noun met·a·phor \ˈme-tə-ˌfr also -fər\

: a word or phrase for one thing that is used to refer to another thing in order to show or suggest that they are similar

: an object, activity, or idea that is used as a symbol of something else

Full Definition of METAPHOR

:  a figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them (as in drowning in money); broadly :  figurative language — compare simile
:  an object, activity, or idea treated as a metaphor :  symbol 2
met·a·phor·ic \ˌme-tə-ˈfr-ik, -ˈfär-\ or met·a·phor·i·cal \-i-kəl\ adjective
met·a·phor·i·cal·ly \-i-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

Examples of METAPHOR

  1. You see, menudo is our chicken soup for the body and soul, our metaphor for bread-and-butter issues. —Joe Rodriguez, San Jose Mercury News, 20 May 2003

Origin of METAPHOR

Middle English methaphor, from Middle French or Latin; Middle French metaphore, from Latin metaphora, from Greek, from metapherein to transfer, from meta- + pherein to bear — more at bear
First Known Use: 15th century

Other Grammar and Linguistics Terms

ablaut, allusion, anacoluthon, diacritic, gerund, idiom, infinitive, semiotics, simile
METAPHOR Defined for Kids


noun met·a·phor \ˈme-tə-ˌfr\

Definition of METAPHOR for Kids

:  a figure of speech comparing two unlike things without using like or as <“Their cheeks were roses” is a metaphor while “their cheeks were like roses” is a simile.>


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