Simple Definition of metaphor
: a word or phrase for one thing that is used to refer to another thing in order to show or suggest that they are similar
: an object, activity, or idea that is used as a symbol of something else
Full Definition of metaphor
1 : a figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them (as in drowning in money); broadly : figurative language — compare simile
2 : an object, activity, or idea treated as a metaphor : symbol 2
Examples of metaphor in a sentence
You see, menudo is our chicken soup for the body and soul, our metaphor for bread-and-butter issues. —Joe Rodriguez, San Jose Mercury News, 20 May 2003
The hapless Humpty Dumpty often crops up as a metaphor for the second law of thermodynamics. —Charles Day, Physics Today, December 2002
Ben Strong, senior, football player, leader of the prayer group, the boy whose very name is a metaphor, has been besieged by the media for interviews. —Jayne Anne Phillips, Harper's, November 1998
The number of songs containing ambiguous metaphors and intriguing but obscure symbolism could be extended indefinitely. Still, … there are hollers, work songs, field songs, and blues whose meaning is really not subject to a great deal of interpretation. —Lawrence W. Levine, “The Concept of the New Negro,” 1971, in The Unpredictable Past, 1993
“He was drowning in paperwork” is a metaphor in which having to deal with a lot of paperwork is being compared to drowning in an ocean of water.
Her poems include many imaginative metaphors.
a poet admired for her use of metaphor
Origin of metaphor
Middle English methaphor, from Middle French or Latin; Middle French metaphore, from Latin metaphora, from Greek, from metapherein to transfer, from meta- + pherein to bear — more at bear
First Known Use: 15th century
Rhymes with metaphor
albacore, allosaur, alongshore, anaphor, anymore, archosaur, at death's door, at one's door, Bangalore, bargain for, Barrymore, canker sore, carnivore, carnosaur, close the door, Coimbatore, come in for, commodore, comprador, consignor, corridor, cuspidor, devisor, dinosaur, door-to-door, double door, Ecuador, either-or, Eleanor, elector, endospore, evermore, except for, forest floor, franchisor, from the floor, furthermore, general store, go in for, guarantor, Gwalior, hackamore, hadrosaur, hellebore, herbivore, heretofore, humidor, in line for, Koko Nor, komondor, Labrador, licensor, Lipitor, louis d'or, madrepore, Mangalore, man-of-war, manticore, matador, meteor, micropore, Minotaur, mirador, more and more, nevermore, not long for, omnivore, open-door, out-of-door, package store, parador, petit four, picador, pinafore, piscivore, pompadour, Pompadour, predator, promisor, pterosaur, saddle sore, sagamore, Salvador, semaphore, servitor, standard score, stand up for, stegosaur, stevedore, stick up for, superstore, sycamore, take the floor, theretofore, to die for, troubadour, tug-of-war, two-by-four, uncalled-for, underscore, unlooked-for, vavasor, warrantor
METAPHOR Defined for Kids
Definition of metaphor for Students
: a figure of speech comparing two unlike things without using like or as <“Their cheeks were roses” is a metaphor while “their cheeks were like roses” is a simile.>
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up metaphor? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).