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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6
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857 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 ...
2
votes
6answers
225 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
56 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
67 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, ...
1
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2answers
66 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
744 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 ...
3
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7answers
10k views

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 ...
-1
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0answers
45 views

Is there any other way of the expression on this phrase? His breathing was becoming less labored

Or, "Eventually, the old guinea pig was unable to move and her breathing was labored." I am looking for other way of saying in an exactly same meaning.
17
votes
7answers
86k 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, ...
0
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3answers
115 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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4answers
19k views

Another way to say “fulfill your dream”

What's another phrase or metaphor that means "to fulfill your dream" or "make your dreams a reality?"
-1
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4answers
441 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 ...
0
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2answers
28 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?
3
votes
6answers
25k 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 ...
0
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3answers
103 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
75 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
26 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
73 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
66 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
votes
3answers
97 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" ...
8
votes
3answers
230 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: ...
-2
votes
1answer
68 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
106 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 ...
6
votes
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".
6
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4answers
7k views

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 ...
5
votes
1answer
147 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 ...
16
votes
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 ...
15
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
0
votes
4answers
260 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?
0
votes
3answers
174 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 ...
1
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2answers
143 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 ...
1
vote
4answers
159 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
70 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
88 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?
-1
votes
1answer
72 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?
3
votes
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
votes
2answers
688 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
314 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?
10
votes
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 ...
2
votes
2answers
488 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
69 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
285 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) ...
1
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1answer
99 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: ...
0
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2answers
1k 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"
1
vote
1answer
84 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 ...
9
votes
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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votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
42 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
398 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; ...