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Questions tagged [metaphors]

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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What is a good metaphor/analogy/idiom espousing the virtues of “developing something gradually over time”?

My question specifically relates to learning a new skill. Which could be used in the following example: An aspiring athlete trains for an hour each day without feeling like she is making much ...
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1answer
42 views

Does “expecting” mean “pregnant” exactly?

The term expecting is often used as if it means "pregnant", as shown by Merriam-Webster (for the verb expect) 3 : to be pregnant : await the birth of one's child —used in progressive tenses she's ...
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1answer
32 views

Metaphor or Simile?

Is this a metaphor or simile? You'll get kicked out of the Saloon faster than a card shark can shuffle.
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34 views

What's the word for “expressing something completely unfamiliar in familiar terms”?

When a speaker is trying to express something that does not have the right representation is his language or even environment, they use something resembling an analogy or a metaphor. For example, ...
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0answers
12 views

Not anthropomorphizing but

If anthropomorphizing gives objects human traits, what word would be used for when we give a thing the traits of another, for example calling an internet connection a gateway, or the main system a ...
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0answers
22 views

Metaphors on personality traits [duplicate]

What are some metaphors to describe a person high in neuroticism i.e one who gets overly stressed and anxious easily at work and also very sensitive
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4answers
34 views

Is “The Infinite” a metaphor that can refer to God?

First, I am not entirely sure this can be viewed as a metaphor, but I feel this is an edge case, because like the "Absolute" it refers to a quality of God, but "Infinite" even if it's a quality of God,...
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2answers
37 views

What is a metaphor for easily offended people [closed]

I'm writing a rant and need to include metaphors, my rant is about easily offended, people. Lay your knowledge on me, please!!! It needs to be a metaphor and not just a saying or phrase. An example ...
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3answers
294 views

Are analogies and metaphors both forms of comparison, with analogies being analytical thinking and metaphors being creative or lateral thinking?

Apologies for this one (I know it's been discussed quite a lot) but I've read quite a few of the responses on the difference between an analogy and a metaphor and just wanted to make sure I was on the ...
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1answer
55 views

“hold on I'll put you through” or “hang on I'll put you through”

Hello, this is Melanie Brown from Central Bank. Can I speak to Mr. Clark? Please (hold on / hang on) I'll put you through. Which one - hold on or hang on - is the more appropriate, frequently ...
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3answers
115 views

Opposite of “granular”

What is the opposite of "granular" in the following usage? granularity The level of detail considered in a model or decision making process. The greater the granularity, the deeper the ...
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2answers
59 views

Can text be monotone?

Someone said to me, "Your text is monotone in fashion" and I just simply can't wrap my mind around this statement. If I am wrong, that is okay. Assume it's a metaphor, can this make any sense?
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69 views

Term for when people lack the experience or knowledge to understand a metaphor?

A few years back I stumbled upon a term that illuminated my understanding of why some metaphors fall flat. I have waded through the muddy waters of the Internet and have no seen neither hide nor hair ...
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4answers
389 views

How to describe a person who has many faces inside him [closed]

I need a phrase to describe a person who has many faces such as good, bad, pure soul, kind but also evil. A person who can't be judged or categorised.
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2answers
183 views

What is the idiom “…and roses”

What is the idiom meaning not everything will be perfect, which ends "it's not all....and roses" ?
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1answer
70 views

Is a sentence with two literal meanings a metaphor?

Yesterday, the Twitter user @TomLarkinSky tweeted: Metaphor alert: there’s currently no power in the room at No 10 where the PM is going to make her speech. Might delay things a bit. Is this a ...
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2answers
110 views

What are alternatives or metaphors for the idiom of discovering a “gold mine”?

The context I am writing in is along the lines of: When we can identify and appreciate our emotions, we are able to carefully engage both emotion and cognition in the decision making process which ...
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2answers
216 views

What is the negative meaning of blank check?

I am familiar with the meaning of blank check as in carte blanche. Receiving a blank check, in this context, is quite a good thing for the recipient (though perhaps not for the issuer). In a ...
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1answer
123 views

Is this a simile and is this a metaphor?

The sentence is: To live on this farm is to live in the sky and the grass as well as the house. Is "as well as the house" a simile or is it just saying something similar to "including the house"? ...
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1answer
48 views

What does this quote from “The adventures of Sherlock Holmes” mean? [closed]

A man should keep his little brain attic stocked with all the furniture that he is likely to use, and the rest he can put away in the lumber-room of his library, where he can get it if he wants it. ...
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3answers
165 views

Metaphor for conflict of interest

I'd like a metaphor/allegory which depicts a situation where one is compelled to not act. As an example (of such a situation), a company CEO, surrounded by and probably partial towards protecting ...
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1answer
72 views

What does “to be a fixture” mean?

In Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Hound of Baskervilles" I've run into an idiom I still cannot quite wrap my head around. In the course of a discussion with Dr. Watson, Sherlock Holmes says: There is a ...
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2answers
66 views

A metaphor or easy way to say “definitely produce”

I'm having trouble with a noun or metaphor that has the connotation of "definitely produce without exception." Below is the context. "Note that the tendency to imbue the world with purposes per se ...
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4answers
138 views

Can breathing be “uneven”? [closed]

I hope this is a valid question to ask. I wondered about the different expressions one can use for heavy or unstable breathing. Rather than being heavy breathing from exercising, it's heavy, laboured ...
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1answer
150 views

Catchy phrase: looking at something from several different perspectives

What is the catchy phrase or an aphorism, or a buzzword, or an idiom with the meaning of looking at something from several different perspectives? In particular, I am looking for something that is ...
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2answers
97 views

What does “vibrating string” refer to?

I am studying to take the TOEFL exam, which I need to pass if I have any hope of a job promotion. The problem I encountered is the following. The TOEFL textbook gives me the following example. (It is ...
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2answers
227 views

Metaphor / Analogy for something that has both many ancestors and many offspring?

By ancestors, I mean entities and things that affected it and what it is. By offspring, I mean the opposite - things that it affected and molded. I thought of "spiderweb," but this would be referring ...
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41 views

Is this a mixed metaphor: 'That initial resentment POISONED our relationship and then GREW with every perceived slight'? [closed]

If so, what would be a better way to phrase that sentence? I don't think "spread" is the right word.
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175 views

What is the meaning of “Fly pleasures, and they’ll follow you”?

On Page 287 of the 1758 version of Poor Richard's Almanac, we find this paragraph: Methinks I hear some of you say, Must a Man afford himself no Leisure? ---- I will tell thee, my Friend, what Poor ...
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1answer
588 views

Alternative phrase for “breaking the glass ceiling”

I’d like to say something like: The prominence of IT has led to significant job creation while also helping migrants break the glass ceiling. Topic is on migrants and IT. Particularly, those from ...
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1answer
194 views

Origin of “dog(ging) it”?

The American Heritage Dictionary defines "dog it" as: Do less than is required; loaf or shirk. For example, I'm afraid our donors are dogging it this year. This expression originated in sports ...
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7answers
345 views

What is a metaphor for something that seems simple or straightforward but is actually complex or has many considerations involved?

For work I'm writing about a product that on the outside seems simple but has many factors. We are manufacturers of this product and want to sell customers on the idea that we take care of the complex ...
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0answers
300 views

Analogy in and of itself (not metaphor or simile)

In the accepted answer to: The difference between an analogy and a metaphor? an insightful conclusion was reached that the analogy is what is expressed and the metaphor/simile are how it is expressed. ...
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151 views

Mind is a fire not a vessel [closed]

"Mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled." What does this mean?
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1answer
36 views

rook-haunted as applied to an interior room

In the book I’m reading the author writes: The Russian clergy had little in common with the Anglican curates and bishops in whose paneled libraries and rook-haunted chambers James passed some ...
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2answers
120 views

Omission of 'like' in a comparison

I started reading the Neuromancer and I'm facing a difficulty, especially in the following excerpt: Ratz was tending bar, his prosthetic arm jerking monotonously as he filled a tray of glasses with ...
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1answer
102 views

Do metaphorical agents follow special rules?

While I can easily parse this sentence, something feels grammatically incorrect and I can't figure out what rule would make it right or wrong. "Fatigue from traveling had him in bed by midnight." ...
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3answers
111 views

What does “The thumb-nail, curled up on itself in the womb…” mean?

The thumb-nail, curled up on itself in the womb, feels fear The speaker is trying to convince his listeners that fear is more primal than any other emotions and feelings. Why did he use thumb-nail ...
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525 views

Having little green kittens about something [closed]

I was very surprised when I first came across this saying. Using google I've found a total of two instances of it, and dictionaries or ngram come up empty. My wife is having little green kittens ...
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2answers
276 views

What does it mean to “crash up the gears”?

What does the phrase in capital letters means in this context? Stress is a survival mechanism. When danger appears, it can get you out of trouble quickly. Your body CRASHES UP THE GEARS and ...
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2answers
402 views

“…the Black Camel will kneel at your door” is a reference to time of death. What is the origin of this metaphor?

I was reading the "Life-Line" by Robert Heinlein. His writing is beautifully decorated with allegories and metaphors and it is pretty obvious to me that he refers kneeling of black camel to imply the ...
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2answers
1k views

What does “showing as much interest as a bee shows in vinegar cruet” mean?

There is a line in the short story, A Thousand Dollars, where one of the characters is described in the statement above. My first thought was that it meant that the character was showing no interest (...
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457 views

Is a mask a symbol or a metaphor? (Star Wars Rebels)

(While this is question is not technically from a literary work, it does deal with literary devices, so I decided this would probably be the best area to put it in. However, if I am incorrect in this, ...
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13answers
3k views

Antonym for “thimbleful”

What word can be used to describe a large quantity or amount in a way that it would sound like an antonym for "thimbleful". Preferably a word that rhymes with it or starts with "t". As in: I had a ...
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2answers
85 views

When did we start kicking cans down the road ? And when did we lose the can?

I noticed this headline after talks on Brexit were stalled by whatever they were stalled by. Stalled talks kick the border issue down the road Ngram A // Ngram B I tried Ngramming but, ...
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197 views

Why is the Cloud metaphor used for Internet and Internet Services? [closed]

I don't see any big commonality between the two, what's the origin of this metaphor? In fact, even "sky" or "ocean" might be a much better representation in consideration to size, but cloud is just ...
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7answers
2k views

Is there an idiom to describe something that is given under the pretenses of kindness (e.g., as a gift), but which is actually not good? [duplicate]

For example, when you get those weird chewy caramel things on Halloween; given out of kindness but really no good. I'm thinking of something that is a "false gift", almost like the inverse of a ...
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1answer
72 views

'Received' - path from literal to figurative

'Received' as an adjective is interesting - considering that the past -participle is literal reverse of 'to give': We have received the gift (someone has given us a gift) But as an adjective it is ...
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1answer
168 views

What does “Now all I take is ibuprofen, and that's two flights up” mean? [closed]

There's a conversation between Dr.House and a patient in an episode of House MD named Lockdown, where House tries to explain an issue with withdrawal of the drug he's been using for a long time to ...
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1answer
244 views

What is a metaphorical equivalent for “incidental positive results” or “unexpected positive outcomes” [duplicate]

I read what was offered as an antonym for "camel's nose" and found "toehold" as the best fit but I'm hoping to get even better ideas. However, if the camel's nose could be used for positive outcomes, ...