Definition of analogy
1 : inference that if two or more things agree with one another in some respects they will probably agree in others
2a : resemblance in some particulars between things otherwise unlike : similarityb : comparison based on such resemblance
3 : correspondence between the members of pairs or sets of linguistic forms that serves as a basis for the creation of another form
4 : correspondence in function between anatomical parts of different structure and origin — compare homology
Examples of analogy in a Sentence
He does, though, suffer from the occupational deformation of international relations specialists: an enthusiasm for ransacking the past in search of precedents, analogies, patterns, and cycles that might explain the present and forecast the future. —Tony Judt, New York Book Review, 10 Apr. 2003
People who do this call themselves “white-hat” hackers—good people who show other people their vulnerabilities. Take the following analogy: I've designed a great new lock pick, and I'm going to give this great new gadget away to show everyone that the typical door lock is ineffective against my new pick. —John C. Dvorak, PC Magazine, 4 Apr. 2000
It has often been said that movie stars are the royalty of America. (The better analogy, really, is that the royals are the movie stars of Britain.) —Neal Gabler, Life: The Movie, 1998
Parts of the far-infrared sky look like colonies of spiders gone mad. The fine structure seen there is called cirrus, by analogy with filamentary clouds on Earth. —Virginia Trimble et al., Sky & Telescope, January 1995
Recent Examples of analogy from the Web
Everyone, actually, seems to use a computer analogy.
Asked to explain how this drug works, Krystal uses a computer analogy.
Crocodylians provide an obvious analogy here, their sensitive facial receptors (the integumentary sense organs – or ISOs – in particular) being involved in the face-stroking and nuzzling that occurs during courtship.
His starting point was a simple analogy: If matter is lumpy—that is, if every substance in the universe consists of atoms and molecules—then surely light must be lumpy as well.
The analogy was terrible, but Wall Street loved it because Wall Street hated the rule (which inhibited its ability to make money off the stupidity of non–Wall Street people).
While some analogies can make a complex issue seem overly simple, any opportunity to start the conversation is better than no conversation at all.
Bowls & Tacos has picked up the gauntlet thrown down by Revolver (given the restaurant’s pistol motif, the duel analogy is kinda fitting) and accepted the challenge.
Ellis uses the analogy of a car’s fuel gauge to describe how kids change the family dynamic and why parents need some personal time.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'analogy'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Digging Into the Most Common Meaning of analogy
In its most common use, analogy has to do with comparison of things based on those things being alike in some way. For example, one can make or draw an analogy between the seasons of the year and the stages of life. People also reason by way of analogy, asserting, for example, that abandoning a project is like leaving a house partway built. Although an analogy can be summarized quickly, as in these examples, an analogy actually encompasses the comparison or inference itself, and is therefore different from figures of speech, like metaphors and similes, which are forms of expression.
Some tests ask you to identify analogies, finding the second of a pair that has the same relationship as a completed pair. Analogy tests often look like this:
ice : cold :: steel : ____
a. hard b. loud c. fresh d. small
Because the relationship between ice and cold is that coldness is a quality of ice, the word that goes with steel is hard, since hardness is a quality of steel.
The word analogy (which comes from analogous) traces back by way of Latin to a Greek word meaning "proportionate." That word has a root in the Greek word logos, meaning "reason."
Synonym Discussion of analogy
ANALOGY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of analogy for English Language Learners
: a comparison of two things based on their being alike in some way
: the act of comparing two things that are alike in some way
ANALOGY Defined for Kids
Definition of analogy for Students
1 : a comparison of things based on ways they are alike He made an analogy between flying and surfing.
2 : the act of comparing things that are alike in some way She explained by analogy.
Seen and Heard
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