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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What do you call a word that's been used unusually (not according to definition)?

For example, when you say: They smelt music or He forged a meaning out of it According to dictionary definitions, the word choices in the above sentences might not fit. The usage is more ...
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1answer
44 views

Is “teeming brain” a metaphor? [closed]

I am working about the figuritive language in Keats sonnet "when I have fears". Is "teeming brain" in line two a metaphor? I'm struggling to understand because English is my second language. Here is ...
1
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1answer
82 views

Ember or coal metaphor regarding love

In Russian, ember is used as a metaphor of something fading or dying (for example, love). Likewise, "to make the ember burn again" is a metaphor for bringing something back from near death. Is there a ...
2
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1answer
68 views

Use of “purdah” metaphorically: appropriateness

When I was a kid, the word "purdah" was regularly used in the UK metaphorically to mean a (usually voluntary) screening or separation. For example, the chancellor had a period of pre-budget purdah. ...
9
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3answers
578 views

“light at the end of the tunnel” earliest occurence

I could ask this question on German.SE and probably a number of different indoeuropean SE sites as well, but here's my question: When looking at various online resources the metaphor "to see light at ...
0
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2answers
50 views

Is it a Metaphor? [closed]

This quote from the movie The Shawshank Redemption: Some birds are not meant to be caged, that's all. Their feathers are too bright, their songs too sweet and wild. So you let them go, or when you ...
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2answers
35 views

patenting a new word [closed]

I have made a new word and I believe it may stand chance to get entered into English dictionary. What should I do to have it completed? Yours truly, Igor
1
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2answers
105 views

A powerful idiom for “low exposure” [closed]

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? ...
17
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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 ...
0
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1answer
46 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
votes
4answers
73 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.
1
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4answers
197 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 ...
6
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6answers
180 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 ...
0
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2answers
53 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
338 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...
1
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2answers
133 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 ...
0
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0answers
24 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?
1
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0answers
51 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 ...
1
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2answers
71 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
46 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?
3
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4answers
129 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. ...
0
votes
8answers
140 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
94 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
78 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?
0
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2answers
31 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 ...
1
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1answer
54 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 ...
0
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0answers
31 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
4
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2answers
149 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 ...
4
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2answers
273 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 ...
2
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1answer
128 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.
6
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2answers
2k 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 ...
1
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2answers
65 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
356 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
81 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
342 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 ...
0
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0answers
43 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; ...
7
votes
2answers
1k 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
115 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 ...
0
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1answer
402 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, ...
0
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3answers
281 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 ...
0
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2answers
81 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?
0
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3answers
152 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
votes
1answer
80 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 ...
0
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2answers
40 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
148 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
100 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
315 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
163 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 ...
1
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1answer
211 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 ...