For the best part of a week, the Suez canal was blocked by a 200,000­tonne metaphor.The Ever Given is not just one of the world’s biggest container ships, it is also the emblem of a backlash that accuses globalisation of going too far. Since the early 1990s supply chains have been run to maximise efficiency. Firms have sought to specialise and to concentrate particular tasks in places that offer economies of scale. Now, however, there are growing worries that, like a ship which is too big to steer, supply chains have become a source of vulnerability.

As far as I know, metaphor is a figure of speech that is used to make a comparision between two things that aren't alike but do have something in common.But it seems like a name of ship in this sentence. Thank you for your help.

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    A link to the article would be needed IMO. I would ~infer~ that the use of the word was a rhetorical hook to intrigue the reader to continue on to learn what the author saw metaphorically in the circumstance
    – Tom22
    Apr 8, 2021 at 0:41
  • It sounds like your first line is a quote - can you give us the context? I suspect someone is saying the ship is a metaphor for some problem but we will need more information to tell what it is.
    – Dragonel
    Apr 8, 2021 at 0:41
  • I would guess that the implication is that the ship has been used as a metaphor of such things as the US Senate filibuster, Senator Mitch McConnell, getting insurance companies to pay claims, etc.
    – Hot Licks
    Apr 8, 2021 at 0:48
  • The first paragraph is actully extracted from the latest The Economist's leader section Message in a bottleneck.
    – Chason
    Apr 8, 2021 at 0:50
  • @Tom22 economist.com/leaders/2021/03/31/…
    – Chason
    Apr 8, 2021 at 0:54

1 Answer 1


"Metaphor" here appears to be used as a metonymy, where the ship itself is not a metaphor, but used as a shorthand for all the metaphorical usages of it and its situation to represent globalisation's and efficiency's flaws.

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