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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Who were the 'pros from Dover'?

I was reading Rainbow Six by Tom Clancy this morning, and he compares his characters to the 'pros from Dover'. This was a phrase that I also remember hearing in the movie M*A*S*H - so it seems to be ...
6
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4answers
3k views

What is the origin and meaning of “coyote ugly”?

I overheard two scoundrels discussing one of their dates as being "coyote ugly".
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7answers
77k views

The difference between an analogy and a metaphor?

Many a time I've asked what the difference is between an analogy and a metaphor. I've asked it to my teacher, on internet sites, to my parents, so on and so forth. I got a different answer every time, ...
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2answers
44 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?
4
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0answers
42 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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0answers
50 views

How correct is it to use a word by its definition, when such definition was coined upon its metaphor usage?

I was reading some online forum where people tend to shape the words differently, according to what they need, instead of properly researching about words before using them. I came across the phrase ...
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4answers
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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 ...
4
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1answer
111 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
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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
16k 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 ...
2
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6answers
187 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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3answers
3k views

Why can humour be dry but not wet?

Humour that is presented in a matter of fact way, as it weren't even an attempt to be funny, can be described as dry. And any sort of writing or information can be dry if it's overly factual in ...
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2answers
334 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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4answers
200 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
74 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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2answers
71 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
108 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
44 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
84 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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1answer
57 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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3answers
2k 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 ...
4
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2answers
478 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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2answers
277 views

Does “Should I wash my hands of this?” suggest a bribe?

Should I wash my hands of this? Has this expression ever been used as a way of suggesting a bribe?
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14answers
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
314 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
62 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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2answers
244 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
84 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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2answers
625 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
76 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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13answers
1k views

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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3answers
1k views

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 ...
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1answer
38 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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1answer
331 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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1answer
73 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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0answers
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10
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2answers
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Origin of “to have a cow”

The phrase "to have a cow" is defined as "to be very worried, upset, or angry about something" in Free Dictionary Online. Other sources also define it to mean to react very strongly and emotionally. ...
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2answers
86 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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2answers
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
460 views

What metaphor can I use for a collection of notes/facts?

I'm trying to come up with a metaphor that represents a collection of facts/notes around one thing. I've tried "deck" and "notebook" but they don't really work. Any ideas?
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1answer
114 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 ...
2
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3answers
112 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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1answer
96 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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1answer
54 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 ...
0
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3answers
114 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
85 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 ...
2
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4answers
275 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 ...
4
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8answers
594 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 ...
2
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3answers
635 views

Look who's talking

English isn’t my main language, so maybe this isn’t a tough one. Is there a metaphor to say “he’s talking about this deed as a wrong one but he certainly does it too’? In Spanish, you could say ...
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23answers
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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 ...