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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Similes and Metaphors - are similes a subset of metaphors?

I've always been taught that metaphors and similes both draw a parallel between two disparate ideas/thoughts/objects, but that a simile is a more explicit comparison using the word "like" or "is", ...
18
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8answers
7k views

Ripe with Opportunity? Or Rife?

The Grammarist says I should use rife with rather than ripe with. So far so good and I agree. But is there an exception for ripe with opportunity? Googlefight overwhelmingly prefers ripe, and I like ...
10
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2answers
2k views

“Thought is a thread, and the raconteur is a spinner of yarns"

“Thought is a thread, and the raconteur is a spinner of yarns" What does this metaphor mean and what is the origin? I know it is an ancient one, but couldn't find anything else! Is it obsolete now?
6
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2answers
2k views

Word for giving animal characteristics (esp. physical ones) to humans

I am writing a paper about Art Spiegelman's Maus, specifically the metaphor that Spiegelman creates by depicting his obviously quite human characters with the heads of various animals, or a couple ...
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9answers
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Is there a word or phrase for something that one might wish exists, but most certainly doesn't?

An example might be a car that is fast, luxurious, reliable, gets great gas mileage, and is very cheap. Clearly we'd all love to own such a car, but it doesn't exist, and probably never will. There's ...
17
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2answers
2k views

How did kool-aid come to be the drink of fanboys?

Why does Kool-Aid relate to being something's fanboy/fangirl?
12
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1answer
674 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; psychotic....
6
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10answers
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Phrase for something that is always out or reach/you almost have but never can get

I believe there is a two-word phrase for something that is always just out of reach for you and which you cannot ever seem to get. (It is not Tantalus or anything having to do with Tantalus, please). ...
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2answers
286 views

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 ...
2
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3answers
6k views

“Steamroller” to describe a person as very determined

Can "steamroller" be used to describe a person like in the following sentence? He is like a steamroller; nothing will stop him from getting work done. Or are there any other meanings to the word ...
30
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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 ...
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6answers
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What is the metaphoric meaning of silo?

Process-oriented organizations break down the barriers of structural departments and try to avoid functional silos. I was wondering what silo means here? Is it a metaphor?
8
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4answers
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What does “Sautéed” mean in “Someone who has not sautéed in a subject”?

Maureen Dowd article titled, “Neocons Slither Back” in September 15 New York Times begins with the following sentence: “Paul Ryan has not sautéed in foreign policy in his years on Capitol Hill. ...
6
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2answers
35k views

Is there a fine line between symbolism and metaphors in literature?

Assume we have a literary masterpiece that is abundant in symbolism and metaphors. Within this masterpiece, the author uses a brook running through a glade of trees to represent a couple of things ...
17
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13answers
5k views

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?
16
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4answers
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“Let's burn that bridge when we come to it” – is this sort of idiom mixing considered a pun, and if so, does it have a specific name?

I couldn't come up with a short title, but the upside is that there is not much needed to be said in the body of the question! For @dmr (and others), it mixes “let's cross that bridge when we come ...
15
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3answers
5k 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 nature....
13
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10answers
4k views

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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2answers
1k views

Is this passage an example of a metaphor, analogy, or both?

"The movement of humanity, arising as it does from innumerable arbitrary human wills, is continuous. To understand the laws of this continuous movement is the aim of history. . . . Only by ...
3
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3answers
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Is “he runs like a cheetah” a kind of metaphor?

To make a metaphor about somebody's running speed, should we say "he is a cheetah" or "he runs like a cheetah"? Why?
3
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2answers
625 views

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 ...
2
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0answers
350 views

'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 'dull'...
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3answers
1k views

Metaphor for an important discovery

"Joe Blogg's Damascus" can be used as a metaphor to denote a sudden turning point in attitude, behaviour or some other feature of Joe Blogg's life. What would be a similar metaphor for an important ...
2
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2answers
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What does it mean 'to shoot oneself in the foot'?

In the First World War soldiers in the trenches on both sides would sometimes give themselves a non-fatal wound ( intentionally shooting themselves in the foot, whilst making it appear as an accident, ...
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2answers
241 views

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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2answers
77 views

Can the following sentence be literal (or is it a metaphor)

I have the following sentence which I thought was implying that a metaphor is like a moustache Today I learnt how to wax a metaphor Having checked through wiktionary the only literal (i.e. ...
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2answers
708 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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3answers
2k views

Where to use the word “tumbleweed”

What is the correct place to use the word tumbleweed? Can we use it as a metaphor for a person who always irritates us?
0
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2answers
408 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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3answers
82 views

Metaphorical use of “the cockpit” [closed]

What is the metaphorical meaning of cockpit in the following sentence? “The cockpit of this fought was the Senate of the US” (Profiles in courage by John F. Kennedy)