metaphor

[ met-uh-fawr, -fer ]
/ ˈmɛt əˌfɔr, -fər /

noun

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

1525–35; < Latin metaphora < Greek metaphorá a transfer, akin to metaphérein to transfer. See meta-, -phore

Related forms

Can be confused

metaphor simile
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for metaphor

British Dictionary definitions for metaphor

metaphor

/ (ˈmɛtəfə, -ˌfɔː) /

noun

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

Derived Forms

metaphoric (ˌmɛtəˈfɒrɪk) or metaphorical, adjectivemetaphorically, adverbmetaphoricalness, noun

Word Origin for metaphor

C16: from Latin, from Greek metaphora, from metapherein to transfer, from meta- + pherein to bear
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Culture definitions for metaphor

metaphor


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.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.