A metaphor is a literary figure of speech that uses an image, story or tangible object to represent a less tangible object or some intangible quality or idea; e.g., "Her eyes were glistening jewels."

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Can a person have a “dextrous mind”?

Can we say that a man has a dextrous mind? This would mean that he has a highly skilled brain which is capable of excelling at a certain mental activity, or that he as an individual is capable of ...
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A “Frankenstein's monster” similar metaphors

Although originally it's a novel character, a "Frankenstein's monster" became a metaphor for "something that cannot be controlled and that attacks or destroys the person who invented it." However, are ...
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718 views

“Pandora's Box” metaphors

The majority of definitions give the same meaning - "Pandora's box" is a synonym for "a source of extensive but unforeseen troubles or problems." Are there any other metaphors with the same meaning?
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66 views

Which concept in physics is closest to the general concept of power?

The general concept of power, as in social and political power, but also as in "power levels", is very different from the concept of power in physics (where it refers to the rate of doing work). Since ...
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1answer
106 views

What's the meaning of “Bueller” as a joke? [closed]

Somewhere on the internet I've read about a guy ordering a coffee in the name of "Bueller". Apparently, the cashier called out that name repeatedly. I've looked up the term but it gave me no clue as ...
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Metaphors similar to “Trojan Horse”

I'm looking for metaphors (non-jocular) with the same meaning as "Trojan Horse" - "A person or thing intended to undermine or destroy from within."
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1answer
69 views

i feel over-above-on the moon metaphor

I feel over the moon. I feel above the moon. I feel on the moon. What's the difference between the three sentences above and what I should prefer to express an ecstatic sense?
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What's the metaphorical meaning of “Tone-deaf”?

I understand the literal meaning of "Tone-deaf". As Wiktionary puts it: Unable to clearly distinguish the difference in pitch between different notes. But what's the metaphorical meaning? As ...
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8answers
789 views

A metaphor for “ricochet back”

Is there a metaphor or a single word for "When you throw a rubber ball into a wall and it bounces back and hits you." Something like boomerang, but unexpected and with negative connotation.
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136 views

Has a dead metaphor ceased to be a metaphor?

In its simplest sense, a metaphor is a figure of speech where, essentially, a simile is ellipted to what is apparently a false statement, but as the intention is to emphasise the similarity rather ...
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2answers
69 views

Pronoun with metaphor

Which pronoun do we use when referring to something metaphorically rather than directly? Todd Leopold, et al., May 28, 2014 writing on CNN: A literary voice revered globally for her poetic ...
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13answers
3k views

What metaphor or phrase can describe an object that is aesthetically pleasing yet totally useless?

Is there a conventional metaphor or phrase that just hits this meaning:good-looking yet useless?
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123 views

A phrase for something that is beyond our reach or unattainable [closed]

“Sir Francis Chichester was knighted by the queen. But for his other circumnavigating counterparts, a knighthood is beyond reach...” What is an alternative term for beyond reach?
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73 views

Should I wash my hands of this?

Should I wash my hands of this? Has this expression ever been used as a way of suggesting a bribe?
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1answer
49 views

Is William Blake's usage of “to break a net” idiomatic or metaphorical?

The following passage is from William Blake's 1793 work "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell": A man carried a monkey about for a shew, & because he was a little wiser than the monkey, grew vain, ...
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2answers
162 views

What does “sheafs” mean in “The rays cut straight sheafs”?

This sentence is from Atlas Shrugged, depicting rays of light running through coils of steam enveloping a building: The rays of a few strong lights cut straight sheafs through the coils. Could ...
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3answers
871 views

What is the word to describe something that has hidden meaning?

I'm writing an essay (yay) on I'm the King of the Castle, by Susan Hill. I am trying to explain how the description of the atmosphere may have hidden meanings (e.g. the fact that Warings is a ...
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10answers
900 views

Something of value that is worthless in the current context?

Is there a word/metaphor/idiom for something that has value, but is worthless (or even harmful) in the current situation? To use a couple of monetary examples: A check for $1,000,000 has potential ...
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2answers
72 views

Can we use “remain in the dark” in metaphorical sense?

I think, we can use "remain in the dark" when we communicate that we don't have light and are kept being in the dark actually. But, can we use the phrase as metaphor in the academic paper? For ...
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Are there metaphoric English expressions meaning “keeping composure at a fatal moment, never panicky”?

We have a Japanese old saying, “俎板の上の鯉-manaita no ueno koi, a carp laid on a chopping block” for describing (1) a critical situation you cannot avoid, and (2) a person who is self-poised at such a ...
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Understanding grammatical structure of a sentence using commas

I couldn't understand the use of commas in the second sentence in the following passage and the overall meaning of it. This doubt and the still-harsh tyranny of the materialistic philosophy ...
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1answer
103 views

Need clarification about some metaphors/slangs used by a girl I met online [closed]

Hi I was talking to this girl online and she uses lots of metaphors and slangs out of which few of them just gone over my head so I would appreciate if you guys could help me out understanding the ...
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1answer
57 views

Are these hyperboles? [closed]

I have to write a diary entry in the perspective of Romeo about Juliet. We just finished act 1. so are any of these hyperboles ? When she walks outside, nature stops for a second to admire her ...
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4answers
364 views

What is the part of the iceberg that is not the tip called?

I was explaining that something is the "tip of the iceberg". I then wanted to explain what the other bit of the iceberg consisted of. What's the bit of the iceberg that is not the tip? Or should I ...
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2answers
160 views

Is it alright to mix metaphors?

An old Norfolk character I knew, used to say: 'Tha's no use you a-putten yar foot down, if you hearnt got a leg to stand on'. In English, that is: 'It's no good putting your foot down if you haven't a ...
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3answers
139 views

An analogy to describe an individual who merges traits he finds from others in order to develop his own identity? [closed]

I am writing a research paper in which my thesis concerns how a character matures through his merging of characteristic traits in his relationships with other characters. How can I introduce this ...
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1answer
135 views

Why is it “From Dublin to Los Angeles” in the Western world, that has left the church moribund in 20 century culture wars?

In connection with my previous question about the meaning of “the Church’s existential problem”, there was the following sentence in the same article of Time Magazine (December 11, 2013) — “Pope ...
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Inanimate life companion

This is gonna be pretty vague, but hopefully by listing examples, someone will understand what I'm grasping for. I'm searching for a metaphor to describe a tool, weapon, vehicle, set of techniques, ...
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0answers
91 views

Does this translation make sense? [closed]

I'm trying to translate a piece of my poem which is in Persian into English. I've so far come up with this: And what you see is a bewildering reflection of shadows, leaving the light lost on its ...
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1answer
179 views

Is “to have a perfect ear for music” a metaphor or a metonymy?

This phrase seems to be a metaphor to me, however I guess you could say "ear" might be referring to a concept of being able to make music well. Would you say it's a metaphor or metonymy?
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225 views

metaphor of “lily” and the meaning of “emerging from the mire”

I ran into this: "And you, Madame Lucrezia, flower of the Borgias, if a poet painted you as the catholic Messalina, a skeptical Gregorovious turned up and almost completely absolved you of that ...
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1answer
60 views

Metaphoric meaning of “racket”

How does the original meaning of racket lead to the following metaphoric meanings? an illegal or dishonest scheme for obtaining money a person’s line of business or way of life
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102 views

How would you characterize the phrase 'a more perfect union'? [closed]

My question pertains to the usage of 'a more perfect union' in its original context-- the preamble to the U.S. Constitution. I want to say that this is a metaphor, because the authors are using the ...
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What is the best way to describe someone who is very social in a party?

If a person is very social in a party, striking up conversations with different people from one end of the hall to the other end, are there some good expressions to describe this person? In Chinese, ...
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1answer
118 views

“Advice I wish I'd had ears to hear” — is this phrase in common use? Origins?

Productivity writer Merlin Mann often uses the phrase "ears to hear" on his podcast. An example from his writing: "a discursive mishmash of advice I wish I'd had the ears to hear in the year or ...
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1answer
72 views

Categorization of figures of speech

Is there a clear categorization of tropes? Some talk of the four master tropes (Metaphor, Synecdoche, Metonymy, Irony), Whereas some give An extended, unsorted list of tropes Some talk about the ...
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535 views

Using “might as well have been” in analogies

I've seen this phrase in many literary works. Does it have the same purpose as like, as if, and as though (in the context of similes/metaphors)? For example: She might as well have been a skinny ...
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1answer
131 views

“…Batman is the personality-shelf where Bruce Wayne stores the crazy-plates…” - is this just a metaphor, or is it something else?

In this article on Cracked.com, I discovered this gem of a phrase: ...Batman is the personality-shelf where Bruce Wayne stores the crazy-plates... ...and I thought it was a fantastic phrase. ...
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2answers
484 views

What does it mean 'to shoot oneself in the foot'?

In the First World War soldiers in the trenches on both sides would sometimes give themselves a non-fatal wound ( intentionally shooting themselves in the foot, whilst making it appear as an accident, ...
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1answer
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Someone just told me that my business website structure should be “well-siloed”… what does that mean. [closed]

I know they're referencing a silo but i'm not understanding how it correlates/translates to business structure and presentation. are they talking about the function of the silo?
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720 views

Meaning of a mixed metaphor from “The Gift of The Magi”?

This is from The Gift of The Magi by O Henry (William Sydney Porter). Oh, and the next two hours tripped by on rosy wings. Forget the hashed metaphor. (part 4, paragraph 5 in the reference ...
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1answer
675 views

What is the origin & meaning of “It used to drive me spare”? [duplicate]

While watching the eponymous documentary on Stephen Hawking, his wife described her husband's behaviour when he was deep in thought. She said he could be surrounded by children and not even notice ...
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3answers
185 views

What does “Eat Lunch or be lunch” mean in this context?

I came across this phrase: The problem facing companies today is that there are too many fishermen and not enough fish in the market. It’s a matter of eat lunch or be lunch — or, as stated by ...
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5answers
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Baseball metaphor, equivalent to 'lay your body on the line'

The English expression 'you need to be prepared to lay your body on the line' is a football metaphor, referring to the potentially painful act of lying down on the goal line to prevent a goal being ...
2
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1answer
175 views

Local color / color commentary

What are the origin and history of the phrases "local color" and "color commentary"? There is a tiny bit in the dictionaries about this use of color to mean 'additional detail and anecdotes' but not ...
2
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1answer
185 views

Can I use less-common technical terms metaphorically?

Can any technical term be used metaphorically? For instance, can I use the word assimilable which means capable of being absorbed and incorporated into body tissue (because it's broken down into a ...
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690 views

“Thought is a thread, and the raconteur is a spinner of yarns"

“Thought is a thread, and the raconteur is a spinner of yarns" What does this metaphor mean and what is the origin? I know it is an ancient one, but couldn't find anything else! Is it obsolete ...
2
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2answers
173 views

What is a “Victorian audience”?

So I came across a sentence while reading the book On The Map: His[Eratosthenes’] world map was drawn in about 194 BC. No contemporary version exists, but the cartographer’s descriptions were ...
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What does “sock puppeting” mean?

I found a Meta Stack Overflow post in whose answer Servy says: it's sock puppeting and is a very serious violation "Sock puppeting" is a picture. But why a sock? Is it like playing with your own ...
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Finance metaphors for relationships [closed]

I've recently read that there are quite a few metaphors describing relationships between humans that are taken from the financial sector. However, examples were very scarce. On my list I have ...