A figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable. e.g., "Her eyes were glistening jewels."

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84 views

A powerful idiom for “low exposure” [on hold]

Imagine someone creates a piece of art, but nobody notices it. Like a great book, which nobody reads because nobody knows that it exists. What are some powerful words or metaphors for this condition? ...
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9answers
4k views

Is there a word or phrase for something that one might wish exists, but most certainly doesn't?

An example might be a car that is fast, luxurious, reliable, gets great gas mileage, and is very cheap. Clearly we'd all love to own such a car, but it doesn't exist, and probably never will. There's ...
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1answer
29 views

What do the joints signify in the metaphor “carve nature at the joints”?

I first encountered this metaphor in the 2nd sentence of p 267 , Think: A Compelling Introduction to Philosophy (1 ed, 1999) by Simon Blackburn. If it pertains to my question below, please ask me to ...
3
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4answers
67 views

An Idiom as a reality

Is there a word to describe when you use an idiom to describe reality ? Examples : Raining cats and dogs and it is actually raining cats and dogs, Boxed in and you are actually surrounded by boxes.
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4answers
75 views

Is there a phrase(or a metaphor) that describes a person who has a restless mind?

I'm looking for a phrase that describes a person who always thinks about too many things at once and, therefore, looks(and acts) sloppy. Something like: "he has a swarm of vasps in his head". I can't ...
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6answers
156 views

A phrase to describe the external spreading phase of some infection?

I believe that some types of fungal/viral/other infections have a life cycle in which they kill a host entity (possibly plant or animal), and then around that time they also "bloom" or "erupt" from ...
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2answers
35 views

The statement “people are humans”, as a metaphor? [closed]

I want to use the phrase "people are humans", as to differentiate between the perception of mindless ants running around, and individuals with complex feelings and understandings of the world. So for ...
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3answers
77 views

Why do we say “plant a kiss”?

The term plant means a living organism; a thing with roots, shoots and leaves that needs water and sun in order to grow. So why do we say "to plant a kiss"? She planted a kiss...
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2answers
50 views

Can you speak metaphorically if you're using similes?

If someone is speaking and just used a simile, can you say they are speaking metaphorically even though they are using a simile and not a metaphor? Ex: "I'll be all over you! I'll be like peanut ...
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0answers
13 views

Is the phrase “my memories form into a mass of life” a metaphor?

The phrase "my memories form into a mass of life" belongs to a poem. Is it a metaphor or a personification? Could it be both?
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0answers
47 views

Is “face-off” a misnomer?

In ice hockey, the face-off is the method of starting play. The two teams line up in opposition to each other, and two opposing skaters try to gain control of the puck after it is dropped between ...
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2answers
61 views

Can the following sentence be literal (or is it a metaphor)

I have the following sentence which I thought was implying that a metaphor is like a moustache Today I learnt how to wax a metaphor Having checked through wiktionary the only literal (i.e. ...
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1answer
42 views

What does this particular phrase mean? [closed]

"His parents sent him away without a shilling". what does that imply? that his parents disowned him?
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4answers
70 views

Is it a metaphor when a writer describes a character as having arms contorted into knots?

When a writer describes a displeased character as having "arms, lips, eyes contorted into knots", is that actually a metaphor? Sometimes language feels figurative without a strong metaphorical sense. ...
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8answers
83 views

Word for “speeding up a process” in line with the idiom “to kick-start”

I am not a native English speaker that but I'm looking for a good word that highlights that a process is improved in that it completes more quickly. I thought there was a word that is semantically in ...
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2answers
64 views

Would any of these be a metaphor?

Both quotation are from The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna in case you're wondering. Quotation One: "I watched her face as the shades of knowledge deepened, the shift in emotion, the flare of ...
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3answers
68 views

What is the point of this metaphor? [closed]

It was a little death, not being able to make a tale out of the small moments of life. I don't see the connection between death and life. How do these relate and make this metaphor effective?
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2answers
28 views

“Humor is one of the strongest forces that humans connect over.”?

English isn't my first language so this question may seem stupid. Can you connect "over" something metaphorically? Example: Humor is one of the strongest forces that humans connect over. Of can ...
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1answer
49 views

Poetic License and the Throes of Translating Poetry [closed]

Is poetry in translation worthless? Or not? I don't know. Never mind that for now. I've just read a novella in verse translated into English by someone known for his lapses and Germanisms, but a ...
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0answers
30 views

What's a word that means or historic character who sybolizes a spy whose own lack of knowledge reveals his subterfuge?

The context is a spy who becomes revealed to the person who is spied upon because the spy lacks knowledge of the target's (the spied upon's) specialty work
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2answers
143 views

What is the meaning of “humbler walls”?

I'm totally confused about this sentence; its grammar seems crazy. Please help me to understand it. It is from a documentary film about ancient history I've watched. Life wasn't easy for ordinary ...
25
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10answers
7k views

What does ‘If she’s a feminist, then I’m a T. Rex’ mean? [duplicate]

There was the following passage in New York Times’ (October 6) article commenting on GOP Presidential candidate, Carly Fiorina under the headline, ‘If she’s a feminist, then I’m a T. Rex’: “Her ...
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2answers
214 views

Is there a word that means a colour used metaphorically?

Examples: Green to mean naive Blue to mean depressed Black to mean bad White to mean good In my googling of this question, I’ve come across a lot of philosophical and linguistic discussion about ...
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1answer
106 views

What is a better way of saying “building a building”?

My sentence is "Creating Software is akin to building a building". This sounds weird and I am looking for a better way to phrase this analogy.
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2answers
1k views

Word for giving animal characteristics (esp. physical ones) to humans

I am writing a paper about Art Spiegelman's Maus, specifically the metaphor that Spiegelman creates by depicting his obviously quite human characters with the heads of various animals, or a couple ...
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2answers
57 views

meaning of “no longer me” [closed]

What does "no longer me" mean in The Blue Star poem by Philip Levine? Does it mean "I had no feeling any more" or "I could not have any feeling of myself and my previous personality any more", ...
4
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1answer
321 views

Who's synonymous with lack of choice?

I'm trying to find a well-known person who was/is famous for not allowing any choices. Eg, Henry Ford going "you can have any color as long as it's black." Ideas welcome!
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3answers
71 views

Metaphorical use of “the cockpit” [closed]

What is the metaphorical meaning of cockpit in the following sentence? “The cockpit of this fought was the Senate of the US” (Profiles in courage by John F. Kennedy)
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4answers
209 views

Can I make any simile a metaphor by replacing “like” with a colon?

I'm struggling to fully conceptualise "metaphor". I think I understand "simile", it is an explicit analogue. But how can one turn any analogue into a metaphor? So: Is there anything to bear in mind ...
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0answers
39 views

Additional meaning of the word “fletcher”

I am translating English wiki for Habitica game into Russian, and I am not sure what the word "fletchers" means in the following context (the article about contributor titles): "Title: Fletchers; ...
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2answers
983 views

Why “I didn't have the heart to tell him”?

When you say "I didn't have the heart to tell him [insert uncomfortable truth here]", it means that you didn't say it because it would have hurt their feelings in some way. That seems a little bit ...
3
votes
2answers
100 views

“Soul Food” as describing non-African-American Food

What is meant by “soul food” in the following text from the NYT? I thought “soul food” referred to a type African-American cuisine (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soul_food). Is the NYT article ...
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1answer
259 views

Do these 2 paragraphs contain a metaphor anywhere?

"My memory is like a film. That is why I am really good at remembering things, like conversations I have written down in this book, and what people were wearing, and what they smelled like, ...
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3answers
164 views

Word to describe when, where or how privacy is kept, trust is maintained, and integrity matters

Here is a list of scenarios on why honest people would need privacy and anonymity. My marketing research tells me that the word "anonymity" is too closely related to hacking, and "privacy" reminds ...
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2answers
68 views

What images evoke the concept of “skin in the game”, commitment, investment, and accountability? [closed]

What would be a great picture to display (as a visual metaphor) to convey the idea of "skin in the game", commitment, investment, and accountability?
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3answers
138 views

Word for a result/achievement so exceptional that it is impossible?

I am looking for a word or phrase regarding something that is "impossible". I can't seem to put my finger on it, but I am trying to think of the word to describe something that is the top of the top, ...
4
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1answer
79 views

Moonlight raked the lawn

Years ago, I saw a discussion about a writer who had, allegedly without humorous intent, injected some surprising atmosphere into a story by saying that "moonlight raked the lawn". The contributors ...
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2answers
35 views

Are these the use of metaphor? [closed]

Metaphor is a deep thing, it's very hard to discern the presence of which. When I very learned the term. All I was is "no 'like or as'". Typically you say "is" to connect one thing to the other ...
1
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3answers
127 views

Is it still a metaphor if you say “if X was Y” first? [duplicate]

I was inspired to ask by the famous John Green quote: if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane Is this a metaphor? Without the "if people were rain" it would be, certainly, but ...
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2answers
88 views

Meaning: 'take on a macabre ring'

I've come across a confusing phrase. This former Belgian possession is the most Christian country in Africa, boasting the highest percentage of churches per head of population, with 65 percent of ...
3
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3answers
168 views

What's the “tumbleweed” in tumbleweed badge?

Well I just earned one :). According to the description it's awarded to a question which receives literally no attention in a week. (Snapshot below) So it led me to the notion that a "tumbleweed" ...
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1answer
146 views

What does “sift through the jargon” mean? [closed]

What does Mr. Richard Quest mean by "... so we'll sift through the jargon." in this video script? The number of billionaires in the world has more than doubled in the last five years. There's more ...
0
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1answer
164 views

What “Whisky Goggles” means?

Quote: The Whisky Goggles Effect There seems to be some evidence that Agile and Scrum can nudge the marginally incompetent into being marginally employable. I call this the Whisky Goggles ...
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3answers
217 views

(go) off the boil

"(go)off the boil" seems to mean "past the crisis" in British English. What is the origin/etymology of this expression? Is it used nowadays?
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3answers
242 views

(Metaphorical) meaning of “lowercase”

I am not sure about the following use of the term lowercase: Their approach is decidedly lowercase […] Through the lowercase abstinence and erasion lies an unfathomed vastness […] Context: ...
6
votes
2answers
323 views

What does “a Kosher ham” signify in the line, “Stone described himself as a kosher ham ready to go to the opening of door.”?

I found the article titled, How Jackie O played matchmaker to two of America’s greatest minds appearing in Vanity Fair (May 18) very interesting and informative, but am curious to know what the ...
16
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13answers
2k views

What is the English version of the Vietnamese idiom “như cá nằm trên thớt” - “like a fish on cutting board”

We have a Vietnamese idiom, "như cá nằm trên thớt" - literally, "like a fish on cutting board". My apology for the rough translation because I regard myself as an English learner who is above the ...
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4answers
346 views

What's a metaphor/expression for “confirmation”?

Example: I already knew about what she said. Her words were merely a [...]. I checked Thesaurus but none of the synonyms seem like a metaphor/expression. Maybe go ahead?
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3answers
559 views

What is the opposite of a catalyst?

A catalyst is a compound which allows a chemical reaction to occur without undergoing a chemical change itself. Thus it is not 'used up' when performing its function. Thus the word catalyst is a ...
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4answers
202 views

What does this sentence mean: “You watched his face crack open and your world shifted, …”?

quoted from: To Forget: The look on your son’s face when you accused him of taking fifty dollars out of your purse. You were so certain; nothing he said could sway you. You watched his face crack ...