Figurative language is language in which figures of speech (such as metaphors and metonyms) freely occur. This contrasts with literal speech or language.
“If something happens literally,” says children’s book author Lemony Snicket in “The Bad Beginning,” “it actually happens; if something happens figuratively, it feels like it is happening. If you are literally jumping for joy, it means you are leaping in the air because you are very happy. If you are figuratively jumping for joy, it means you are so happy that you could jump for joy but are saving your energy for other matters.”
Figurative language can also be defined as any deliberate departure from the conventional meaning, order, or construction of words.