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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When did corruption, bribery, easy money start to be associated with rot, decay -hence death in English?

E.g. the expressions the rotten boroughs or pocket boroughs used in 19th century Britain to refer to undemocratic practices in the electoral system back then. Also, I'm looking for similar ...
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What is the word for when people use associative words for technical terms?

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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mixed metaphor - a matter of personal opinion?

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

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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66 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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68 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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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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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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620 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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46 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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103 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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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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Why is food crazy?

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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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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160 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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77 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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966 views

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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411 views

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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429 views

What does “ambush Prince Charming's wife” mean?

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 ...
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Single word for a person of few words [duplicate]

What is the single word for a person who expresses every emotion with a few or single word.
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86 views

A simile / metaphor for the concept that an entity is formed from a wide range of factors

I am trying to explain that health is not simply determined by biological factors. Instead it is shaped by a whole host of variables: lifestyle, education, culture, attitudes, socio-economic factors ...
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184 views

What does “A Gossip Girl in Sweet Valley with traveling pants” mean?

In the 2010 film Easy A, there is an exchange between several characters: Rhiannon: Aren't you supposed to be like, eternally in love with him, and shit? Olive Penderghast: Yes, I believe ...
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'Dim as dishwater', or 'dim as ditchwater'? [closed]

Is the normal expression 'as dim as dishwater' or 'as dim as ditchwater? When you google this it comes up as 'dull as dishwater/ditchwater'. There is a difference between being 'dim' and being ...
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111 views

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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“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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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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134 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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174 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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857 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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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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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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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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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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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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65 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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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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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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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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128 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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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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69 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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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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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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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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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 ...