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Adage: an old saying that has been popularly accepted as a truth; a saying often in metaphorical form that embodies a common observation. Example: "Nothing ventured, nothing gained."
Famous non-quotation: a well-known phrase attributed to someone who, in fact, did not say it; this may be due to (1) parody or satire of the original, (2) a corruption or mistranslation of the original phrase, possibly accidental, which became better known than the original, (3) a deliberate misquoting or made-up quote intended to discredit the alleged speaker, or (4) attribution to a well-known person to improve the appearance of the phrase or the person.
Air quotes: the action of using one's fingers to make quotation marks in the air during speech; often used to express some degree of satire, sarcasm, irony, or euphemism.
Analecta: a collection of excerpts from a literary work.
Antanaclasis: repeating a single word but with a different meaning each time. This is a common type of pun and is often found in slogans. Example: "If you aren't fired with enthusiasm, you will be fired with enthusiasm." ~Vince Lombardi
Antimetabole: figure of emphasis in which the words in one phrase or clause are replicated, exactly or closely, in reverse grammatical order in the next phrase or clause. It is similar to chiasmus although chiasmus does not use repetition of the same words or phrases. Example: "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." ~John F. Kennedy
Anthology: a collection of selected literary pieces or passages or works of art or music.
Aphorism: a short, concise statement of a principle or a short, pointed sentence expressing a wise or clever observation or a general truth; a terse formulation of a truth or sentiment. According to James Geary in The World in a Phrase: A Brief History of the Aphorism, the five laws of aphorisms are: it must be brief, it must be definitive, it must be personal, it must have a twist, and it must be philosophical. Example: "Believe nothing you hear, and only half of what you see." ~Mark Twain
Aphorist: someone who formulates aphorisms.
Apothegm: a short, pithy, and instructive saying or formulation; apothegms are more purposeful philosophical opinions than epithets. Example: "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely." ~Lord Acton
Attributed: when used following the author's name in the citation of a quotation, it means regarded as belonging to, written or said by, etc.; to regard as characteristic of a person or thing. A quotation cited with an author's name followed by the word attributed was not necessarily said or written by that person but is commonly regarded as the author anyway because it seems to be in their style, something they would or could have said. The main point in cases of this type of attribution is that the citation of the author is either not certain or admittedly incorrect.
Attribution: the ascribing of a work (as of literature or art) to a particular author or artist.
Axiom: a statement universally accepted as true; a maxim widely accepted on its intrinsic merit; an established rule or principle or a self-evident truth. Example: "Goods and services can be paid for only with goods and services."
Bon mot: a witticism, a clever or witty turn of phrase; a bon mot is a particularly well-turned phrase, distinguished more by wittiness than by profundity. Example: "Hard work is simply the refuge of people who have nothing whatever to do." ~Oscar Wilde
Bromide: informal term for a platitude that is especially dull, tiresome, or annoying; so often repeated it has lost its meaning.
Byword: a proverbial expression; proverb; often-used word or phrase.
Chiasmus: figure of speech in which two clauses are related to each other through a reversal of structures in order to make a larger point; the two clauses display inverted parallelism. The elements of a simple chiasmus are often labelled in the form A B B A, where the letters correspond to grammar, words, or meaning. In modern day, chiasmus is often used synonymously with antimetabole but in the classical sense of the word, chiasmus does not repeat the same words. Example: "By day the frolic, and the dance by night." ~Samuel Johnson
Chiastic quotation: see Chiasmus.
Circa: Latin, literally meaning about; used to describe various dates that are uncertain; often abbreviated c. or ca.
Citation: the attribution of an author and source; a short note recognizing a source of information or of a quoted passage.
Cliché: an expression or idea that has become trite. Examples: "raining cats and dogs," "the pot calling the kettle black," "that's the way the cookie crumbles."
Compilation: a collection of pre-existing materials and data so arranged to form a new original work under the law of copyright.
Context: the part of a text or statement that surrounds a particular word or passage and determines its meaning; the circumstances in which an event occurs; a setting.
Contextomy: quoting out of context. This is a type of false attribution in which a passage is removed from its surrounding matter in such a way as to distort its intended meaning. The issue is not the removal of a quote from its original context (as all quotes are) per se but the quoter's decision to exclude from the excerpt certain nearby phrases or sentences that serve to clarify the intention. Editor's note: I have not intentionally quoted out of context on this site; however, due to the use of visitor submissions, some of the quotes might be used out of context. If you come across this type of error, please let me know and I'll correct the problem as soon as I can. Thank you!
Copyright: the exclusive legal right to reproduce, publish, and sell the matter and form (as of a literary, musical, or artistic work).
Curmudgeon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner (source: Portable Curmudgeon Redux, Jon Winokur).
Dictum: a statement or saying, especially a formal statement of fact, opinion, principle, etc., or of one's will or judgment; a pronouncement; a noteworthy statement, as a formal pronouncement of a principle, proposition, or opinion, or an observation intended or regarded as authoritative.
Ellipsis: the omission from a sentence of a word or words that would be required for complete clarity but which can usually be understood from the context. The sequence of three dots (...) used to indicate the omission of some matter in a text.
Epigram: a terse, witty, pointed statement, often with a clever twist in thought, or a short poem with a witty or satirical point.
Epitaph: an inscription on a tombstone in memory of the one buried there; a brief literary piece commemorating a deceased person.
Erratum: an act or thought that unintentionally deviates from what is correct, right, or true; an error in printing or writing, especially such an error noted in a list of corrections and bound into a book; plural is errata.
Et al: (1) used as an abbreviation of et alii (masculine plural) or et aliae (feminine plural) or et alia (neutral plural) when referring to a number of people, et al., and others; (2) used as an abbreviation of et alibi when referring to other occurrences in a text, et al., and elsewhere.
Excerpt: a passage (as from a book or musical composition) selected, performed, or copied.
Extract: a passage from a literary work.
Fair dealing: a doctrine of limitations and exceptions to copyright which is found in many of the common law jurisdictions of the Commonwealth of Nations.
Fair use: in the USA, a use of copyrighted material that does not constitute an infringement of the copyright provided the use is fair and reasonable and does not substantially impair the value of the work or the profits expected from it by its owner; among the factors determining if use of a copyrighted work is a fair use are the purpose of the use, the character of the use (commercial vs educational), the nature of the copyrighted work, and the amount of the work used.
Fils: used to distinguish a son from his father when they have the same given name.
Gnome: a pithy saying that expresses a general truth or fundamental principle.
Ibid: an abbreviation for ibidem, a Latin word meaning in the same place; it is used in footnotes and bibliographies to refer to a source cited in a previous entry.
Idiom: an expression whose meanings cannot be inferred from the meanings of the words that make it up, i.e. cannot be translated literally. Examples: "under the weather," "kick the bucket."
Laughorisms: humorous aphorisms, a term coined by Ambrose Bierce.
Literary: of, relating to, or dealing with literature.
Loco citato: at the place quoted, from the same place; abbreviated loc. cit.
Maxim: a concisely expressed principle or rule of conduct, or a statement of a general truth; a saying of proverbial nature.
Misattributed: incorrect attribution of a source.
Misquotation: an accidental or intentional misrepresentation of a person's speech or writing; this usually involves omission of important context, omission of important parts of the quote, insertion of allegedly implied words or partial sentences, incorrect rephrasing, misattribution, or misspelling; misquotation can be due to imperfect reproduction, misunderstanding, malice, deliberate deceit, humor, or satire.
Motto: a short expression of a guiding principle or ideal of behavior; a sentence, phrase, or word inscribed on something as appropriate to or indicative of its character or use. Example: "Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time." ~Motto of the Baltimore Grotto, a caving society
Née: born, indicates the maiden name of a married woman; formerly known as.
Opere citato: from the work already quoted; used to provide an endnote or footnote citation to refer the reader to an earlier citation; abbreviated op. cit.; also known as opus citatum.
Oratio directa: Latin, the language of anyone quoted without change in its form, i.e. a direct quote.
Paraphrase: a restating of something in other, especially simpler, words.
Paraprosdokian: figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe the first part. Example: "Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana." ~Author unknown, combination of two phrases used by Anthony Oettinger, commonly attributed to Groucho Marx
Passage: a usually brief portion of a written work or speech that is relevant to a point under discussion or noteworthy for content or style.
Passim: notation for everywhere, in many places; indicates that there are so many references that the list would be too long.
Phrase: a brief, apt, and cogent expression; a word or group of words forming a unit and conveying meaning.
Plagiarism: literary theft; when a writer duplicates another writer's language or ideas and then calls the work his or her own; to avoid the charge of plagiarism, writers take care to credit those from whom they borrow and quote.
Platitude: a banal or stale remark; a commonplace or trite remark or idea, especially one uttered as if it were original or momentous.
Prose: ordinary speech or writing, without metrical structure.
Proverb: a short, traditional saying that expresses some obvious truth or familiar experience; a piece of practical wisdom expressed in homely, concrete terms; a short pithy saying in general use, usually of unknown and ancient origin, containing words of advice, warning, or wisdom. Example: "If you kick a stone in anger, you'll hurt your own foot." ~Korean Proverb
Public domain: the status of publications, products, and processes that are not protected under patent or copyright.
Pun: the humorous use of words, playing on similarities in sound or differences in meaning. Example: "Beginning gardeners work by trowel and error."
Quotable: suitable for or worthy of quoting.
Quotation: a reproduction or repeating of any passage or statement; a passage referred to, repeated, or adduced; direct citation of the exact phraseology of a person or of a text; quotation in other languages: citaat, citation, Zitat, Preisangabe, citazione, citação, cita, citat.
Quotation mark: either of a pair of punctuation marks used primarily to mark the beginning and end of a passage attributed to another and repeated word for word, but also to indicate meanings or glosses and to indicate the unusual or dubious status of a word. They appear in the form of double quotation marks (") and single quotation marks ('). In the USA, single quotation marks are usually reserved for setting off a quotation within another quotation. Double quotation marks may also be referred to as: double quotes, double marks, literal marks, dirks, double glitches, rabbit ears, double commas, feet, goose eyes, citation marks, goose feet, high commas, and little paws. Quotation marks also look different in different areas of the world, including varying combinations of forward and backward marks, upper and lower quotemarks („ ”), angled quotation marks (« »), quotation dashes (―), square quote marks (Asian), and angled quotation marks with a space, with or without the quoted text formatted in italics.
Quote: v., to repeat or copy the words of, usually with acknowledgment of the source; n., shortened and informal version of the word quotation.
Saw: an old, homely saying that is well worn by repetition.
Saying: a usually pithy and familiar statement expressing an observation or principle generally accepted as wise or true.
Sic: used to indicate that a quoted passage, especially one containing an error or unconventional spelling, has been retained in its original form or written intentionally.
Source: a firsthand document or primary reference work.
Tag: a brief quotation used for rhetorical emphasis or sententious effect; a recurrent or characteristic verbal expression.
Tag line: an ornamental, instructive, or strikingly effective ending for a speech, story, etc.; sometimes a short, familiar quotation used as such an ending; a final line (as in a play or joke), especially one that serves to clarify a point or create a dramatic effect; a reiterated phrase identified with an individual, group, or product.
Translated: rendered from another language and therefore not the original words.
Truism: a statement the truth of which is obvious or well known and whose utterance, therefore, seems superfluous; an undoubted or self-evident truth, especially one too obvious for mention.
Verbum dicendi: in a sentence, a word that expresses speech, introduces a quotation, or marks a transition to non-standard or non-grammatical speech; also known as declaratory word or quotative.
Witticism: a smart saying, notable for its form rather than content.
SOURCES: American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Answers.com, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms, Merriam-Webster Online, North West Learning Grid Know-It-All, Thesaurus.com, Wikipedia, WordNet by Princeton University Cognitive Science Laboratory, yourDictionary.com, or otherwise noted.
Last modified 2011 May 17 Tue 11:03 PDT