American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A figure of speech in which a word or phrase that ordinarily designates one thing is used to designate another, thus making an implicit comparison, as in "a sea of troubles” or "All the world's a stage” ( Shakespeare).
- n. One thing conceived as representing another; a symbol: "Hollywood has always been an irresistible, prefabricated metaphor for the crass, the materialistic, the shallow, and the craven” ( Neal Gabler).
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A figure of speech by which, from some supposed resemblance or analogy, a name, an attribute, or an action belonging to or characteristic of one object is assigned to another to which it is not literally applicable; the figurative transfer of a descriptive or affirmative word or phrase from one thing to another; implied comparison by transference of terms: as, the ship spread its wings to the breeze; “Judah is a lion's whelp,” Gen. xlix. 9. If Jacob had said, “is like or resembles a lion's whelp,'' the expression would have been a simile instead of a metaphor. A simple metaphor is contained in a single word or phrase, like those in italics above; a continued metaphor is one in which the figurative description or characterization is maintained throughout a variety of phrases or applications. See
- n. Synonyms Comparison, Allegory.etc. See simile.
- n. uncountable, rhetoric The use of a word or phrase to refer to something that it isn’t, invoking a direct similarity between the word or phrase used and the thing described, but in the case of English without the words like or as, which would imply a simile.
- n. countable, rhetoric The word or phrase used in this way. An implied comparison.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Rhet.) The transference of the relation between one set of objects to another set for the purpose of brief explanation; a compressed simile; e. g., the ship plows the sea.
- n. a figure of speech in which an expression is used to refer to something that it does not literally denote in order to suggest a similarity
- From Latin metaphora, from Ancient Greek μεταφορά (metaphora), from μεταφέρω (metapherō, "I transfer, apply"), from μετά (meta, "with, across, after") + φέρω (pherō, "I bear, carry") (Wiktionary)
- Middle English methaphor, from Old French metaphore, from Latin metaphora, from Greek, transference, metaphor, from metapherein, to transfer : meta-, meta- + pherein, to carry; see bher-1 in Indo-European roots. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“-- If what is begun as a metaphor is not completed as begun, but is completed by a part of another metaphor or by plain language, we have what, is called a _mixed metaphor_.”
“How about "Lions Led By Asses" as a less-encumbered rephrasing of the title metaphor and is probably what the original Brit bon-moticist had in mind IMHO?”
“Never straying too far from the title metaphor, Sting depicts the rise and fall of human fortunes and emotions, the cycles of despair and hope as reliable as day after night, spring after winter, warm after cold.”
“Well the metaphor is a dangerous one if we extend it to the British School of soccer management.”
“My books are not quite the same as my children, but the metaphor is the best I can muster – I really am bothered when people say negative things about my children – I want to protect them.”
“And then he whacks the villain before you can say the word metaphor.”
“Our visions of what our society is, what it could be, and what it should be, are all structures of metaphor, because the metaphor is the unit of all imagination.”
“A lot of science-fiction will use the word metaphor - that their spaceship is a metaphor for human society," he continues.”
“Weidenbaum: It’s interesting talking to you, because you use the term metaphor but you don’t speak in metaphors.”
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