English version

metaphor

From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
Related topics: Literature
metaphormet‧a‧phor /ˈmetəfə, -fɔː $ -fɔːr/ ●●○ noun [countable, uncountable]  1 ALa way of describing something by referring to it as something different and suggesting that it has similar qualities to that thingsimile She uses some wonderful images and metaphors in her writing. a very creative use of metaphorsee thesaurus at language2 mixed metaphor3 SIGN/SYMBOLsomething that represents a general idea or qualitymetaphor for Their relationship is a metaphor for the failure of communication in the modern world.COLLOCATIONSMeanings 1 & 2verbsuse a metaphorTo use her own metaphor, she is a caged bird who wants to fly free.extend a metaphor (=to use other metaphors with a similar idea)The poem extends the metaphor of food still further.borrow a metaphor from something (=use a metaphor from another subject, book etc)To borrow an architectural metaphor, you cannot see the whole building if you focus on the individual bricks.adjectivesa powerful metaphor (=one that works very well)His election campaign used the powerful metaphor of ‘building a bridge to the next century’.a vivid metaphor (=one that gives you a picture in your mind)The book is full of vivid metaphors and powerful images.an appropriate/apt metaphor (=a very suitable one)Building on sand is an apt metaphor for the challenge we face.a central metaphor (=one that a poem or book is based around)The poet as something carried by the ocean is a central metaphor in the book.a mixed metaphor (=the use of two different metaphors at the same time to describe something, especially in a way that seems silly or funny)In a mixed metaphor, she said ‘he stepped up to the plate and took the bull by the horns.’a religious/military/biological etc metaphorHe uses a military metaphor to describe these women as ‘storming’ the castle of male power.
Examples from the Corpus
metaphorThat is not a metaphor, it is the plain truth.The rule of thumb for making good use of a metaphor is to compare what is said with what is meant.There are more ways than one in which a metaphor can mislead.There are only so many metaphors any choreographer can come up with for anomie.She was a caged bird, to use her own metaphor, that had to break free.We use this metaphor to characterize local authorities' responses to care programming.Through metaphor and symbolism, Thoreau discusses the importance of nature.Think of the torturous metaphors and similes that the readers would be spared.Various metaphors have illustrated this fact of spiritual life.
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