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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 for metaphors
  • metaphors from the language of sight are common in the world of music.
  • As for the home-grown tongue, of its umpteen sporting metaphors hardly any come from soccer.
  • Invite students to come up with their own metaphors or similes to describe each animal shown.
  • metaphors make for colorful sayings, but can be confusing when taken literally.
  • But the computers can still struggle with interpreting local jargon and metaphors.
  • One of his favorite metaphors for interactionism concerns a car making a screeching noise.
  • Combat metaphors about people who have died of cancer abound and are derided by some.
  • Yet the peculiar metaphors employed by reviewers years back often added little if anything to the audience's understanding.
  • From its life habits they have drawn phrases and metaphors to describe their own behavior.
  • metaphors are often used in science to understand difficult and counterintuitive phenomena.
British Dictionary definitions for metaphors

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 metaphors
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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metaphors 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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16
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