- a figure of speech in which a term or phrase is applied to something to which it is not literally applicable in order to suggest a resemblance, as in “A mighty fortress is our God.”Compare mixed metaphor, simile(def 1).
- something used, or regarded as being used, to represent something else; emblem; symbol.
Origin of metaphor
Examples from the Web for metaphorically
Like all good scripture, Me & Dog can be read literally as well as metaphorically.Are You There, Nobody? It’s Me, Margaret
October 12, 2014
We are all hired as the heads of the Urban Division metaphorically, because black people should be in charge of black stuff.‘black-ish’ Keeps It Real about the Invisible Black Man
September 24, 2014
So Hamas returned to the old familiar terrain of launching missiles—a way to shake the ground, but metaphorically and physically.Bombing and Invading Gaza Is Israel’s Peace Plan
July 19, 2014
Unruly Places is all about going off the map, metaphorically and physically.Discovering Underground Labyrinths, Remote Cities, and More of the World’s Lost Places
July 8, 2014
Paul and Cuccinelli did not stand alone, physically or metaphorically.Unemployed Ken Cuccinelli Finds a Job With Rand Paul Suing Obama
February 13, 2014
We are always, metaphorically, going up or coming down in a balloon.The Roof of France
Then he gathered his opinions in a bunch, and metaphorically hurled them at her.The Law-Breakers
Purity only metaphorically a type of sinlessness.sinlessness.Modern Painters Volume II (of V)
Oh, metaphorically, I mean—there's a break in the continuity.
She was nearly in despair, and, metaphorically speaking, went on her knees to me.A Modern Tomboy
L. T. Meade
- a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action that it does not literally denote in order to imply a resemblance, for example he is a lion in battleCompare simile
Word Origin and History for metaphorically
late 15c., from Middle French metaphore (Old French metafore, 13c.), and directly from Latin metaphora, from Greek metaphora "a transfer," especially of the sense of one word to a different word, literally "a carrying over," from metapherein "transfer, carry over; change, alter; to use a word in a strange sense," from meta- "over, across" (see meta-) + pherein "to carry, bear" (see infer).
The comparison of one thing to another without the use of like or as: “A man is but a weak reed”; “The road was a ribbon of moonlight.” Metaphors are common in literature and expansive speech. (Compare simile.)