What does metaphor mean?

Definitions for metaphor
ˈmɛt əˌfɔr, -fərmetaphor

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word metaphor.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. metaphornoun

    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


  1. metaphornoun

    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.

  2. metaphornoun

    The word or phrase used in this way. An implied comparison.

  3. Etymology: From metaphora, from μεταφορά, from μεταφέρω, from μετά + φέρω

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. METAPHORnoun

    The application of a word to an use to which, in its original import, it cannot be put: as, he bridles his anger; he deadens the sound; the spring awakes the flowers.

    Etymology: metaphore, Fr. μετάφορα.

    The work of tragedy is on the passions, and in a dialogue; both of them abhor strong metaphors, in which the epopœa delights. John Dryden, Virgil’s Æneis. Ded. to.


  1. Metaphor

    Metaphor can mean: Metaphor in literature and rhetoric, an analogy between two objects or ideas, conveyed by using a word instead of another word Conceptual metaphor, metaphors in cognitive linguistics, understanding one idea or conceptual domain in terms of another Interface metaphor, metaphors in computer science, for example an icon of a filing cabinet for "filestore" Metaphor: The Tree of Utah, a sculpture "Metaphor", a song by In Flames from their album Reroute to Remain "Metaphors", a poem by Sylvia Plath


  1. metaphor

    A metaphor is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable, implying a resemblance or analogy. It involves a direct or indirect comparison between two unlike things, suggesting that one thing is another, not just that one is like another. For example, "He is a lion in battle," directly compares a man to a lion, implying courage and strength.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Metaphornoun

    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

  2. Etymology: [F. mtaphore, L. metaphora, fr. Gr. metafora`, fr. metafe`rein to carry over, transfer; meta` beyond, over + fe`rein to bring, bear.]


  1. Metaphor

    A metaphor is a figure of speech that describes a subject by asserting that it is, on some point of comparison, the same as another otherwise unrelated object. Metaphor is a type of analogy and is closely related to other rhetorical figures of speech that achieve their effects via association, comparison or resemblance including allegory, hyperbole, and simile. In simpler terms, a metaphor compares two objects or things without using the words "like" or "as". One of the most prominent examples of a metaphor in English literature is the All the world's a stage monologue from As You Like It: This quote is a metaphor because the world is not literally a stage. By figuratively asserting that the world is a stage, Shakespeare uses the points of comparison between the world and a stage to convey an understanding about the mechanics of the world and the lives of the people within it.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Metaphor

    met′a-fur, n. a transference of meaning, the putting of one thing for another which it only resembles, as when words are said to be bitter: an implicit simile.—adjs. Metaphor′ic, -al, pertaining to, or containing, metaphor: figurative.—adv. Metaphor′ically.—ns. Metaphor′icalness; Met′aphorist.—Mixed metaphor, an expression in which two or more metaphors are confused, where one only is capable of being intelligibly evolved or conceived objectively, as Cromwell's 'God has kindled a seed in this nation.' [Fr.,—Gr. metaphorametaphereinmeta, over, pherein, to carry.]

U.S. National Library of Medicine

  1. Metaphor

    The application of a concept to that which it is not literally the same but which suggests a resemblance and comparison. Medical metaphors were widespread in ancient literature; the description of a sick body was often used by ancient writers to define a critical condition of the State, in which one corrupt part can ruin the entire system. (From Med Secoli Arte Sci, 1990;2(3):abstract 331)

Editors Contribution

  1. metaphorverb

    A figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable. A thing regarded as representative or symbolic of something else, especially something abstract. 0.) The past is in the books, The present is in the mine, and the future is at hand. 1.) a creative work referring to itself or to the conventions of its genre denoting an agent or bearer of a specific thing.

    I like to live my life by accurate metaphors.

    Etymology: Sayin

    Submitted by Tehorah_Elyon on May 4, 2024  

  2. metaphorverb

    Referring to itself or to the conventions of its genre; self-referential change of position or condition bearing a specific subject. 1.) a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable. A thing regarded as representative or symbolic of something else, esp. something abstract.

    My rapping metaphor has a vocabulary lane of its own.

    Etymology: Pronunciation

    Submitted by Tehorah_Elyon on April 3, 2024  

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'metaphor' in Nouns Frequency: #2660

How to pronounce metaphor?

How to say metaphor in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of metaphor in Chaldean Numerology is: 9

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of metaphor in Pythagorean Numerology is: 6

Examples of metaphor in a Sentence

  1. Barbra Streisand:

    The moral immune system of this country has been weakened and attacked, and the AIDS virus is the perfect metaphor for it. The malignant neglect of the last twelve years has led to breakdown of our country's immune system, environmentally, culturally, politically, spiritually and physically.

  2. Paul Valery:

    The folly of mistaking a paradox for a discovery, a metaphor for a proof, a torrent of verbiage for a spring of capital truths, and oneself for an oracle, is inborn in us.

  3. John Schnatter:

    My metaphor is : There's no reason to be in the car when the car crashes even if you love the car.

  4. Sterling Backus:

    I was shaking in my boots since it was like getting a call from the Pope and he is coming to dinner, of course, a metaphor, but just to give( you) the idea of the gravity to me, personally.

  5. Daniel J. Boorstin:

    Not so many years ago there was no simpler or more intelligible notion than that of going on a journey. Travel --movement through space --provided the universal metaphor for change. One of the subtle confusions --perhaps one of the secret terrors --of modern life is that we have lost this refuge. No longer do we move through space as we once did.

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Translations for metaphor

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"metaphor." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 27 May 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/metaphor>.

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    the trait of showing courage and determination in spite of possible loss or injury
    A pluck
    B serendipity
    C ignominy
    D canopy

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