“Figurative Language: Language which uses figures of speech; for example, metaphor, simile, alliteration (qq.v). Figurative language must be distinguished from literal (q.v.) language. ‘He hared down the street’ or ‘He ran like a hare down the street’ are figurative (metaphor and simile respectively). ‘He ran very quickly down the street’ is literal. See HYPERBOLE; METONYMY; SYNECHDOCHE.”
Excerpted from: Cuddon, J.A. The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory. New York: Penguin, 1992.