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metaphor

[met-uh-fawr, -fer] /ˈmɛt əˌfɔr, -fər/
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
1525-1535
1525-35; < Latin metaphora < Greek metaphorá a transfer, akin to metaphérein to transfer. See meta-, -phore
Related forms
metaphorical
[met-uh-fawr-i-kuh l, -for-] /ˌmɛt əˈfɔr ɪ kəl, -ˈfɒr-/ (Show IPA),
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
Can be confused
metaphor, simile.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for metaphorical
  • Another truly interesting domain in which the brain confuses the literal and metaphorical is cleanliness.
  • That's because they have arrived at the next, and final, stage of metaphorical life.
  • The metaphorical hands of the human clock also sometimes point to a purpose-such as feeling sleepy at bedtime.
  • Researchers say this shows that physical and metaphorical warmth are linked.
  • Certainly he never thought of this or any of his pictures in metaphorical terms.
  • In fact, he was not so concerned about solar eclipses as about the metaphorical eclipse that is brought on by blindness.
  • Let's examine what happened to him on the metaphorical playground of contemporary media discourse.
  • Others blame deluges of a more metaphorical kind: floods of capital from abroad or floods of lending at home.
  • Time might heal metaphorical heartbreak, but an injured heart can rarely repair itself.
  • In contrast to the richly metaphorical projections, the paintings are as efficient as hammers.
British Dictionary definitions for metaphorical

metaphor

/ˈmɛtəfə; -ˌfɔː/
noun
1.
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 Compare simile
Derived Forms
metaphoric (ˌmɛtəˈfɒrɪk), metaphorical, adjective
metaphorically, adverb
metaphoricalness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin, from Greek metaphora, from metapherein to transfer, from meta- + pherein to bear
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for metaphorical
adj.

1550s, from metaphor + -ical. Related: metaphorically.

metaphor

n.

late 15c., from Middle French metaphore (Old French metafore, 13c.), and directly from Latin metaphora, from Greek metaphora "a transfer," especially of the sense of one word to a different word, literally "a carrying over," from metapherein "transfer, carry over; change, alter; to use a word in a strange sense," from meta- "over, across" (see meta-) + pherein "to carry, bear" (see infer).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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metaphorical in Culture

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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