Literary Devices that Start with H

List of literary devices that start with H.


A haiku is a three-line Japanese poem containing 17 syllables in a 5-7-5 pattern. Haiku capture brief moments and aim to convey a feeling or image.

Example: “An old silent pond / A frog jumps into the pond— / splash! Silence again.”

Half Rhyme

A half rhyme, also called slant or partial rhyme, occurs when only the final consonant sounds of the words match rather than the full vowel + consonant sounds.

Example: “love” and “dove” half rhyme.


Hamartia refers to a tragic flaw or error in judgment that brings about the downfall of a tragic hero. Their own failings contribute to their ruin.

Example: Hamlet’s indecisiveness prevents him from quickly avenging his father.


A harangue is a lengthy, passionate, and vehement speech or tirade usually intended to lecture, berate, or reproach the listener. It has a negative connotation.

Example: An angry diatribe ridiculing the opposing political party may be described as a harangue.


A hero is the principal or lead character at the center of a literary work who performs courageous deeds and exemplifies noble qualities. Though flawed, the hero inspires admiration.

Examples: Odysseus in the Odyssey, Harry Potter.


An homage is a creative work that respectfully alludes to, emulates, celebrates, or references elements of an earlier, well-known work or famous person. It pays artistic tribute.

Example: Citizen Kane paid homage to the film technique of Orson Welles.


A homily is a religious sermon or moralizing lecture that explains or comments on a doctrine, scripture passage, or ethical matter. It aims to provide spiritual guidance.

Example: A priest’s Sunday sermon to the congregation containing advice for living virtuously.


Homographs are words that are spelled identically but have different meanings. The spelling is the same but pronunciation and meaning differ by context.

Example: The word “lead” (to guide) and “lead” (element Pb).


Homonyms are words that sound alike but have different meanings, whether or not they are spelled the same. Homophones are a type of homonym.

Example: Here/hear, to/two/too.


Homophones are words that have the same pronunciation but different meanings, origins, and spelling.

Examples: Right/write/rite, piece/peace, hair/hare.


A hook is a compelling opening within the first few lines of a work that engages readers’ interest, captures attention, and motivates continued reading. The opening line acts as bait.

Example: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” (A Tale of Two Cities)


Horror fiction aims to elicit fear and revulsion in readers through supernatural or macabre themes. It overlaps with Gothic literature and includes monsters, ghosts, physical gore, and psychological terror.

Examples: Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Stephen King novels.


Hubris refers to excessive arrogance, overconfidence, and pride that ultimately brings about the downfall of a hero or villain who foolishly oversteps limits and ignores warnings.

Example: Dr. Frankenstein’s hubristic belief that he can create life leads to disaster.


Humor in literature refers to anything that a reader might find funny, amusing, comical, or absurd, whether through amusing language, comedic scenes, jokes, or satirical social commentary.

Examples: The satire of Jonathan Swift, the wit of Jane Austen, sitcoms and joke books.


Hyperbaton consists of deliberately jumbled or inverted word order for rhetorical effect. It changes conventional placement and sequencing of words and phrases.

Example: Yoda’s speech: “When 900 years old you reach, look as good you will not.”


Hyperbole is deliberate, outrageous exaggeration for emphasis or effect. It stretches truthfulness to extremes and not meant to be taken literally.

Example: “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse.”


Hypophora is a rhetorical device where the speaker poses a question and then immediately answers it themselves to drive home a point.

Example: “What is driving this trend? Well, research indicates social media is the culprit.”


Hypotaxis refers to the grammatical subordination or embedding of clauses within a complex sentence. The use of dependent clauses creates hypotaxis.

Example: The man who walked through the door slipped on the wet floor.

Hypothetical Question

A hypothetical question poses a scenario or situation that does not presently exist or has not occurred, asking what could or would happen or have happened in that case.

Example: “What if the South had won the Civil War?”

So in summary, literary devices starting with H cover key terms related to genres, language, rhetoric, and storytelling elements. Let me know if you need any examples expanded!

More to read

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *