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metaphor

[ met-uh-fawr, -fer ]
/ ˈmɛt əˌfɔr, -fər /
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See synonyms for: metaphor / metaphors / metaphorical / metaphoric on Thesaurus.com

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.

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VIDEO FOR METAPHOR

This Or That: Simile vs. Metaphor

Simile vs. metaphor ... it’s the age-old question that none of us can keep straight. So, let’s try looking at it a different way ...

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Origin of metaphor

First recorded in 1525–35; from Latin metaphora, from Greek metaphorá “a transfer,” akin to metaphérein “to transfer”; see meta-, -phore

OTHER WORDS FROM metaphor

met·a·phor·i·cal [met-uh-fawr-i-kuhl, -for-], /ˌmɛt əˈfɔr ɪ kəl, -ˈfɒr-/, met·a·phor·ic, adjective

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH metaphor

metaphor , simile
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use metaphor in a sentence

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 of metaphor

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

Cultural 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.
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