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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Metaphorical Meaning of "The Offing"

Question I would like to know whether the title of Benjamin Myers's novel The Offing can be interpreted as a metaphor for "going away", "vanishing", "deceasing". I am not ...
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7 votes
2 answers
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What is Dickens’ “fly-catcher”?

This is a passage from Dickens’ Little Dorrit, chapter 11. Emphasised words relate to the question below. ‘Ah Heaven, then,’ said she. ‘When the boat came up from Lyons, and brought the news that the ...
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Is there a metaphorical word for "Seeing without being Seen"?

I was wondering, there might be parts of a fort, military establishments where they employ the technique of seeing without being seen. Please help me out by listing the words that hint at the ...
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4 votes
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Is the verb "to see" a metaphor?

For example, when one thinks an argument is invalid, one can say "I see this argument as invalid". Nevertheless, I always thought a metaphor requires, at minimum, requires two object/ideas; ...
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How does one differentiate a "conceptual metaphor" from other kinds of metaphor?

There is a rather long list of metaphors: standard (stock) metaphors, extended metaphors, visual metaphors, implied metaphors, mixed metaphors, allegorical metaphors, absolute metaphors dead metaphors,...
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What's a metaphor/idiom for when someone asks for help with a problem that you also have?

To elaborate, the implication is that you can't help them, because if you knew how to, you wouldn't be in the situation yourself. I could've sworn I heard there was already an established phrase for ...
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Does "literally" conflict with a figurative reference? [closed]

He literally wrote the book on OWI defense and then proceeds to throw it at prosecutors by deftly picking apart their cases, point by point. Does "literally" conflict with the figurative ...
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Are proverbs and metaphors the same thing? [duplicate]

Are all proverbs considered metaphors or does it depend? Here are a couple of proverbs for which I would like to know if they are metaphors or just statements: Rome wasn't built in a day. The best-...
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1 vote
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How does "sinking lid" work as a metaphor?

A "sinking lid" refers to a policy where employee numbers are reduced by not replacing employees that leave voluntarily (retire or resign). Ref: https://www.lexico.com/definition/sinking_lid ...
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"...The merry children spilling out of their homes..." What is the figure of speech here?

What is the poetic device in the line 'the merry children spilling out of their homes'? This is taken from the poem "My Mother at Sixty-six" written by Kamala Das, an Indian poet (poem is ...
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What is the meaning of "ripening in the shade" as a metaphor?

In David Copperfield, Dickens wrote, "Sometimes a life glides away, and finds it still ripening in the shade." I understand some idea of a ripening life but not "in the shade".
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Good alternatives to "circus" metaphors for tension (juggling, plate spinning, tightropes etc)?

In my writing, reviewing strategy games, I often have cause to describe a process whereby someone has to deal with large amounts of conflicting priorities and information. I've noticed that in doing ...
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Use "which" or "what" in a sentence with a metaphor/analogy [duplicate]

I'm currently trying to translate a text in English, that I wrote in French. It is a bit complicating when it comes to my writing style, as in French we tend (I do) to use a lot of analogies and ...
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Is this lyric a metaphor?

From a Swedish song (translated): Standing at your door, just standing still A minute ago, you were mine A third of who I was goes home Because one is crushed, one is yours This is the end of our ...
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"Ain't no thang but a chicken wang."

I understand that phrase to mean, "it's not difficult," but what is the metaphor with chicken wings? Where does this phrase come from?
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Can the word "pollute" be used as "deprave" in this paragraph?

I heard the phrase "pollution of the mind", so I guess "pollute" can be used as "spoil", "ruin" or "deprave", which affects mental health. I am ...
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Is there a metaphor to say "it's named this way for a reason"

I was wondering is there an English or American metaphor or phrase to say it has been called this way for a reason? Suppose I want to say this The private key is called private for a reason! Is ...
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What does "dedicate shrines" mean?

The sentence: They are experiencing 40% inflation, so if they get to 20% inflation (that is still high) they would dedicate shrines. I searched it a lot but didn't get an answer that makes sense!
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Inverse of the African proverb "The axe forgets; the tree remembers"

There is an african proverb that says "The axe forgets; the tree remembers", meaning the person who hurt another forgets but the person who gets hurt remembers. Is there an inverse to this? ...
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21 votes
4 answers
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What's the meaning of "wooden loaf", the famous expression used by Gandhi to define the Independence of India?

I came across this expression while reading about the history of Indian Independence. The expression is well known, but I cannot understand its meaning. Does loaf mean piece of bread? But then what is ...
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What is the origin of the phrase "play a part/role"?

From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English: play a part/role to have an effect or influence on something Does this phrase come from the theater or somewhere else? From thefreedictionary.com: ...
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Can “Tentacles” be used for branches?

Reading through the following sentence It had been my father’s word which had got me a footing in the multinational company which had its tentacles in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Oxford ...
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2 votes
3 answers
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A metaphor for people living up or down to their reputation

I have been asked to improve my question. Can anyone help with the full quote and derivation thereof for a metaphor that begins “give a dog a bad name and hear (or see) him bark”? My understanding is ...
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23 votes
9 answers
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You have the watches, but we have the time

This quote is associated with the Taliban in reference to the US occupation of Afghanistan. I understand the metaphorical meaning of the quote — i.e. the point that it makes. But I am intrigued by the ...
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What do the highlighted parts mean in this piece of writing?

From The Paris Review: I was away from home and walking to a bar to celebrate something privately, and I paused on my way to watch the moon move, its blond glow shifting bonier as it tracked its path ...
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If you can insert the word "like" and "as" into what people assume is a metaphor, isn't it really a simile? [duplicate]

In this article: https://blog.prepscholar.com/simile-vs-metaphor The author uses a popular Katy Perry lyric "baby you're a firework" as an example of a metaphor. Katy Perry could just have ...
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1 vote
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Was V.S. Naipaul correct that "the buckle of the Bible Belt” contains mixed metaphors?

In his travel book A Turn in the South, he writes, "The magazine in my hotel room, mixing its metaphors, said that Nashville was 'the buckle of the Bible Belt.'" Was he ...
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What does it mean "It’s raining men"? [closed]

What does it mean "It’s raining men"? I got this in this paragraph: Metaphor - Describing something by using a word that isn’t literally relevant. For example, “It’s raining men”, “I’m ...
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What did James Baldwin mean by "as clean as a bone"?

In his interview with The Paris Review, James Baldwin in answer to the question "As your experience about writing accrues, what would you say increases with knowledge?", says: You learn how ...
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Can I say "hit the bushes" to mean escape?

Can I say "hit the bushes" to mean escape? I simply want to verify if this expression exists. I know "beat the bushes" to describe a thorough search.
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Can you use the expression "unreliable narrator" as a metaphor to describe a real person?

Can you use the expression “unreliable narrator” as a metaphor to describe a real person who’s relaying unreliable information? For example: “TikTok alleges that they don’t send their user’s personal ...
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3 votes
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Origin of the "white feather as a symbol of cowardice"

I’m researching the origins of the white feather as a symbol of cowardice. The earliest reference I can find is in Francis Grose’s 1785 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue. Does anyone know of any ...
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What's another word for "not" honed talent?

I was looking for a metaphorical phrase that sort of fits along the lines of honing a hidden/unapparent talent. I can't quite place my finger on it, but I remember one that goes something like trying ...
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2 votes
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What's the Origin of the phrase "build bridges?"

For the past several days, I am coming across with "build bridges" phrase. I am keen to know about the origin of this phrase. I've done a lot of research on the internet but couldn't find it....
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-2 votes
1 answer
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How is the verb "plot" used in this context?

To make things simple for the audience, the result of this is: kanji is taken for the meaning value only, as usual, and two parallel sets of rules were developed for the pronunciation: the on'yomi ...
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2 answers
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A word like "bid" in increasing manner but used metaphorically

So there’s a word (verb) we use in colloquial Egyptian Arabic, mostly in discussions or arguments. When i saying it I’m stating that the other person only interested in showing that he does/ has more ...
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What is a good simile or metaphor for being swallowed in by a crowd, or being surrounded by people?

What is a good simile or metaphor for being swallowed in by a crowd, or being surrounded by people? I am writing a narrative, and in my case I said "I got swallowed in by the crowd." Is ...
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How to understand this teddy bear metaphor?

In this video How Long Do Koalas Really Sleep In A Day?, it states that Scientists have long believed that this [1] may be due to [koala's] position as nature's own teddy bear, but recent studies ...
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1 vote
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Metaphor similar to "one apple spoils the whole bunch"?

I am trying to describe sectarianism that starts from the oldest generation and seeps down to their children and grandchildren and I am getting major writer's block when trying to find a metaphorical ...
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Metaphor with coronavirus [closed]

Can you suggest some good metaphor sentences with reference to or relating to coronavirus?? A metaphor is a figure of speech that is used to make a comparison between two things that aren't alike but ...
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2 votes
3 answers
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What type of literary technique is the phrase 'star-crossed lovers' in 'Romeo and Juliet'?

My child has been asked this at school, and I suspect the teachers want the students to answer that it's a metaphor. However, I don't think it's a metaphor: surely Shakespeare, or at least the people ...
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Meaning of the phrase "rhetorical flab"

I have just read the following sentence, and It was difficult for me to understand what the author aimed to convey when she has used "rhetorical flab" in the sentence. I would be grateful if ...
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2 answers
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What does "plaster everywhere" mean here? [closed]

Megyn Kelly tweeted in response to AOC's tweet: What an awesome tweet for the Georgia GOP to plaster everywhere in their effort to ensure Republicans keep the Senate. Quote Tweet AOC: Is anyone ...
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How Can I Describe the Realization of a Passion?

What is the best way to convey a moment of realization/clarity or an epiphany? I am writing a college essay and I want to describe the moment I realized that my passion is math. I am essentially ...
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What does "Policymakers have effectively crossed the Rubicon with respect to Modern Monetary Theory (MMT)" mean?

i know what does "cross Rubicon" means, and in my understanding this sentence means "policymakers now have nothing to do but to follow MMT". Am I right?
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What's the meaning of the expression "pinstripe rodeo"?

What kind of a situation or event might be described as a pinstripe rodeo?
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2 votes
2 answers
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"Fork(s) of the road" to "fork in the road". Why the switch? [closed]

I was reading a recent New Yorker article: "How the Promise of Normalcy Won the 1920 Election" (Sept. 14, 2020) Where the Democratic nominee for President of the US, James M. Cox of Ohio, ...
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2 answers
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Idioms or metaphors for "I'm curious to know why, but it seems I'll never know"

I had a technical issue and no one from customer service had any idea why it happened. But after a few days, my computer problem just got resolved mysteriously. I got too invested into the problem and ...
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0 answers
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"consumers" referring to "pupils"

In the following sentence, "consumers" means "consumers of education." Is this a metaphor, or an ordinary use of the word? Education Ministers ought to have placed the interests ...
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Love of Home and Friends—like the ridge behind a Bunker! (Meaning)

I'm translating a fable by George Ade called "The Fable of the Visitor Who Got a Lot for Three Dollars." In the following extract, the phrenologist is telling his customer how he is based on ...
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