metaphor

[met-uh-fawr, -fer]
noun
1.
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 ).
2.
something used, or regarded as being used, to represent something else; emblem; symbol.

Origin:
1525–35; < Latin metaphora < Greek metaphorá a transfer, akin to metaphérein to transfer. See meta-, -phore

metaphorical [met-uh-fawr-i-kuhl, -for-] , metaphoric, adjective
metaphorically, adverb
metaphoricalness, noun
hypermetaphoric, adjective
hypermetaphorical, adjective
nonmetaphoric, adjective
nonmetaphorical, adjective
nonmetaphorically, adverb
semimetaphoric, adjective
semimetaphorical, adjective
semimetaphorically, adverb
submetaphoric, adjective
submetaphorical, adjective
submetaphorically, adverb

metaphor, simile.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
metaphor (ˈmɛtəfə, -ˌfɔː)
 
n
Compare simile 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 battle
 
[C16: from Latin, from Greek metaphora, from metapherein to transfer, from meta- + pherein to bear]
 
metaphoric
 
adj
 
meta'phorical
 
adj
 
meta'phorically
 
adv
 
meta'phoricalness
 
n

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

metaphor
1530s, from M.Fr. metaphore, from L. metaphora, from Gk. metaphora "a transfer," especially of the sense of one word to a different word, lit. "a carrying over," from metapherein "transfer, carry over," from meta- "over, across" (see meta-) + pherein "to carry, bear" (see
infer). Related: Metaphoric; metaphorical; metaphorically.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

metaphor definition


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.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
Her metaphor implied that astronomers were mightily confused about how the
  universe had formed.
Well, it is a figure of speech, a metaphor true in the sense of unknown or
  lesser known.
She has a weakness for the strained and hence distracting metaphor.
That's not just a metaphor, either.
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