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 '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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72 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 ...
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Are these the use of metaphor?

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 ...
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57 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 ...
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74 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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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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59 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
86 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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6answers
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 ...
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6answers
203 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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226 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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47 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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91 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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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
80k 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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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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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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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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229 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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99 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
92 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
123 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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55 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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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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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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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 ...
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588 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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295 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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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
380 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
67 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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256 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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89 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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875 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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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
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 ...
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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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360 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
104 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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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
129 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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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
477 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
132 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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3answers
118 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
101 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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64 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 ...