fable - A story with a moral. Many fables use animals or toys to represent the characters. (See also allegory, proverb)

fabliau - (FAB-li-owe) The name given to the bawdy verse story popular in the Middle Ages. As in Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer.

facetiae - (fuh-SEE-shigh) Poetry or prose which is essentially witty.

feminine ending - A feminine ending occurs when a single unaccented syllable occurs at the end of a line which is iambic or anapaestic. As in this famous line from Shakespeare, "To be,| or not | to be;| that is | the ques | tion". (See also hypercatalectic)

feminine rhyme - A feminine rhyme occurs when the last two syllables of a line of poetry, the final one being unaccented, rhyme with the ending of a subsequent line, as in "blister" and "sister". (See also masculine rhyme)

Fescennine verses - Named after weddings at Fescennia in ancient Rome which were considered to be unrestrained feasts of debauchery. Applied to a poem with few restraints on taste dealing with human nature from a personal perspective. (See also epithalamium)

figure of sound - Applies to various techniques used in poetry to create a sound with the words used in order to help develop interest and atmosphere. Also used to indicate relevance and importance. The techniques used include alliteration, assonance, consonance, euphony, resonance. (See also sound devices, alliteration, assonance, consonance, euphony, resonance)

figure of speech - (r) There are many techniques in prose and poetry which can be referred to as figures of speech. The list below gives the most common and the classes into which they fall. In poetry they are particularly used as a tool for concentrating ideas or bringing deeper layers of meaning (the following can be looked up elsewhere in the Lexicon):

  • tropes - metaphor, metonymy, synecdoche, irony, metalepsis, paradox, oxymoron, litotes, hyperbole

    metaplasmic figures - prosthesis, aphaeresis, epenthesis, syncope, paragoge, apocope, antisthecon, metathesis.

    figures of omission - ellipsis, zeugma, scesis onamaton, anapodoton, aposiopesis, occupatio.

    figures of repetition, single words - epizeuxis, polyptoton, antanaclasis, anaphora, epistrophe, symploce, epanalepsis, anadiplosis, gradatio, antimetabole, pleonasm,

    figures of repetition, clauses - auxesis, isocolon, tautology, chiasmus, antithesis, periphrasis

    figures of word order - anastrophe, hyperbaton, hysteron proteron, hypallage, parenthesis

    figures of thought - adynaton, aporia, correctio, prosopopoeia, apostrophe

  • fit - An ancient term for a stanza, verse or other grouping in a poem.

    fixed form - See form.

    foot - In poetry the term foot is used to describe a unit used or combination of syllables one of which is a long or accented syllable. A foot is in two parts - the arsis, which is the longer or accented part, and the thesis, which is the shorter or unaccented syllable(s). An ictus mark is used to show stress, in other words to indicate the arsis.

  • Feet in use:

    iamb ( ,

    anapaest ( ( ,

    trochee , (

    dactyl , ( (

    spondee , ,

    amphibrach ( , (

    antibacchius , , (

    antispast ( , , (

    bacchius ( , ,

    choriamb , ( ( ,

    cretic , ( , (also called amphimacer)

    diiamb ( , ( ,

    dispondee , , , ,

    dochmius ( , , ( ,

    molossus , , ,

    proceleusmatic ( ( ( (

  • foreshadowing - A hint of a forthcoming event as in Poe’s description of the decay surrounding the House of Usher, which predisposes the mind to expect a wildly degenerate outcome.

    form - Relates to the way the poem is laid out. As in haiku or free verse. Where the form of the poem is a set style, as in ballade and rondeau, it is called a fixed form.

    found poem - A poem derived from a piece of prose and laid out to resemble a poetic form.

    fourteener - Poetry consisting of iambic lines of fourteen syllables, or seven feet.

    frame story - A story within a story as in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.

    free verse - Refers to free form, where the verse does not conform to a fixed form. (See also form)