figure of speech

noun, plural figures of speech. Rhetoric.
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. Compare trope ( def 1 ).

Origin:
1815–25

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World English Dictionary
figure of speech
 
n
an expression of language, such as simile, metaphor, or personification, by which the usual or literal meaning of a word is not employed

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Example sentences
Figures of speech, parentheses, and punctuation demand notice.
If you can't interpret figures of speech, go brush up on them.
The use of vivid description or figures of speech in speaking or writing to
  produce mental images.
Students may have difficulty understanding and using some idioms, figures of
  speech and words with multiple meanings.
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