AskDefine | Define imagery

Dictionary Definition

imagery n : the ability to form mental images of things or events; "he could still hear her in his imagination" [syn: imagination, imaging, mental imagery]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. The work of one who makes images or visible representation of objects; imitation work; images in general, or en masse.
  2. Unreal show; imitation; appearance.
  3. The work of the imagination or fancy; false ideas; imaginary phantasms.
  4. Rhetorical decoration in writing or speaking; vivid descriptions presenting or suggesting images of sensible objects; figures in discourse.

Extensive Definition


Imagery is used in literature to refer to descriptive language that evokes sensory experience. Such images can be created by using figures of speech such as similes, metaphors, personification, and assonance. Imagery can also involve the use of relatable action words or onomatopoeias that trigger images in the reader’s mind.[Thomas, Richard W. "Imagery." Imagery. 3 Oct. 2004. Harris Middle School. 30 May 2008 .]

Other uses

The term imagery is also used in psychology and everyday discourse to refer to mental images, i.e., the making (or re-creation) of any experience in the mind — auditory, visual, tactile, olfactory, taste, kinesthetic, equilibrioception. This is a cognitive process employed by most, if not all, humans.

Forms of imagery

Imagery can be in many forms such as metaphors, similes and puns.
A Simile is a literary devics where the writer employs the words "like" or "as" to compare to different ideas.
  • He flew like a dove
  • I am as bold as a lion
A Metaphor is similar to a simile, however this literary device makes a comparaison without the use of "like" or "as".
  • He has a hyena's laugh
Guided imagery is a psychotherapeutic technique in which a facilitator uses descriptive language intended not to psychologically beneficial mental imagery, often involving several or all sense modes, in the mind of the listener.


Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Vorstellung, allusion, alphabet, apparition, art, asiaticism, blueprint, brainchild, bubble, cameo, catalog, cataloging, character, character sketch, charactering, characterization, chart, chimera, choreography, concept, conception, conceptualization, conventional representation, dance notation, delineation, delirium, demonstration, depiction, depictment, description, details, device, diagram, drama, drawing, eidetic image, eidolon, envisaging, envisioning, euphuism, evocation, exemplification, fancy, fantasque, fantasy, fiction, figment, figuration, figurative language, figurativeness, figure, figure of speech, floridity, flourish, flower, flowery style, graphic account, hallucination, hieroglyphic, iconography, ideogram, idle fancy, illusion, illustration, image, imagery study, imagination, imaging, imagining, imagism, imagistic poetry, impression, insubstantial image, invention, itemization, letter, lifelike image, limning, logogram, logograph, maggot, make-believe, manner of speaking, map, mental image, mental picture, mental representation, musical notation, myth, nonliterality, nonliteralness, notation, objectification, ornament, particularization, phantasm, phantom, photograph, pictogram, picture, picturing, picturization, plan, poetic imagery, portrait, portraiture, portrayal, prefigurement, presentment, printing, profile, projection, purple passage, realization, rendering, rendition, representation, romance, schema, score, script, sick fancy, sketch, specification, syllabary, symbol, symbolism, tablature, thick-coming fancies, trip, trope, turn of expression, vapor, vignette, vision, visual image, visualization, vivid description, way of speaking, whim, whimsy, wildest dreams, word painting, word-painting, writing
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