met·​a·​phor·​i·​cal·​ly ˌme-tə-ˈfȯr-i-k(ə-)lē How to pronounce metaphorically (audio)
: in a metaphorical or figurative sense rather than a literal sense : by using a metaphor
At the center of every encryption system is a secret number or mathematical operation, metaphorically referred to as a key.Peter Wayner
At a typical event, he comes crashing onstage, delivers a macho statement of intent, metaphorically flexes his muscles, then roars away.Terry McCarthy
They settled in Somerville, Mass., next door to Cambridge but metaphorically across the tracks.Laura Shapiro

Examples of metaphorically in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Unlike that one time her apartment complex's elevator held her hostage, Joy Behar left the building — metaphorically — on Wednesday's episode of The View. Joey Nolfi,, 14 Feb. 2024 Mac and Ray looked into history and found people to celebrate; Escola looked into history and found people to—metaphorically, of course—shiv. Helen Shaw, The New Yorker, 9 Feb. 2024 The partnership will bring Ray back to her roots, metaphorically and physically. Antonia Debianchi, Peoplemag, 30 Jan. 2024 And what makes these biscuits even sweeter—metaphorically, at least—is knowing that Popeyes will donate $1 from each purchase to charity. Brandee Gruener, Southern Living, 3 Feb. 2024 Campbell’s reputation is as an alpha dog, a former blocking tight end who famously said in his introductory press conference that his Lions need to metaphorically bite their opponents’ kneecaps. Danny Emerman, The Mercury News, 29 Jan. 2024 All, like Pinocchio, have hollow wooden bodies, though Pinocchio has more strings and is hollow only metaphorically. Richard Siken, The New Yorker, 8 Jan. 2024 After the excitement of a potential moon landing that commenced earlier this week, all hopes for the feat have (metaphorically) fallen back down to Earth. Tori Latham, Robb Report, 10 Jan. 2024 Eventually, the two opposing modes of visual storytelling at its core (one distinctly intimate, the other distant and observational) come into explosive contact like matter and antimatter, as the idea of art metaphorically gazing back at its viewer takes distinctly literal form. Siddhant Adlakha, Variety, 28 Dec. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'metaphorically.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1534, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of metaphorically was in 1534

Dictionary Entries Near metaphorically

Cite this Entry

“Metaphorically.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!