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

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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20 views

Which preposition is correct in the sentence: “The values are stored on/in the text file” [closed]

I am here referring to the situation that some data is contained by a file on a computer. I guess that in this context "the file" must be regarded as a metaphor. My gut feeling is that "in" would be ...
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58 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 ...
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3answers
84 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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42 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 ...
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1answer
89 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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69 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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224 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: ...
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1answer
123 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 ...
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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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225 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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97 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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90 views

What is a good metaphor/ simile for your current relevant activity/ situation? [closed]

I am trying to come up with a metaphor/ simile/ descriptor for a relevant network of people depending on what you are doing (your 'activity'). Some descriptions that spring to mind are "Jungle" or ...
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4answers
122 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 ...
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1answer
53 views

Difference between a Metaphor and a Simile [duplicate]

I know a metaphor compares two similar things, like a ballerina glides like a swan and that a simile compares two unlike things, but I'm still not sure if the sentence, "The car guzzles fuel." would ...
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1answer
60 views

Can you be metaphorically abrasive to something?

I just made the statement: I’m abrasive to poetry. And I was told that it’s not grammatically correct. Does it make sense?
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1answer
85 views

meaning of carnival diver

Who knows what a carnival diver is? I heard it in the song "On a Tuesday in Amsterdam" by Counting Crows and I came across two references on the internet. What can it be?
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4k views

Single word for “pleasant to look at” [closed]

Consider: It is pleasant to look at. So pleasant that you do not want to let it wander out of your sight. What would be a word for pleasant to look at? Something that's pleasant to my ...
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2answers
371 views

Is 'empty chair', when used as a verb, literal or metaphorical?

The latest verb to have become all the rage in Britain is to empty chair. It arises from the failure of the political parties, so far, to reach agreement with the broadcasters on the structure of the ...
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1answer
66 views

Can 'He's kissed the Blarney stone' be used as a metaphor? [closed]

If someone has the gift of flattery, and is able to charm people with soft words, can one say, metaphorically, He's kissed the Blarney stone? Or does one literally have to have risked life and limb ...
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255 views

Physical object, carried be a person, that represents an encumbrance

I believe a word currently exists that is used as a metaphor to mean something similar to, "a person is (willingly?) carrying a physical object, but there is no benefit to carrying (or transporting) ...
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1answer
88 views

In the 2011 film “bad teacher”, there is an exchange between several characters [closed]

Squirrel: I am so excited we're gonna be across-the-hall mates. But I'm so sad… it's because your relationship ended. Elizabeth: Who are you again? Squirrel: Amy Squirrel. Elizabeth: ...
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857 views

Metaphors about death [closed]

What are some sayings or metaphors that would interact well with a massacre or calamity? for example "The crows feasted for days"
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1answer
79 views

“the esperanto of switches”

A user made a comment on my question here: O and I are the esperanto of switches: they're made for everyone, but only experts understand them. The definition of esperanto, according to ...
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1answer
41 views

Metaphor for activity like writing a text with much devotion and stressfully

I am looking for an interesting metaphor (well adapted if possible) to describe activities similar to writing an article in stressful conditions, but with much devotion. Such writing could then result ...
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Historical or literary examples of misguided or botched attempts to help that end up causing harm [duplicate]

I'm looking for examples from history, folklore, literature, movies, or pop culture, of situations in which a person or group attempted to do something helpful but, due to their own poor judgment, ...
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1answer
101 views

some days the pigeon, some days the statue [closed]

There is a common expression in english - "some days the pigeon, and some days the statue". The meaning is self explanatory- Certain days go really well, while other days are pathetic. Can you guys ...
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68 views

I'm looking for an antonym for eye opener [closed]

E.g: The movie is a real eye opener. The movie is a real ___________ .
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1k views

Why do so many groups of people (marketers, UX, finance) use a 'funnel' as a metaphor [closed]

The concept of a funnel is invariably used as an explanation of a flow where you start with a large base group of something (usually customers) and end up at the end with a much smaller subset that is ...
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2answers
124 views

Any other meaning in the word 'strip'? [closed]

Across the street somebody had delirium tremens in the front yard and a mixed quartet tore what was left of the night into small strips and did what they could to make the strips miserable. While ...
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1answer
131 views

Is this a metaphor? [closed]

Getting to know people personally is a whole new concept Concept here is used metaphorically right? If yes, why the word choice ' concept ' ? I believe it can also be used hyperbolically, but ...
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1answer
100 views

What is the word for when people use associative words for technical terms? [closed]

Examples: the word "canned" is used for multiple items within a list "breadcrumbs" is used for specifying a part of a webpage used for navigation on the site "bootstrap" is used for start up (an ...
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128 views

mixed metaphor - a matter of personal opinion? [duplicate]

The following sentence from The Great Gatsby strikes me as a mixed metaphor. The exhilarating ripple of her voice was a wild tonic in the rain. The author is thus calling her (Daisy's) voice ...
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63 views

Do metaphors tend to be an excuse for, or evidence of, imprecise thinking? [closed]

The power of a metaphor, I submit, is (i) the simplification of a complex idea, and/or (ii) some combination of representative elements that are meant to communicate an difficult meaning in a ...
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1answer
86 views

Is “Christmas for Bogans” a metaphor?

If someone describes Australia day as "Christmas for Bogans", would that be a metaphor? What stereotype is implied in this statement? The term bogan (/ˈboʊɡən/) is Australian and New Zealander ...
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4answers
350 views

Up Hill vs. Down Hill [duplicate]

The expression "It's all up hill from here!" and "It's all down hill from here!" mean that things will only get better or things will only get worst. Metaphorically going uphill can provide for a ...
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8answers
608 views

What's the corresponding term for the mouth?

To wear blinkers or blinders is used metaphorically to mean choosing deliberately not to see or ignore the truth; to wear ear plugs refers to one voluntarily choosing not to listen. How about the ...
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3answers
117 views

Are there any other Narcissus-like characters [closed]

Are there other Narcissus-like characters recorded in any mythology? To be more precise, I need a metaphor for an egoistic person who is in love with themself. I need a proper noun, the name of this ...
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951 views

What is a Metaphor for “Being Thrown Into a Completely New Environment” [closed]

I am trying to convey how I was thrown into a completely new environment in my essay. What would be a good metaphorical representation of that?
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1answer
97 views

Meaning of “seek out like water”

What does seek out like water mean in the following sentence? The epitaph contained a final message from Maynard, who expressed a note of deep thanks to all of her supporters, whom she "sought out ...
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2answers
265 views

Liquid Metaphors in the World of Finance

I want to use the terms in bold, to illustrate how these aquatic expressions can be used to a student of mine who is a trader. Obviously, I've exaggerated and greatly simplified the theme but I would ...
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2answers
374 views

Is 'sluttish time' a metaphor?

The phrase 'sluttish time' is used by Shakespeare in one of his sonnets. Can it be termed as a transferred epithet as the word 'sluttish' here seems to be an epithet(adjective) or is it essentially a ...
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98 views

What does “at their doorstop death” mean?

I read an article on Time, entitled: Liberal Group Blames Republicans for Ebola in New ad. “I think any Republican who attempts to chalk this ad up to politics is a Republican who is too afraid ...
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1answer
356 views

What's “nutty” about fruit and cake?

Funnily enough, food is often used metaphorically to describe someone's eccentricity or level of sanity. We have nuts Slang. a foolish, silly, or eccentric person. an insane person; ...
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3answers
9k views

Hard on the outside but soft on the inside (personality attribute)?

What is a single word (or idiom, or metaphor) that can be used to describe a person's personality that is "hard" or "tough" on the outside, but sensitive and soft on the inside? Something that says: ...
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2answers
581 views

Meaning of: “The trouble ain't that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain't distributed right”

This is a Mark Twain aphorism: The trouble ain't that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain't distributed right. This is apparently intended to be easily understood, but the ...
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1answer
507 views

What do the expressions “offshore”, “blind filing” and “operating at a total loss” mean?

In the 2014 film The Other Woman, there is an exchange between several characters: Carmela - Yay.- Mark's not just a cheating scumbag, he's also a thief. Look what I found. This is a list of all ...
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8answers
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Is there a metaphorical word or phrase for a potential trouble maker?

More specifically, someone who might open "undesirable doors" and fill you with profound regret for letting him/her into your life. The idiom I'm trying to find would be used in the following ...
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2answers
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What did Kate mean when she said: “(…)? Or did Big Pussy and Meadow miss you too much?”

In the 2014 film “The Other Woman”, there is an exchange between several characters Phil: Who's this? Carmela: I'm Carmela, Kate's decorator. Phil: Oh. Really? When did you fire ...
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3answers
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What does “ambush Prince Charming's wife” mean? [closed]

In the 2014 film “The Other Woman”, there is an exchange between several characters King Kate: So what do I do now? So I'm, now I'm Barb Melman? Barb Melman got divorced and now she has cheek ...