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
To be sure, historical analogies are easy to get wrong.
Running with the analogy, a British journalist wondered if McIlroy wasn’t in danger of becoming Ringo.
That analogy was not likely to be welcomed by Israel, which vehemently opposed the Iran deal.
By analogy, the company doesn’t have a key to the phone so the government is asking it to make the lock weaker.
In one workshop in Manhattan, led by Dr. Brod, an audience member told a story of a sex educator in Philadelphia who uses a pizza analogy to explain consent.
The distance between Kirk's historical analogy and what that lady in South Carolina believes the president is conspiring to do is not vast at all.
Dr. Billy Cohn, another of the physicians at THI who works at the cutting edge of heart pump technology, likes to use the history of human flight as an analogy for the evolution in his field.
Romer’s idea is unconventional, even neo-colonial—the best analogy is Britain’s historic lease of Hong Kong.
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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."
Origin and Etymology of analogy
First Known Use: 15th century
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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