- 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 Words for metaphoricalsymbolic, allegorical, descriptive, metaphoric, illustrative, representative, denotative, emblematic
Examples from the Web for metaphorical
Contemporary Examples of metaphorical
The metaphorical closet door has been opened, proving just how rapidly the sport is growing and changing with the times.Miami’s Chris Bosh Goes High Fashion
August 13, 2014
I chose it for its metaphorical resonance, but the mosquito bite theory might be the worse.Ron Rosenbaum on Hitler, Hollywood, and Quantifying Evil
July 26, 2014
Time passed, and periodically a scholarly blog would raise a metaphorical eyebrow about the lack of test results.The ‘Gospel of Jesus’s Wife’ is Still as Big a Mystery as Ever
April 13, 2014
Inevitably, any anger and resentment we feel is contained within some kind of metaphorical exoskeleton.Seriously Gwyneth? WTF Is ‘Conscious Uncoupling’?
March 27, 2014
Yet JFK, while physically frail and in pain, still had the metaphorical spine to drive his hawkish advisers up the wall.JFK’s Weak Body And Strong Spirit
James Blight, Janet Lang
November 15, 2013
Historical Examples of metaphorical
Like many gun names, the word "culverin" has a metaphorical meaning.Artillery Through the Ages
"When you talk in that metaphorical style I fail to understand you," said Quentyns.A Young Mutineer
Mrs. L. T. Meade
Stabbing with the pen, therefore, is not merely a metaphorical expression.Museum of Antiquity
L. W. Yaggy
Descent and ascent when thus applied to the soul are metaphorical.A History of Mediaeval Jewish Philosophy
And then you've got a house—not a metaphorical one, but a house with father and sisters.The Longest Journey
E. M. Forster
- 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 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.)