I'm writing an essay about the amendments and how the situation is different now than when they were created and because of those changes, the amendments must also change to protect the citizen's rights and keep the laws.

For that, I need a simile/metaphor to describe constant change over time.

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    If you mean the US Constitution and its amendments, people say it's a living, breathing document. Commented Jan 1 at 22:53
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    Hello, hannah. Please note that serious linguists see all similes as a subset of metaphors, with certain formulaic forms (crazy like a fox, as bold as a lion ...). // There is actually a single word which means 'concerned with the way in which something, especially language, has developed and evolved through time' [Oxford Languages, given by Google]: diachronic. Commented Jan 2 at 0:13
  • Do you mean they need to be reworded for clarity (modernized)? Because the amendments are the "changes" (so to speak); e.g., 18th Amendment (Prohibition) and the 21st Amendment (Repeal of Prohibition). Commented Jan 2 at 7:06

3 Answers 3


A lovely metaphorical saying about the need to adapt to accommodate external changes is the following, accredited to Dolly Parton (amongst others):

  • We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.



No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man

This quote is attributed to the philosopher Heraclitus and emphasizes the constant change and flux of life.
Leinad Menelec; Words of Wisdom (2023)


You can identify things around you that change over time, and words that bring change to mind.

  1. It has been said that no battle plan survives contact with the enemy. If the Constitution is the battle plan for liberty, then its interpretation must change based on current experience.
  2. During the day we have natural sunlight; at night we use lamps and torches. As night follows day, we must apply the Constitution in a way suitable for each time period.
  3. The healthy don't need a doctor; those with a strong immune system need less treatment than the weak and feeble. In all cases, current circumstances are what matter most.

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