what kind of phrase is thatalso metaWhat is the actual basis of puzzles? The answer: a metaphor.
As Milan Kundera wroteThe unbearable lightness of being: “Metaphors are dangerous. You shouldn't play with metaphors. Paradoxically, however, they are an unavoidable part of our daily lives, which makes it all the more important to understand exactly how they work.
To help, this article provides a list of97 examples of metaphorsto show how they are in the wild. But if you have some free time, let's learn a little more about what a metaphor is.
A metaphor is aliterary devicewho imaginatively draws a comparison between two different things.He does this by claiming that Thing AesCase B. Through this equation method, metaphors can help explain concepts and ideas by colorfully connecting the unknown with the known; from the abstract to the concrete; from the incomprehensible to the understandable. It can also be arhetorical devicethat particularly appeals to our sensitivity as readers.
To give you a clue, here are some examples of common metaphors:
- "Bill is an early riser."
- "Life is like a highway."
- "His eyes were diamonds."
Note that metaphors are always non-literal. As much as you'd love to greet your partner with an ax in hand ("Love is a battlefield") or pick up 50 cans of gas every time you go on a date ("Love is a journey"), it is unlikely to make this happen in reality. Another spoiler alert: no, Katy Perry doesn't literally think you're a banger. Rather, these are all examples of metaphors in action.
How is a metaphor different from a simile?
Simile and metaphor are rhetorical figures that establish similarities between two things. However, the devil is in the details. Contrary to metaphors use similesifjifto make the comparison directly. For example, "Life is like a box of chocolates" is an analogy. But when you say, "Life is a road," you set a metaphor in motion.
The best way to understand how a metaphor can be used is to see it in action; Luckily, we have plenty of metaphor examples available for you to peruse.
The definitive list of 90+ metaphor examples
Metaphors pervade the entire spectrum of our existence, which is why we have resorted to many means to uncover them since William Shakespeare.Romeo and Julietto the old Backstreet Boys discography. Feel free to jump to your area of interest below to see examples of metaphors.
literature Poems daily expressions Lieder Film famous quotes
Metaphors in literature are the last straw: as important as they are omnipresent. Writers use literary metaphors to evoke an emotional response or to paint a vivid picture. In other cases, a metaphor could explain a phenomenon. Given the amount of nuance it contains, an example of a metaphor in a text can sometimes be as interpretable as the text itself.
Metaphors can make prose more powerful or images more vivid:
1. "Fatigue is a thin, torn blanket with bullet holes."―If then, Mateo de Abaitua
2. "But it's just two lovers holding hands and running to the car, hands clasped together like a starfish leaping in the dark."―rabbit race, John Updike
3. "The sun in the west was a scorching drop of gold gliding closer and closer to the edge of the world."—Lord of the flies, William Golding
4. "Bobby Holloway says my idea is a circus with three hundred arenas. He was in ring two ninety-nine right now, with elephants dancing and clowns twirling carts and tigers leaping through rings of fire. It was time to step back, leave the main tent, buy popcorn and a coke, have fun, cool off.”—enjoy the night,Decano Koontz
Writers often use metaphors to describe people in unexpected ways:
5. "But yeah, what light comes through that window? It's the east and Juliet is the sun!—Romeo Julia, William Shakespeare
6. “Who were all these mothers, sisters, and wives? what were they now Moons, empty and faceless, glowing with borrowed light, each loyally orbiting a greater sphere. "Invisible," Faith said quietly. Women and girls were often invisible, forgotten, thinking about later. Faith herself had used it successfully, hiding in plain sight and leading a double life. But she had been blinded by the very same invisibility of the spirit, and she hardly noticed.―the lying tree, Frances Hardinge
7. "'I'm a shark, Cassie,' he says slowly, drawing out the words as if he's speaking to me one last time. Gazing into my eyes with tears in his eyes like he's seeing me for the last time. "A shark that dreamed it was a man."―the last star, Rick Yancey
8. "His mouth was a fountain of delight."—The storm, Kate Chopin
9. "The parents, in particular, thought Matilda was nothing more than a wreck. A scab is something you have to put up with until the time comes when you can peel it off and throw it away."—Mathilde, Roald Dahl
10. "Mr. Neck rushes into the classroom, a bull chasing thirty-three red flags."—Speak, Laurie Anderson(Video) Living into your 90s
11. "'Well, stay away from her because she's a mousetrap if I've ever seen one.'"—of mice and men, John Steinbeck
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Metaphors can help “visualize” a situation or put an event into context:
12. “But now, O Lord, you are our father, we are the clay, and you are our potter; And we are all the work of your hands."– Isaiah 64:8
13. "I could hear Beatty's voice. Sit down, Monday. See. Delicate as the petals of a flower. Turn the first page, turn the second page. Everyone turns into a black butterfly. Beautiful, isn't it? Light the third page from the second and so on, chain smoke, chapter after chapter, all the junk that words mean, all the false promises, all the second-hand thoughts and old-fashioned philosophies.'”—Fahrenheit 451,Ray Bradbury
Sometimes, to amuse and tickle the brain, examples of metaphors compare two completely different things:
14. "Delia was a snotty cake with condescending frosting, and honestly, I was on a diet."―Lament: The Fairy Queen's Deception, Maggie's Stepfather
15. "The sun was a little boy who stubbornly refused to go to bed: it was after eight-thirty and it was still light."—Blame our stars, João Verde
16. "If intelligence were a pin, man would be a real hedgehog."―fly at night, Frances Hardinge
17. "What is that?" he asked not very kindly. "A circus?" "No, Julius. It's the end of the circus." "I see. And these are the clowns?" Foaly's head appeared in the door. "Forgive me for interrupting your long circus metaphor, but what the hell is that?"―sagebrush bird, John Colfer
18. "Using a metaphor in front of an unimaginative man like Ridcully was like signaling a boo, like saying something very disturbing to someone who was upset about it."―Ladies and gentlemen, Terry Pratchett
Metaphors can help frame abstract concepts in a way that readers can easily understand:
19. "My thoughts are stars that I cannot decode into constellations."—Blame our stars,John Green
20. "If you can look at the seed of time and tell which crops will grow and which will not, speak to me."—Macbeth, William Shakespeare
21. “Memories are bullets. Some will zoom in and just scare you. Others tear you apart and leave you in pieces.―kills the dead, Ricardo Kadrey
22. "Wishes are thorns," she told herself sharply. They're not good for us, they just dig into our skin and hurt us."―a face like glass, Frances Hardinge
23. "'Life,' wrote a friend of mine, 'is a public performance on the violin, during which you have to learn the instrument on the side.'―a room with a view, EM Förster
24. "There was an invisible chain of agoras stretching out before her along the crazy winding road, each with a golden second."―Kuckuckslied, Frances Hardinge
25. "All the world is a stage, and all men and women are mere actors."—August, William Shakespeare
Particularly prominent in the realm of poetry is extended metaphor: a single metaphorcover all or part of a work. Also known asSupposition, It isused by poetsdevelop aIdeaor concept in great detail in a poem. (And we have some sample metaphors for you below.)
If you want to get an idea of the vital role that metaphor plays in poetry, take a look at what Robert Frost once said: "They have night schools now, you know, for graduate students. Why? Because they don't know when they're being fooled by a metaphor. Education through poetry is education through metaphors".
Poets use metaphors directly in the text to explain emotions and opinions:
26. She must make you happy. It has to be your favorite place in Minneapolis. You're a little gift shop where he remembers how people miss him when he's not around.—“unrequited love poem, Serra Mulder
27. She is all states and all princes, i.e. Nothing else is. Princes do nothing but play with us; In comparison, all honor is pantomime, all wealth is alchemy.—“the rising sun, John Donne(Video) 90% of People Don’t Know What These Actually Do
28. I saw how a girl in a sundress kissed another girl on a park bench, and when the sunlight played perfectly on her hair, I thought: how bravely beautiful that sometimes the sea wants the city, even if he all his life long had been said it was destined for the coast.— "I saw a girl in a sundress", Christopher Poindexter
Extended metaphors in particular explore and advance the poems' main themes:
29. All our words are but crumbs falling from the Spirit's feast. Thinking is always the stumbling block of poetry. A great singer is the one who sings our silence. How can you sing when your mouth is full of food? How is your hand raised in blessing when it's full of gold? The nightingale is said to pierce its chest with a thorn when it sings its love song.—“sand and foam', by Khalil Gibran
30. But a BIRD lurking in its narrow cage / Can seldom see through its bars in anger / Its wings are clipped and its feet are bound, so it opens its throat to sing.—“Bird in a cage, Maya Angelou
31. Two roads parted in a forest, and I... took the less traveled / And that made all the difference.—“the road was not taken, Robert Frost
32. Marriage is not a house, or even a tent is before it, and colder: the edge of the forest, the edge of the desert, the edge of the receding glacier, where we, grieved and amazed that we have survived so far, Fazer- learn fire—“Hall“, Margaret Atwood
33. These poems are not alive: it is a sad diagnosis. Their fingers and toes grew very well, their small foreheads swelled with concentration. They lost themselves as people. It wasn't a mother's love.—“still born“, Sylvia Plath
34. Hope is the thing with feathers / That settles in the soul / And sings the melody without the words / And never stops.—“Hope is the thing with feathers, Emily Dickinson
Here's something to think about (35): You probably used a metaphor (or more) in your everyday language today without even realizing it. Metaphorical expressions characterize the English language and help us to illustrate and specify exactly what we mean. As a result, metaphors are ubiquitous in our common vocabulary: you might even be drowning in a sea (36) of metaphors as we speak. But before we jump in the shark, let's take a look at our list of metaphor examples (37).
38. Love is a battlefield.
39. You gave me something to chew on.
40. He's just venting.
41. This is music to my ears.
42. Love is good wine.
43. She is a thorn in my side.
44. You are the light in my life.
45. He has the heart of a lion.
46. Am I talking to a brick wall?
47. He has ants in his pants.
48. Beauty is a flower that withers.
49. She has a heart of stone.
50. Fear is an animal that feeds on attention.
51. Life is a journey.
52. He is a late developer.
53. Now he's a lame duck.
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Metaphors are an essential tool in any copywriter's toolbox. From Elvis to Beyonce, songwriters use them to instinctively connect and paint listeners with images. Mostly they find new ways to describe people, love and of course breakups. So if you're thinking, "That's so sad, Alexa is playing Titanium," you've come to the right place. Here are some examples of metaphors in songs.
54. You're just a dog / Crying all the time— „Hundshund“, Elvis Presley
55. You are a fallen star / You are the getaway car / You are the line in the sand / If I go too far / You are the pool / On an August day / And you are the right one to say for it— „Alles“, Michael Bublé
56. 'Cause baby you're a firecracker / Come on, show 'em what you're worth / Make 'em go "Oh oh oh!" / As you shoot across the sky-y-y— "Fireworks", Katy Perry
57. I'm bulletproof, nothing to lose / Shoot, shoot / Ricochet, you aim / Shoot, shoot / You knock me down but I don't fall, I'm Titan— „Titan“, David Guetta
58. Life is a road / I want to drive all night / If you go my way / I want to drive all night- "Life is a highway", Rascal Flatts
59. She's a Saturn with a sunroof / With her brown hair blowing in the wind / It's a soft place to land / And feels good to know / She's warm conversation– “She is everything”, Brad Paisley
60. I'm a Marquise Diamond / Might even make Tiffany jealous / You say I give you hard / Shame shame / Makes you never want to leave / I won't, I won't– “Good for you”, Selena Gomez
61. Remember those walls I built / Well baby they're coming down / And they didn't even fight / They didn't even make a sound- "Halo", Beyoncé
62. Have I ever told you that you are my hero? / You are everything, everything I want to be / Oh, and I, I could fly higher than an eagle / Because you are the wind under my wings / Because you are the wind under my wings– “Wind Beneath My Wings”, Bette Midler
63. You are my fire / The only desire / Believe me when I say I want it that way— "I want it that way", Backstreet Boys
64. Your body is a wonderland / Your body is a wonder (I will use my hands) / Your body is a wonderland— “Your body is a wonderland”, John Mayer
65. I'm walking in the sunshine (Wow!) / I'm walking in the sunshine (Wow!) / I'm walking in the sunshine (Wow!) / And that's no good— “I walk in the sunlight”, Katrina and the Waves
66. If you wanna be with me / Baby, there's a price to pay / I'm a genie / You gotta rub me real hard— "Genie in a bottle", Christina Aguilera
67. If God is a DJ, life is a dance floor / Love is the beat, you are the music / If God is a DJ, life is a dance floor / You get what you get, it depends on how you it uses it— “God is a DJ”, P!nk
68. If this city / is just an apple / then let me bite– “Human Nature”, Michael Jackson
69. I just want to be a part of your symphony / Will you hold me and not let go?— "Symphony", Clean Bandit
70. My heart is a stereo / It's beating for you so listen carefully / Hear my thoughts in every note— “Stereo Hearts”, physical education heroes
71. I am the sun in your hair / I am the shadow on the ground / I am the whisper of the wind / I am your imaginary friend—"I'm already here", Lonestar
Movies can add another angle to the concept of metaphor: objects on the screen designed as a visual mediumAs a matter of factThey represent what the filmmaker intended them to be. Of course, the same principle applies: you're still making a direct comparison. Only now can we see examples of metaphors with our own eyes.
Movies can make visually clear comparisons between two elements on screen:
72. “What beautiful flowers we have this year. But hey, this one is late. I bet when she blooms she will be the prettiest of them all.-vonMulan
73. “Love is an open door, can I say crazy? Will you marry me? Can I say something even crazier? Yes!"-vonfrozen(Video) 21 BEST “I AM” Affirmations to SHIFT into the 2.0 YOU | TRY FOR 21 DAYS
Metaphors are used in dialogue to allow characters to express themselves:
74. “You are television personified, Diana. Indifferent to suffering, insensitive to joy."—Rot
75. “Life is an ascent. But the view is great.”—Hannah Montana: The Movie
Did you know that as early as 427 BC Plato used metaphors to express his thoughts? Since then, some of our brightest minds have continued to resort to metaphor when illuminating ideas for the general public, a practice that has become particularly prominent in political speeches and terse jokes. Here is a selection of some examples of how famous quotes have included examples of metaphor in the past.
76. "All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree."-Albert Einstein
77. "A clear conscience is a constant Christmas."-Benjamin Franklin
78. "America has thrown its lid on the wall of space."-John F. Kennedy
79. “I don't condone political jokes; I saw how many of them were chosen.”-Jon Stewart
80. "Conscience is man's compass."-Vincent van Gogh
81. "In the depths of winter, I have finally learned that within me is an invincible summer."–Alberto Camus
82. "Time is the moving image of eternity."-Plato
83. “Every person is a school subject. That's a pretty metaphorical way of putting it, to put it bluntly, those you love are few and those you hate are many."„Michael Bassey Johnson
84. "Even if you're on the right path, you'll get run over if you stop."– Will Rogers
85. "Life is little more than a usurer: it charges a very high rate of interest for the few pleasures it bestows."Luigi Pirandello
86. “America: In the face of our common perils, in this winter of our troubles, let us remember these everlasting words. With hope and virtue we will once again brave the icy currents and weather the storms that may come."-Barack Obama
87. “Bolshevism is a demon descending from a heap of skulls. It's not a policy; It's a disease, it's not a belief; it is a plague.”- Winston Churchill
88. "Books are mirrors of the soul."-Virginia Woolf
89. "My life has an excellent cast, but I can't understand the plot."– Ashleigh Brillante
90. "I feel like we're all in some crappy escape room with really obvious cues like 'vote' and 'believe women' and 'don't put kids in cages.'"—Natasha Rothwell
91. "I travel the world and am happy to say America is still the great melting pot, maybe a thick stew now instead of a melting pot, but you know what I mean."– Philip Glass
92. "Life is a long road in a short journey."– James Lendall Basford
93. “What then is the truth? A mobile army of metaphors, metonyms, anthropomorphisms: in short, a sum of human relationships that are poetically and rhetorically exaggerated, metamorphosed, embellished and, after long use, appear fixed, canonical and binding peoples.-Nietzsche
94. "Life is a foreign language: all men mispronounce it."– Christopher Morley
95. "Dying is a wild night and a new path."– Emily Dickinson
96. "And your own flesh will be a great poem."-Walt Whitman
And as a bonus, here's one final metaphor for the journey from one of our most brilliant philosophers. Let Calvin have the last word:
Have we forgotten one of your favorite metaphors? Do you have any other examples of metaphors for us? Put them in the (non-metaphorical) box below and we'll add them right away.
What are 50 examples of metaphors? ›
- I could eat a horse: I am very hungry.
- It all went pear shaped: to go wrong.
- It's no skin off my nose: it doesn't affect me negatively (but it might affect others).
- She is an open book: she has nothing to hide.
- He wears his heart on his sleeve: he shows his feelings readily.
Other examples of common metaphors are “night owl”, “cold feet”, “beat a dead horse”, “early bird”, “couch potato”, “eyes were fireflies”, “apple of my eye”, “heart of stone”, “heart of a lion”, “roller coaster of emotions”, and “heart of gold.”What are some good examples of metaphors? ›
- Life is a highway.
- Her eyes were diamonds.
- He is a shining star.
- The snow is a white blanket.
- She is an early bird.
According to the Zaltmans, there are seven deep metaphors: balance, journey, transformation/change, container, connection, resource, and control.What are 3 famous metaphors? ›
- “The Big Bang.” ...
- “All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. ...
- “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” ...
- “I am the good shepherd, … and I lay down my life for the sheep.” ...
- “All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree.” ...
- “Chaos is a friend of mine.”
In his book, Images of Organization, Gareth Morgan lays out eight metaphors for an organization: machines, organisms, brains, cultural systems, political systems, psychic prisons, instruments of domination, and flux and transformation.What is a metaphor example for students? ›
A metaphor is a comparison which is not literally true. It suggests what something is like by comparing it with something else with similar characteristics. For example: 'My brother' is a piglet is a metaphor.What 2 words does a metaphor use? ›
- Simile - Similes use the keywords "like" or "as." Not every sentence that has the word "like" or "as" is a simile. ...
- Metaphor - Metaphors use the keywords "is" or "are" if they are comparing two nouns in the present tense or "was" or "were" when comparing them in the past tense.
A metaphor makes a direct comparison between two unlike things in order to highlight the one (or so) shared quality between those two things. A metaphor outright “calls” or “labels” that one thing as another thing: the heart is gold or stone; the child is a firecracker.What are standard metaphors? ›
A standard metaphor directly states the comparison between two entities as if they were synonyms. Most common metaphors fall under this category. Some examples: “She's the light of my life.” “He's a paper tiger.”
What is a metaphor and give two examples? ›
A metaphor is a way of describing someone or something by showing their similarity with something else. For example, the metaphor "a shining light" describes a person who is very skillful or intelligent. She uses a lot of metaphors in her writing.What is a deep metaphor? ›
Deep metaphors are basic frames or orientations we have toward the world around us. They are “deep” because they are largely unconscious and universal. They are “metaphors” because they recast everything we think about, hear, say, and do.What is a metaphor in Harry Potter? ›
Metaphor. “Mrs. Dursley was thin and blonde and had nearly twice the usual amount of neck, which came in very useful as she spent so much of her time craning over garden fences, spying on the neighbors.”How do I identify a metaphor? ›
See if the sentence uses a word such as “as” or “like” as a preposition. That is, it is comparing things explicitly. If it compares things without using prepositions such as “like” or “as” it is a metaphor.What is a creative metaphor? ›
A creative metaphor is an original comparison that calls attention to itself as a figure of speech. Also known as a poetic metaphor, literary metaphor, novel metaphor, and unconventional metaphor. Contrast with conventional metaphor and dead metaphor.What is an overused metaphor? ›
Dead metaphors are metaphors that have been so overused that they've lost their figurative qualities. For example: When he returned from vacation, memos, documents and vouchers were strewn across his desk. He took off his coat and dove in.What is 5 example of simile and metaphor? ›
Simile: Rapunzel's hair was as soft as clouds. Simile: Cinderella's slippers were as shiny as the sun. Metaphor: The snow is a white blanket. Metaphor: The calm lake was a mirror about what was to come.What is a metaphor for homelessness? ›
Abstract. Like sociologists who use “class” and “stratification”, and physicists who use “black hole”, researchers who investigate homelessness and housing issues use metaphors. To name just a few, we hear of “sliding” into homelessness, “pathways”, “revolving doors”, “exit points” and homeless and housing “careers”.What is an example of metaphor Class 9? ›
Examples of Metaphors
My mom has a heart of gold. My friend's sister, Sharon, is a night owl. My hands were icicles because of the cold weather.
A cultural metaphor is any activity, phenomenon, or institution with which members of a given culture emotionally and/or cognitively identify. As such, cultural metaphors reflect the underlying values of a culture.
What is 1 type of metaphor? ›
Similes, hyperbole, antithesis, idioms, and metonymy are all types of metaphors as they use the practice of comparisons between two 'things.What is an example of complicated metaphor? ›
Another case of complex metaphor is when one sentence is divided into two independent metaphoric clauses. “When poverty creeps in at the door, love flies in through the window.” (Oscar Wilde “The Picture of Dorian Grey”) 1. poverty creeps in at the door; 2.What is an easy metaphor? ›
- It's a doddle.
- Easy peasy.
- It's a cinch.
- There's nothing to it.
- Anyone can do it.
- It's childsplay.
- It's a walk in the park.
- It's not rocket science.
Metaphors about school and education include: (1) Education is the key to new worlds. (2) School is a vaccine for ignorance. (3) Education is the ticket to prosperity. (4) Education sheds light on dark places.What is a metaphor for happy? ›
To show you are really happy with a metaphor, you could say something like 'I'm on cloud nine' or 'I'm over the moon! ' Even if, like most of us, you haven't been to the moon, you can still use that idiom.What is a metaphor about Life? ›
Some examples of metaphors for life include: "Life is a song; we each get to write our own lyrics." "Life is a puzzle; you can only see the picture when you put all the pieces together." "Life is a garden; with care and love you can cultivate beautiful flowers."What is an example of metaphor in poems? ›
"Hope" is the thing with feathers by Emily Dickinson
Emily Dickinson uses a metaphor to compare hope to a bird in “'Hope' is the thing with feathers." She personifies hope as having feathers and perching in the soul, singing without end.
Metaphor is a common poetic device where an object in, or the subject of, a poem is described as being the same as another otherwise unrelated object. A beautiful example can be seen in the first stanza of The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes, in the line: The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas…What are metaphors for being happy? ›
For instance, according to Kovecses (1991), there are many conceptual metaphors for happiness in English but three of them have been recognized as major metaphors: HAPPINESS IS UP 'I'm feeling up', 'I'm walking on air', HAPPINESS IS LIGHT 'She brightened up', HAPPINESS IS A FLUID IN A CONTAINER 'He's bursting with joy' ...What are 50 examples of similes? ›
- As slow as a sloth.
- As busy as a bee.
- As innocent as a lamb.
- As proud as a peacock.
- As fast as a cheetah.
- As blind as a bat.
- As bold as brass.
- As cold as ice.