What Is a Metaphor (with Examples)

What Is a Metaphor? (with Examples)

A metaphor asserts that one thing is something that it literally is not. A metaphor is a figure of speech.

Examples of Metaphors

Here are some examples of metaphors:
  • She is a fox.
  • Dave is a bad apple.
  • His face was a blue moon pocked with craters.
  • Her eyes were darting searchlights, scanning the room for her rival.
  • An icy stare
Metaphors are not always easy to spot. They are not always in the form "A = B" like the first four examples above. Sometimes, a metaphor is an adjective that modifies a noun, as in the fifth example.

The bottom line is this: If something is being re-identified as (i.e., not compared to) something that it literally is not, then you're looking at a metaphor.

Famous Metaphors (Examples)

Here are some metaphors by famous people:
  • Conscience is a manís compass.
  • (Dutch post-Impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh, 1853-1890)
  • All religions, arts, and sciences are branches of the same tree.
  • (Theoretical physicist Albert Einstein, 1879-1955)
  • All at once he was alone in this noisy hive with no place to roost.
  • (Tom Wolfe)

Funny Metaphors (Examples)

Here are some funny metaphors:
  • Love is an exploding cigar we willingly smoke.
  • John and Mary had never met. They were two hummingbirds who had also never met.
  • True friends stab you in the front.
  • (Oscar Wilde)

See Also

What is figurative language? What does literal meaning mean? What is a simile? What is personification? What is hyperbole? What is an idiom? What is a euphemism? What is alliteration? What is assonance? What is consonance? What is a logosglyph? What is onomatopoeia? Glossary of grammatical terms