Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
To speak in a poetic manner, often exaggeratedly or verbosely so. The entertainer has a habit of waxing poetic during interviews, which delights some people and infuriates others. Dan always starts waxing poetic after he's had a few drinks.
A punishment or unfavorable outcome that is particularly appropriate or ironic. The CEO of the cigarette manufacturer, who has long denied the health risks associated with smoking, just died of lung cancer—now isn't that poetic justice?
1. Intentional violations of or deviations from traditional forms, standards, or syntax by a writer in order to achieve a particular effect. Any two-bit poet can string together a jumble of words and call it poetic license. Don't get hung up on adhering too strictly to iambic pentameter—you can use a bit of poetic license if it means preserving the meaning and rhythm you want.
2. Changes to or misrepresentations of facts or history in the name of art or for the sake of an agenda. The film uses a bit too much poetic license, portraying the warriors as "saviors" of the region, while ignoring the fact that they slaughtered thousands of innocent people.
appropriate, ideal, or ironic punishment. It was poetic justice that Jane won the race after Mary tried to get her banned from the race. The car thieves tried to steal a car with no gas. That's poetic justice.
liberties or license of the type taken by artists, especially poets, to violate patterns of rhyme, harmony, structure, etc. I couldn't tell whether he kept making spelling mistakes or if it was just poetic license.
Fig. to speak poetically. I hope you will pardon me if I wax poetic for a moment when I say that your lovely hands drift across the piano keys like swans on a lake.
An outcome in which virtue is rewarded and evil punished, often in an especially appropriate or ironic manner. For example, It was poetic justice for the known thief to go to jail for the one crime he didn't commit . [Early 1700s]
Also, artistic license. The liberty taken by a writer or artist in deviating from conventional form or fact to achieve an effect. For example, I've never seen grass or a tree of that color; but that's artistic license. [Late 1700s]
Poetic justice is when bad things happen to someone who deserves it. Perhaps his illness was some kind of poetic justice for having deceived so many for so long. Note: Occasionally people use poetic justice to describe something good that happens to someone who deserves it. If one can resolve several problems at once — ours as well as yours — it has a certain poetic justice.
poetic justicethe fact of experiencing a fitting or deserved retribution for your actions.
This phrase is from Alexander Pope's satire The Dunciad: ‘Poetic Justice, with her lifted scale’.
artistic/poetic ˈlicence(often ironic) the freedom of artists or writers to change facts in order to make a story, painting, etc. more interesting or beautiful: In the book, a fair amount of artistic licence has been taken with the timing of historical events so that they fit with the story. ♢ I allowed myself a little poetic licence in describing the table as an antique.
Licence in this idiom means ‘freedom to do or say whatever you want’.