mixed metaphor


Definition of mixed metaphor

: a figure of speech combining inconsistent or incongruous metaphors

Examples of mixed metaphor in a Sentence

“If we want to get ahead we'll have to iron out the remaining bottlenecks” is an example of a mixed metaphor.

Recent Examples on the Web

To walk up steep sand dunes in the woods is to experience one of Mother Nature’s best topographical mixed metaphors — and also to make your calves remind you of their daily contribution. New York Times, "Welcome to America’s Newest National Park. Don’t Mind the Power Plant.," 17 July 2019 Pardon the mixed metaphor, but Team Shuster is on a roll. Gary D'amato, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "U.S. men's curling doesn't skip a beat after big win vs. Canada," 20 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mixed metaphor.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of mixed metaphor

circa 1748, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about mixed metaphor

Statistics for mixed metaphor

Last Updated

3 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for mixed metaphor

The first known use of mixed metaphor was circa 1748

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for mixed metaphor

mixed metaphor


English Language Learners Definition of mixed metaphor

: a metaphor that combines different images or ideas in a way that is foolish or illogical

More from Merriam-Webster on mixed metaphor

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with mixed metaphor

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about mixed metaphor

Comments on mixed metaphor

What made you want to look up mixed metaphor? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


miscellaneous remnants or debris

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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