- 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
Related Wordssymbol, image, analogy, similitude, emblem, personification, allegory, hope, metonymy, trope
Examples from the Web for metaphor
The scene must be a metaphor for sex, because really who does any of this?Taylor Swift’s ‘Blank Space’: Hell Hath No Fury Like A Tay-Tay Scorned
November 10, 2014
Lepore has a different, though still linear, metaphor for the history of feminism: “a river, wending.”Wonder Woman’s Creation Story Is Wilder Than You Could Ever Imagine
November 3, 2014
To wring all that can be wrung from metaphor, note what our elected and appointed officials are not dressed as.Election Day Is Scarier Than Halloween
P. J. O’Rourke
November 1, 2014
Kirkman does dip into metaphor here, as telephones are a symbol of our connection with one another.
The Walking Dead, like the monomyth, is a metaphor for human nature and conviction of the spirit.
The metaphor might be meaningless; but it struck him it was strong.
Now, it is this sense of the solidity of things that can only be uttered by the metaphor of eating.Alarms and Discursions
G. K. Chesterton
But the metaphor is more striking as phrase-making than as criticism.Shelley, Godwin and Their Circle
H. N. Brailsford
Instinctively, metaphor sprang to the lips of Ichabod Maurice.A Breath of Prairie and other stories
Parts of speech are metaphors, because the whole of nature is a metaphor of the human mind.Nature
Ralph Waldo Emerson
- 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 metaphor
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.)