What is the definition of metaphor?
The definition of metaphor is the process of understanding one kind of thing in terms of another kind of thing.
Last Updated on February 25, 2021, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 147
Metaphor - a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to a person, idea, or object to which it is not literally applicable. It is an implied analogy or unstated comparison which imaginatively identifies one thing with another. This device is used by an author to turn or twist the meaning of a word. Metaphors are the most often used figure of speech. While not required in poetry, they are universally used there. A “dead metaphor” is a former metaphor now accepted as common usage, such as table leg or car hood.
Writing an essay?
Get a custom outline
Our Essay Lab can help you tackle any essay assignment within seconds, whether you’re studying Macbeth or the American Revolution. Try it today!
The term is from the Greek metaphora, meaning “transference” which was formed by combining meta, meaning “over” and pherein, meaning “to carry.”
John Donne makes use of metaphor when he writes in Twickenham Garden:
And take my tears, which are love’s wine.
see: analogy, connotation, metaphor, simile
Explore all literary terms.