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What is a metaphor? Can you give some examples?

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alexb2 | eNotes Employee

Posted November 2, 2007 at 3:33 AM via web

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What is a metaphor? Can you give some examples?

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adarshanurag | Student, Grade 11 | Valedictorian

Posted December 31, 2013 at 1:48 PM (Answer #20)

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Metaphor is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action that it does not literally denote in order to imply a resemblance. In simpler words, it is pointing our a resemblance without using words 'as' and 'like'.

Eg:- "Are fed by peaceful harvests, by war's long winter starved"

       "Thine azure sister of the spring shall blow"

       " That time of year thou mayst in me behold"

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nicole8923 | TA , Grade 10 | Salutatorian

Posted February 28, 2014 at 1:00 AM (Answer #22)

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A metaphor is used when you are trying to compare two or more things without using the words, "like" or "as".


  1. His head was spinning with ideas.
  2. Her home was a prison.
  3. She has a heart of gold.
  4. It is raining cats and dogs.
  5. You had better pull your socks up.
  6. The noise is music to her ears.
  7. You light up my life with your presence.
  8. My memory is a little cloudy about that incident.
  9. He basted her with flattery to get the job.
  10. Keep your eyes peeled.
  11. Take a moment to digest the info.
  12. A rainbow of flavors.
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William Delaney | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 10, 2012 at 4:21 AM (Answer #11)

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Shakespeare's sonnets are full of metaphors and are probably the best examples of metaphors. Read especially sonnet LXXIII, beginning:

That time of year thou mayst in me behold

When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang

Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,

Bare ruin'd choirs, where lete the sweet birds sang.

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qasenior | Salutatorian

Posted July 31, 2012 at 12:05 PM (Answer #16)

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when you compare two things not using the word like or as. 

For example, in Shakespear's  play, Romeo and Juliet... Romeo says: Juliet is the sun. 

Juliet is compared to being the bright and amazing sun. 

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Yojana_Thapa | TA , Grade 10 | Valedictorian

Posted January 30, 2014 at 4:09 PM (Answer #21)

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A Metaphor is a figurative speech which is an implied comparison is made between two unlike things that"s have something important in common. It doesn't use "like" or "as".

AN example would be :

"Life is a journey, travel it well."

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zumba96 | TA , Grade 11 | Valedictorian

Posted April 29, 2014 at 12:03 AM (Answer #23)

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A metaphor is when you are comparing more than one item or thing to another.

Examples such as in Romeo and Juliet;

  •  “She doth teach the torches to burn bright” Saying that her beauty is much brighter than the torches
  • "My lips two blushing pilgrims ready stand" Saying their two lips are blushing pilgrims ready to be caught in the act of sin or kissing one another
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mrsmayo | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 30, 2014 at 3:54 AM (Answer #24)

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A metaphor is a word or phrase that is used to make a comparison between two people, things, animals, or places. It is a type of figuritive language used to be defining and descriptive. Examples:

The snow is a white blanket.

America is a melting pot.

Her lovely voice was music to his ears.

Life is a rollercoaster.

The alligator’s teeth are white daggers.

Their home was a prison.

His heart is a cold iron.

She is a peacock.

He is a shinning star.

Time is money.

**** Notice "like" or "as" is not in the examples. If either were used, it would be a simile instead.  

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rimmery | TA , Undergraduate | Honors

Posted May 14, 2014 at 12:50 AM (Answer #25)

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A metaphor is a phrase or sentence that compares two things without using the word "like" or "as".

Some examples are:

- She is my sunshine (comparing "her" to "sunshine)

- My house is a prison! (house vs. prison)

The above all use nouns to compare objects, but metaphors can also be used with verbs. Examples below.

- Roller coaster of emotions (emotions go up and down like a roller coaster)

- Their relationship turned sour. (sour as in something like a lemon. Not a good thing)

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acompanioninthetardis | TA , Undergraduate | Valedictorian

Posted May 16, 2014 at 11:12 AM (Answer #26)

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A metaphor is a figure of speech in which you compare two things without the use of like or as. 

For example:

            His feet were hooves that stomped the ground demanding his presence to be noticed. This is a metaphor whereas "His feet were like hooves..." would be considered a simile. 

            Time is a thief is a metaphor where as "time is like a thief" would be considered a simile. 

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Wiggin42 | TA , Grade 11 | Valedictorian

Posted May 17, 2014 at 10:56 PM (Answer #27)

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A metaphor is a figure of speech that compares two things without using like or as. (As opposed to a simile which compares two things using like or as.)

One clichéd example of a metaphor is: 

The sun is a fireball. 

In this case we're comparing the sun to a fireball. 

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parama9000 | TA , Grade 11 | Valedictorian

Posted May 31, 2014 at 3:06 AM (Answer #28)

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It is a figure of speech with a tenor and a vehicle. 

The paper was a smooth face, easily crinkled and as white as ever.

tenor: paper 

vehicle: smooth face

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arrellbelle | TA , College Sophomore | Valedictorian

Posted June 6, 2014 at 4:37 PM (Answer #29)

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A metaphor is a literary device that, unlike a simile, does not utilize 'like' or 'as', to make a comparison between two objects or ideas.

For example: 

  1. He was a tank; therefore, he did not falter in battle.
  2. Her beauty was timeless and therefore, I will not forget her.
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user588402 | Student, Grade 9 | eNoter

Posted June 7, 2014 at 2:32 AM (Answer #30)

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A  Metaphor is a figure of speech that describes a subject by asserting that it is, on some point of comparison, the same as another otherwise unrelated object.


The snow is a white blanket.

Life is a roller coaster.

Time is money.

He is a shiny star.

She is a peacock.

Tom's eyes were eyes.


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jess1999 | TA , Grade 9 | Valedictorian

Posted June 15, 2014 at 11:11 PM (Answer #31)

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A metaphor is comparison between two unlike things. Unlike a simile, metaphor does not compare the two unlike things with words such as "like" 'as". For example, "My head is as hard as a rock." That is a simile because it is comparing a head to the hardness of a rock with the word "as".

Examples of metaphors

Her laughter is music

Her eyes are stars

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nisarg | TA , Kindergarten | Valedictorian

Posted June 18, 2014 at 1:21 AM (Answer #32)

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A metaphor is usually a small phrase. It compares 2 things that are not similar without using "like" or "as". 


The man was a giraffe.

The people were ants.

The test was a piece of cake.

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cmcqueeney | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted November 2, 2007 at 3:41 AM (Answer #1)

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A metaphor is a comparison between two things as if they were the same.   Examples:

His marriage was a noose around his neck.

Her hair was a drowned rat.

The butterfly was a beautiful painting of color. 

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clane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted November 2, 2007 at 3:57 AM (Answer #2)

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An easy way to remember metaphor is:

A metaphor is a comparison between two things without the use of like or as (it's almost the same as a simile, except we omit the like or as)

Some examples of metaphors are:

Time is a river

(Time is being compared to a river, perhaps because rivers flow on endlessly just like time passes endlessly)

Don't change a horse in the middle of a race

(Here the comparison is not as easy to see. This is a comparison between a horse race and perhaps someone faced with a decision to press on with a project or to change a course of action. For example, if a person was a senior in college it wouldn't be wise to change majors because it will take a long time to finish just like if a person in a horse race decided to change horses in the middle- he surely will lose so it would be unwise.)

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 2, 2007 at 5:08 AM (Answer #3)

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There is also such a thing as a metaphysical conceit--also a metaphor, but a comparsion between two seemingly unrelated things.

John Donne is a master at this, and an example of this is in his poem, "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning" where he compares his love for his wife to a compass and also where he compares his love for his wife to gold.

The man is leaving his wife for a business trip and he tells her their love above all the crying and physical mourning.  He says you are the fixed foot (of the compass) and I am the part with the pencil...the farther away I travel, we never really part.  You just lean toward me until I come home again and we are again together.

He also compares their love to gold.  He says we never leave each other--absence makes our hearts grow fonder and we are connected not just physically, but spiritually and emotionally.  So, like gold, when you beat it, it never breaks.  It only expands to an airy thinness like gold foil.  We are like that.

Metaphors are a comparison between two things without the words "like" or "as".  Usually the comparison is fairly obvious or take little thought to make the connection.

Metaphysical conceits are metaphors taken to the next level. 


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playsthething | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

Posted August 24, 2008 at 9:24 AM (Answer #5)

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A metaphor is one of several types of figurative language (simile, synechdoche, personification, hyperbole, etc.).  It is similar to a simile, but is less obvious because it does not use "like" or "as".  For example, if I say that the my son's eyes are as blue as sapphires, that is a simile.  However, if I just say that my son's eyes are sapphires, it's a metaphor.  This is a very simplistic way of looking at it, but it's the basic difference between simile and metaphor (something that students tend to struggle with).  

You might also hear of an extended metaphor.  That's when a writer sets up a metaphor and extends it beyond its initial meaning.  For example, let's say I've set up my metaphor of my son's eyes being sapphires which establishes their color, but then I might go on to discuss their value and preciousness.  That would extend the metaphor beyond its initial use of describing the color of my son's eyes.

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opalwrites | College Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted September 16, 2008 at 2:30 PM (Answer #6)

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A metaphor is a form of direct comparison, where one thing is said to be another, directly, by using the verb "to be".

For example:

  • The boy is a cypress press.
  • James is a stallion dashing across the savannah, all grace and speed.
  • The toddler is a butterfly flitting from his mother to his father's arms.
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dorae | Elementary School Teacher | eNoter

Posted June 4, 2011 at 5:27 AM (Answer #8)

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when you describe something by referring to something else which is the same in a particular way

ex:if we want to say that someone is frightened of things we can say that he is a mouse. so, we here  described him as a mouse because they are the same in their fear of things.


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lolodancer | Student, Grade 9 | Salutatorian

Posted September 15, 2011 at 11:32 AM (Answer #10)

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A metaphor is a figure of speech in which an expression is used to refer to something that it does not literally denote in order to suggest a similarity.


1.) She's the apple of my eye.

2.) The movie struck a spark that massaged the audience's conscience.

3.) I'm heartbroken.

These are several.

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harshitasnehal | College Teacher | eNoter

Posted March 10, 2012 at 6:49 AM (Answer #12)

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A metaphor is an indirect comparison between the qualities of objects  or people.

 For eg. He was a lion in the battle.

here quality of lion i.e. bravery is compared with that of his.

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sabarigirish | Student, Grade 10 | eNoter

Posted April 12, 2012 at 8:28 AM (Answer #13)

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Metaphor is a figure of speech that involves designating one thing with the name of another, a process that is carried out essentially by substituting one term for another.

Metaphor is a fundamental notion that Jacques Lacan introduced in relation to his thesis that "the unconscious is structured like a language." He justified its legitimacy principally by analogy with the Freudian mechanism of "condensation," and more generally in relation to the structure of the formations of the unconscious and the metaphorical process of the Name-of-the-Father.

Lacan proposed the following symbolic formula for metaphor (2002, p. 190):

The Lacanian use of metaphor is founded on the principle of a signifying substitution that promotes the authority of the signifier over that of the signified. In language, metaphorical substitution most often occurs between two terms on the basis of semantic similarity. At the level of unconscious processes, this similarity is not always immediately apparent, and only a series of associations can bring it to light.

Thus Freudian condensation plays a role in the different unconscious formations, such as dreams and symptoms, for example. Just as the unconscious material in dreams, telescoped by condensations, reappears in a meaningless form in the manifest dream content, so the symptom expresses, in reality, something completely different from what it appears to mean.

The metaphor of the Name-of-the-Father, as it was called by Lacan, is based on the same principlehat of the substitution of signifiers. In this case, the signifier of the Name-of-the-Father substitutes for the signifier of the mother's desire, which thus becomes the object of repression and becomes unconscious.

The "fort/da game" that Freud described (1920g) directly attests to the process of metaphorization and the repression that is linked to it. A relation of signifying substitution is established by the child as soon as they "name" the signifying reference to the father as the cause of the mother's absences. In addition to the paternal metaphor, which makes it possible, the fort/da game is also inscribed in a double metaphorical process. In itself, the reel is already a metaphor for the mother, and the game of its presence and absence is another metaphor since it symbolizes her departure and return.


See also: Condensation; Displacement; Forgetting; Formations of the unconscious; Letter, the; Linguistics and psychoanalysis; Matheme; Metonymy; Mirror stage; Name-of-the-Father; Phobias in children; Psychoses, chronic and delusional; Signifier; Signifier/signified; Signifying chain; Symptom/sinthome; Topology.


Dor, Joël. (1998). Introduction to the reading of Lacan: The unconscious structured like a language (Judith Feher Gurewich and Susan Fairfield, Eds.). New York: Other Press, 1998.

Freud, Sigmund. (1920g). Beyond the pleasure principle. SE, 18: 1-64.

Lacan, Jacques. (2002).rits: A selection (Bruce Fink, Trans.). New York: W. W. Norton.

Source: International Dictionary of Psychoanalysis, ©2005 Gale Cengage. All Rights Reserved. Full copyright.

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msnewbooklover | Student, Grade 9 | Honors

Posted May 23, 2012 at 2:41 PM (Answer #14)

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: 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 indrowning in money);


Definition: Metaphor is when you use two nouns and compare or contrast them to one another. Unlike simile, you don't use "like" or "as" in the comparison.


I am a sword,
Sharper than a tongue
Nobody can defeat me,
Because I am a sword,
I can not be hurt by what people say
About me, 
I will not show my anger
Someone else.


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ik9744 | TA , Grade 9 | Valedictorian

Posted June 26, 2014 at 6:29 AM (Answer #33)

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A metaphor is describing you like something without like or as. Opposite of a simile.


This pillow is a cloud

This dog is a cupid 

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udonbutterfly | TA , College Freshman | Valedictorian

Posted June 30, 2014 at 2:56 AM (Answer #34)

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A metaphor is a comparison between two things without using as, and like.

For example:

1. "Before I met my husband, I'd never fallen in love. I'd stepped in it a few times."
(Rita Rudner)

2. "Memory is a crazy woman that hoards colored rags and throws away food."
(Austin O'Malley)

3. "Life is a zoo in a jungle."
(Peter De Vries)


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kevin0001 | TA , Grade 9 | Honors

Posted July 21, 2014 at 12:26 AM (Answer #35)

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A metaphor is a type of figurative speech that describes two things. This may sound just like a simile but a metaphor doesn't use "like" or "as" to describe the two things. Examples of a metaphor would be : 

1. Life is a never ending roller coaster ride.       

2. My friend has a heart of gold. 

3. Love is a battlefield.   

And etc.

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maria-vivanco | TA , Grade 11 | Valedictorian

Posted July 28, 2014 at 10:39 PM (Answer #36)

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A metaphor is when one does a comparison between two things without using like or as. For example, telling someone "that test was a piece of cake". You aren't necessarily saying that the test was a literal piece of cake you are just making a comparison. 

Another form of metaphor that is commonly used is when you use something to represent something. 

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atyourservice | TA , Grade 10 | Valedictorian

Posted July 31, 2014 at 7:22 AM (Answer #37)

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A metaphor compares two or more things without using the word like or as:

An example of a metaphor would be:

She is a walking book.

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nicoledesilva | Student, Grade 9 | Salutatorian

Posted August 19, 2012 at 8:51 AM (Answer #17)

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A metaphor is acually a simile, but without the use of 'like' and 'as'.

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nicoledesilva | Student, Grade 9 | Salutatorian

Posted August 19, 2012 at 8:53 AM (Answer #18)

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Example : The paper was a peice of cake.

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faithm99 | Student | eNoter

Posted November 7, 2012 at 10:43 PM (Answer #19)

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A metaphor is a phrase that does not use the words "like or "as"

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