, for the obscurity is generally relieved by something in the form of dull light which does enable a person to see his hand before him; but the blackness around, when Archibald Raystoke began to come back ...
— Cutlass and Cudgel • George Manville Fenn

... was merely a figure of speech. And besides, since you've been out with Benny, I've been thinking, and I take back everything I've said or thought against Christmas; I didn't really think it. I've been going back in my ...
— The Daughter of the Storage - And Other Things in Prose and Verse • William Dean Howells

... for a more effective figure of speech. "If you were walking about your place, and found something wounded, you'd want to take it home and tend it, wouldn't you, till you'd put it to rights again? And the more you tended it the fonder of it you'd be. But you wouldn't stop to ask whether a boy had thrown ...
— The Letter of the Contract • Basil King

... phrases of the street are not only forcible but subtle: for a figure of speech can often get into a crack too small for a definition. Phrases like "put out" or "off colour" might have been coined by Mr. Henry James in an agony of verbal precision. And there is no more subtle truth than that of the everyday phrase ...
— Orthodoxy • G. K. Chesterton

... has been contended that this phrase about a man who does wrong breaking a law, is only a metaphor and figure of speech, unless it be used with reference to the enactment of some civil community. Thus John Austin says that a natural law is a law which is not, but which he who uses the expression thinks ought to be made. At this rate sin ...
— Moral Philosophy • Joseph Rickaby, S. J.

... temperament like a storm at sea. It seems the very embodiment of violence and force. The mere sight of the sea angry almost terrifies one, even if one is perfectly safe from the violence of the storm; but the depths are not stirred. And in the case of a woman I would take a different figure of speech altogether, and say that very often the strain on her is much less dramatic, much less violent, and more persistent. I think of the strain as something like that silent, uninterrupted thrust of an arch against the wall, of a dome on the ...
— Sex And Common-Sense • A. Maude Royden

... Guide, if we propose ever to arrive at the greatest worldly Happiness; or to defend ourselves, with any tolerable Security, against the Misery which everywhere surrounds and invests us." [9] And that this was no mere figure of speech appears from that touching picture which Murphy has left us of the brilliant wit, the 'wild' Harry Fielding, when under the pressure of sickness and poverty, quietly reading the De Consolations of Cicero. His Plato accompanied him on the last sad voyage to Lisbon; and his library, ...
— Henry Fielding: A Memoir • G. M. Godden

... to the circumstances or atmosphere in which the plain words are spoken. The drama is full of such instances. "I loved you not," says Hamlet; to which Ophelia replies only: "I was the more deceived." No figure of speech could be more moving ...
— A Study of Poetry • Bliss Perry

... Mr. Vernon, my late client, a man—I'll not deny it—of inconstant affections (you understand me, Inspector?), did not greatly concern himself with his wife's movements. She belonged to a smart Bohemian set, and—to use a popular figure of speech—burnt the candle at both ends; late dances, night clubs, bridge parties, and other feverish pursuits, possibly taken up as a result of the—shall I say ...
— The Yellow Claw • Sax Rohmer

... care on the surface of the water), the accused was condemned, on the principle of King James, who, in treating of this mode of trial, lays down that, as witches have renounced their baptism, so it is just that the element through which the holy rite is enforced should reject them, which is a figure of speech, and no argument. It was Hopkins's custom to keep the poor wretches waking, in order to prevent them from having encouragement from the devil, and, doubiless, to put infirm, terrified, overwatched persons in the next state to absolute madness; and for the same purpose they ...
— Letters On Demonology And Witchcraft • Sir Walter Scott

... the settlement at Port Darwin, is beautifully situated on wooded headlands, jutting out into the harbour, in whose ample waters it is no figure of speech to say the navies of Europe could be anchored. The buildings have been erected with considerable taste. A fine esplanade has been laid out along the sea front. The electric wire connects Palmerston with all ...
— The Last Voyage - to India and Australia, in the 'Sunbeam' • Lady (Annie Allnutt) Brassey

... indications that those who enjoyed an exceptional popularity may have occupied a high social standing. Ezekiel, whose characterizations of the false prophets are remarkably striking, uses about them a significant figure of speech. He says that, while a true prophet was like a wall of fire to his country, standing in the breach when danger threatened and defending it with his life, the false prophets were like the foxes that burrow ...
— The Preacher and His Models - The Yale Lectures on Preaching 1891 • James Stalker

... is born into. Hence a being all split into precipitous chasms and the wildest volcanic tumults; rocks over-grown indeed with tropical luxuriance of leaf and flower but knit together at the bottom—that was my old figure of speech—only by an ocean of whisky punch. On these terms nothing can be done. Wilson seems to me always by far the most gifted of our literary men either then or still. And yet intrinsically he has written nothing that can endure. The central ...
— Essays in English Literature, 1780-1860 • George Saintsbury



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