Would this expression be considered a metaphor?

I'm always watching you through a keyhole

It's a lyric, in the context of longing for someone or something that seems unattainable.

It's from the song “Dilettante”, by St. Vincent; the preceding lyrics are "you're like a party I heard through a wall; invite me."

  • 1
    It could be used as a metaphor. It's not an idiom and does not have an established meaning.
    – Hot Licks
    Oct 13, 2017 at 19:12
  • It's from an existing song, preceded by the lyrics "you're like a party I heard through a wall; invite me."
    – Matthew L
    Oct 14, 2017 at 0:22

2 Answers 2


It's a metaphor rather than a simile (similes normally use words like "like" or "as" to indicate the comparison.)

There are several meanings possible (probably intentionally.) It could mean "I'm spying on you," if "always" is taken literally. I could mean "I'm not seeing enough of you," if "always" is taken plaintively (although for this the phrase: "I'm always watching you as through a keyhole," may be better). The first meaning seems more likely.


Yes, this is a metaphor. It is saying one thing is something else to tell you more about its nature.

Perhaps the singer means the distance in their relationship with the subject feels like being physically locked away from them.

Unless the singer is literally watching the subject of this lyric through a keyhole. That seems unlikely. The rest of the lyrics probably clear that up.

But even then, that situation would not be a metaphor within the context of the narrative, but the narrative itself would be a grand metaphor for that type of relationship.

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