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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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2answers
64 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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1answer
48 views

What are some metaphors that can describe emotions as complicated / being complex?

What are some metaphors that can describe emotions as complicated / being complex? Metaphors are preferred over similies. E.g. Emotions are (metaphor).
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2answers
94 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
29 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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0answers
83 views

What is the word for a phrase which makes no sense according to conventional definitions?

What is the word for a phrase which makes no sense according to accepted definitions of its terms? I thought it was figure of speech or non-literal, but apparently that means any phrase departing from ...
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1answer
34 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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0answers
13 views

What is the term for when a multitude of similes or metaphors are used in quick succession to describe something?

I am trying to find out the name of, or if there even is a widely accepted name for, the construction described in the title: when an author uses more than one simile or metaphor, in rapid succession, ...
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3answers
46 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
47 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
48 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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1answer
65 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 ...
1
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1answer
64 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
94 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
76 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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2answers
40 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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2answers
103 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 ...
2
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1answer
117 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
106 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
129 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
55 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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2answers
48 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
33 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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0answers
27 views

Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet

Can someone please tell me what type of English technique this line from Shakespeare is? "From ancient grudge, breaks new mutiny"
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0answers
23 views

Paint company's name into user's heart vs Print company's mane into user's heart ? metonyms and metaphors

In my presentation script, I want to say this product can implant our name into user's mind deeply. But I want to use some metonymy or Metaphor skill, so I change it to 'Paint company's ...
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2answers
70 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
99 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
97 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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votes
3answers
497 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
175 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
205 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 ...
4
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2answers
489 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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0answers
265 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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0answers
43 views

Is this an analogy or a metaphor? [duplicate]

I'm trying to understand what makes the following a metaphor and not an analogy. Any explanation would be helpful. "A conceptually helpful metaphor here might be to think of a judge approaching a a ...
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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
70 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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0answers
137 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 ...
5
votes
7answers
1k 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
66 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
147 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
169 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, ...
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2answers
159 views

“I'm always watching you through a keyhole”: is it a metaphor?

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 ...
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0answers
27 views

Metaphor or an object

I'm looking for a metaphor for something that seems small or not important, but later shows a big impact. Maybe an object, that seems insignificant but proves otherwise. I want to use it in the ...
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0answers
534 views

Which word best describes a story made up of analogies, metaphors and perhaps parables?

Which word (if any) best describes a complete story that is made up of analogies, metaphors and possibly some parables? For example, if I was writing a story about someone's life journey, but writing ...
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4answers
134 views

Word for something which is part of a problem, blamed/feared/thought to be its cause, but isn't?

Question. What English word do you recommend for something which is thought or even openly blamed to be the reason for a real problem, but is at most a part or result of said problem, not its cause ...
1
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1answer
50 views

A particular literary device [closed]

Does this literary device have a name? It seems to me that it shows a simile developing into a metaphor. ...When he saw who I was the guard began behaving like a spaniel. He lay on his back ...
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2answers
244 views

Is it “When my time begins” or “When it's my time” etc.? [closed]

Can anyone please help me with the following sentence? Right now things may not be happening as per my wish but, when my time starts / begins, I will... (blah, blah) I need help with alternatives ...
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3answers
2k views

Can a phrase be both a metaphor and an idiom?

A friend and I were discussing if the idiom 'rain check', as in 'taking a rain check' could be considered a metaphor. We both agree that this phrase satisfies the common idiom and metaphor criteria ...
3
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1answer
63 views

What is the metaphorical meaning of “olla podriga” in this context? [closed]

What is the metaphorical meaning of "olla podriga" in this context? Civilisation and barbarism, crudity and culture, the latter depending on the European occupant individually, for collectively ...
3
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1answer
95 views

Dishonest debate tactic name - metaphor to farm, tower?

I can't think of the phrase. I remember the meaning - it's when you claim some very large thing, but then when made to defend it, defend a smaller and more defensible claim that sounds similar. ...
50
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6answers
15k views

Why is “You’ve brought a knife to a gun fight” considered to be a mixed metaphor?

In my reading today, I came across this phrase: Pardon the mixed metaphor, but you’ve brought a knife to a gun fight. [Link] The (longtime) columnist was saying the person was outmatched. I ...