Is there a difference between the words "metaphoric" and "metaphorical"? I'm reading an essay in which "metaphoric" is used. But that sounded a little odd to me. "Metaphorical" sounds better. They're both in the dictionary.

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    There's no difference in meaning. That means it's speaker's choice. I.e, you should use the one that sounds better to you in any given context. Different choice each time, as the context changes. It's an awesome responsibility to exercise such decision-making, but that's language for you. No real general rules for anything. – John Lawler Aug 7 '15 at 19:10

There is no difference between metaphoric and metaphorical, but you are right, metaphorical is more commonly used.

This ngram graphs the use of metaphoric and metaphorical in English-language books published in the 20th century.

  • Some writers will always favor it for its brevity, but metaphorical prevails for now.
    • They seem to be used quite interchangeably.


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