in a way that constitutes a metaphor, a figure of speech that refers to one thing in terms of another, suggesting a resemblance between the two: The native Romani word “drakhalin,” whose literal meaning is “grapevine,” is often used metaphorically to mean the internet.
figuratively speaking; not literally: We are metaphorically on top of the world over his success and look forward to his return.
as a symbol or emblem representing something else: In various biblical contexts, salt is used metaphorically to signify permanence, loyalty, value, and purification.
Click for a side-by-side comparison of meanings. Use the word comparison feature to learn the differences between similar and commonly confused words.
- non·met·a·phor·i·cal·ly, adverb
- sem·i·met·a·phor·i·cal·ly, adverb
- sub·met·a·phor·i·cal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use metaphorically in a sentence
“[It was basically] a room with no view,” as R metaphorically put it.Dungeons and Genital Clamps: Inside a Legendary BDSM Chateau | Ian Frisch | December 20, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Like all good scripture, Me & Dog can be read literally as well as metaphorically.
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 | Judnick Mayard | September 24, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
So Hamas returned to the old familiar terrain of launching missiles—a way to shake the ground, but metaphorically and physically.
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 | Nina Strochlic | July 8, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
“Fibrous” applies metaphorically to mental qualities; it means strong, sinewy—high talents, just below genius.Assimilative Memory | Marcus Dwight Larrowe (AKA Prof. A. Loisette)
Hence, terms strictly applicable only to the government of the one, are metaphorically applied to the control of the other.The Ordinance of Covenanting | John Cunningham
The shopman lays himself at the feet of his lady customers—metaphorically only, fortunately, Á los pies de V., Señora!Spanish Life in Town and Country | L. Higgin and Eugne E. Street
Sat sweating here, literally and metaphorically, from morn till dewy eve.Gallipoli Diary, Volume 2 | Ian Hamilton
One and all metaphorically shook hands and made common cause together.Johnny Ludlow, Fourth Series | Mrs. Henry Wood