Types of Figurative Language and Explain with Examples

Figurative language is a kind of language in which a writer compares something with another thing. In simple words, figurative language refers to the words or expressions that do not have literal meaning. The words or expressions have meaning, but different from their literal meaning. The main objective of using figurative language is to make comparisons, alterations or exaggerations so as to point out particular a phrase or a sentence.


The writers often use figurative language in order to make their work more interesting and dramatic for the readers. This type of language is specifically used in poetry and also used in non-fiction writing. Figurative language is categorized into various forms such as simile, metaphors, personification, alliteration, hyperbole, onomatopoeia, idioms and cliché. Let us discuss various types of figurative language in detail.

Watch this video: Types of Figurative Language

1.    Simile: Simile is a figure of speech and it is used to compare two different things by using the words ‘like’ or ‘as’.

For example : The man is as cunning as a fox.

2.    Metaphor: Metaphor is also a figure of speech, which is used to make a comparison between two things that are not related to each other, but share few common characteristics.

For example : She is the apple of her fathers’ eye.

3.    Personification: Personification is a literary device in which human qualities are given to an abstract idea, object or an animal.

For example : The moon was resting in the midnight sky.

4.    Alliteration: It refers to the repetition of similar initial letters, sound or a group of sound in a sentence.

For example: Betty Botter bought some butter.

5.    Hyperbole: Hyperbole is a figure of speech that is mainly used for deliberate exaggeration in order to make a point.

For example: She as skinny as a toothpick.

6.    Onomatopoeia: It is used to indicate a thing or an action by imitating or describing the sound related with it.

For example: Water plops into the pond splish-splash.

7.    Idioms: An idiom is an expression that indicates a particular person or group of people.

For example: ‘Spill the beans’

8.    Cliché: A cliché is an expression or idea that is overused and has lost its originality.

For example: All is well that ends well.