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Metaphor: Definition And Examples —Pawners Paper

“death is a tyrant, trampling on every breath” an example of metaphor. Metaphor is a form of figurative language which refers to the words or ex...

Metaphor- Definition and Examples Of Metaphor In Literature: What You Should Know About Metaphor In 2021

“death is a tyrant, trampling on every breath” an example of metaphor.

Metaphor equates things not because they are similar but for the sake of symbolism!


Metaphor is a member of  the figure of speech, which is often used by the writers and poets while writing. It includes some elements similar to simile, onomatopoeia and personification. It is used for illustrations in order to make a strong point with the use of comparison. Often times the object used together for comparison are usually not related.

Metaphor is also a literary device!

Definition Of Metaphor

Metaphor Literary Definition: Metaphor is a form of figurative language in literature which refers to the words or expressions that means something different compared to their literal definition. 

 Another definition of metaphor describes metaphor as a literary device that describes object or action in a way that is not literally true, but explains an idea or make a comparison. 

Unlike simile, examples of metaphor are direct comparison that don't make use of  “as” or “like”. 

According to the Macmillian Dictionary Definition Of  Metaphor;

Metaphor is a way of describing something in which you refer to it as something else with similar qualities: writers often use war as a metaphor for business and competition[war/competition- example of metaphor]

However, metaphor definition for kids purposely can be referred to, as the literary device that does not make us of "as" or "like" during comparison

Metaphor In Literature

Metaphor in poetry, sentence, literary texts, novels and for those who wants to add spice to their use of language can seem tricky for reader especially for those who don't really know much about its usage neither could they easily take cognizance of it. It might seem tricky and silly actually, no denial or surprises about that. 

But it's actually an interesting devices used by writers, most especially poets [metaphor in poetry] to pass their messages across to their readers in the most unlikely, interesting manner.

Metaphorically, words can be brought to life through the use of comparison.  Metaphor are often used to create interesting imageries for the readers or to make a complex thoughts quite easy to understand. Metaphor as a common example of figure of speech and they show up in almost everywhere because they are hard to miss

Examples Of metaphor

As stated earlier, examples of metaphor usually shows up in text. So why don't we check out some examples of metaphor with their meanings?

Example I

"I'm wandering in the cloud of confusion"

This statement is metaphorical in meaning. "Wallowing" depicts a state of confusion, means traveling without a destination.  This saying emphasizes on the state of confusion while the use of "the pacing of the cloud and its movement illustrates further.

Example 2

"He is blue"

This does not literally mean that the man being referred to here si blue. It means that he is sad. Thus, it can't be interpreted literally in its natural meaning, that is , color blue.

Example 3

"He was fishing for attention."

The man isn't literally casting a lure to hook compliments out of the ocean. Rather, it's a dead metaphor used to signify a desire for attention from people.

Example 4

"He broke my heart."

Broke, is the past tense of break and its natural meaning is to have something shattered into pieces so that it might not be fixed again. Here, you're just feeling sad and heartbroken as a result of a happening and therefore, not your heart. This is a common metaphor example

Example 5

"She is the spark of firework amidst the dark"

Can someone be a a spark of firework? No! Or what do you think? Lol! The sentence above can be taken to mean different things and one of them is that she is typically a different person that generates attention amidst the crowd. 

This is quite tricky, right? Well, let's go further into the metaphor examples

Example 6

"He is the apple of my eyes"

Of course, no one can be an apple of other people's eyes. The example of metaphor above means that the person is someone who is very dear to another person.

Example 7

"You're my heartbeats"

This example of metaphor above means one dear to someone

Example 8

"You light up my life."

Of course, no one can light someone's life in flame. This metaphoric expression is simply saying that someone brings them joy. An example of metaphor you hear often.

Example 9

"He is a stone."

This seems funny actually, unless one can turn into a stone. Therefore, the stone is often used when saying that someone doesn't show any emotion. Another example of this metaphor expression is " The boy is stone-hearted, he never shows pity"

Example 10

"Time is a thief."

Fortunately, time doesn't put on a ski mask and lurk around dark corners. This metaphor illustrates the point that time seems to pass quickly and our lives flash by.

Do you understand quite a bit about metaphor now? That's great. 
Let's try some more examples.

Example 11

"He is the apple of my eye."

There is, of course, no apple in someone's eye. The apple is someone held dear. Another example of such metaphor expression is, "You're my sunshine, my bright!"

Example 12

"He is going to fade off to sleep."

The metaphor above indicates that someone has drifted off to slumber or has gone to bed. Taking this literally will seems to bring about confusion because no one can actually fade off to sleep or while trying to sleep. That's the magic that metaphor bring to languages and literature in particular.

Example 13

"He really flared up my temper."

When someone flares up your temper, flames don't spew out of your body, you're just deeply angry or furious.

Example 14

" Take your tipsy emotion to sleep"

It depicts that someone should calm down if he or she is angry or agitated. This can be of a good example if you're a writer, might work while writing prose.

Example 15

"The walks of life"

This metaphor example above is another figurative way of saying the developments of man as he grows from after birth, and the challenges he faces during these moment until he dies.

Example 16

"He reeks of failure"

Can anyone reek of failure? That's a no, because failure is not a smell that people can actually perceive with their noses. The metaphor is a way of saying one is a failure to the point that almost everybody knows and identify him as one.

Example 17

"His words cut deeper than the knife"

Words are not daggers or knife that can cut through flesh. Thus, the example of metaphor above is to illustrate that the words said is hurtful.

 examples of metaphor {metaphor about life}

Life is wicked
Life is hard

 examples of metaphor used by famous writers and erudite authors are :

"A good conscience is a continual Christmas" Benjamin Franklin

"America has tossed its cap over the wall of space" by William Shakespeare

Other examples of metaphor in literature books:

Example 1
Our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind. (Khalil Gibran – Sand & Foam)

Example 2
I’ve eaten a bag of green apples. (Sylvia Plath, Metaphors)

Example 3
But soft, what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun! (William Shakespeare – Romeo & Juliet)

Metaphor examples as used in a sentence

She came out looking blue, checking, waiting, till he comes as she was the sun whose golden light was shuddered by the strength of the dark cloud.

He saw him coming down the street in black jean with white shirt, torn in the rugged style. He betrayed her confidence as the sight of him made her heart pound.

Metaphor examples in poetry

She is the sun
That shines down
And makes a new life sprout
Form the earth

Other examples of metaphor

You are my sunshine.

The moon is a white balloon.

Her tears were a river flowing down her cheeks.

The road ahead was a ribbon stretching across the desert.

Life is difficult

From the examples of metaphor listed above , you might have come across some in books, lyrics of most songs especially the metaphor- love is difficult.

Importance Of Metaphor

As emphasized above, metaphors are always expressive and should not be taken literally, some of the purposes of metaphor on poems, novels, songs, and others are:

Metaphor tends to pair the intangible, with the literal to create a long lasting impression through the use of strong images when used properly

Metaphor are often used in poems to create a realistic images with the usage of comparison in the reader's mind

Metaphor is also used to make words or languages more artistic and interesting. 

Metaphors are used by writers to convey their  messages to the mind of the readers easily and quickly.

Metaphor helps writer make their points in interesting ways to their readers.

Types Of Metaphor

There are different types of metaphor and their differences are optimized for their classification and to avoid immense error during their usage.

As emphasizes above, metaphor is used for comparison and often, it's used to mean any kind of symbolism.

In literature, the types of metaphor are implied metaphor, sustained metaphor, dead metaphor, extended metaphor, mixed metaphor, root metaphor and others.

Implied Metaphor

This is a type of metaphors  that compare two things without using specific terms. For example, "Spending too much time with him is worse than swimming in a sea of sharks.

Dead Metaphor

 dead metaphor is a cliche that has become so used that it's imagery has become powerless. Examples of dead metaphors include: “raining cats and dogs,” "apple of my eyes"

Sustained Metaphor

 Sustained metaphor is a type of metaphor that carries multiple sentences in order it be developed over a long section of text. Such metaphor could be quite strong and can ultimately provide a precise and clear image of something. Such type of metaphor is often used in songs and poetry.

 For example, William Shakespeare compared Juliet to the sun in a poetic way with words which would ordinary have been referred  to my sunshine.

But soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the East, and Juliet is the sun! Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon, Who is already sick and pale with grief.

Root Metaphors

Root metaphors are so common used to the point where we one hardly recognize them as metaphors. Example, "Life is a journey"
They can also be likened to dead metaphors!"
Mixed Metaphors - 

Mixed metaphors are comparison without any logic in place.  " She turns to an ice and beats down the heat of boredom"

Absolute Metaphors

These are  metaphors that compare two things that have no connection that could make a striking point. 

Metaphor And Simile

There is one striking resemblance between Simile and metaphor and that is, comparison.
While metaphor uses direct comparison, Simile uses indirect comparison with use of "like" and "as"

Simile is quite easy to get compared to metaphor.

Metaphor And Simile Examples

Examples of Simile are:

She barks like a dog

She is as stubborn as a goat

The evening sun is like a ball of fire

The guy is as calm as the wind

While metaphor would have stated:

She is a goat

The evening sun is a ball of fire

The guy is a calm wind

While Simile would have been more indirect by likening the character of someone to something not quite similar,metaphor compare directly.

You can see the differences, right? Quite easy to spot!

Metaphor and Personification

Personification is a literary device whereby human qualities directly transfered to inanimate objects or non human beings as in "one taste will tell you it is a club larger beer".

Personification and metaphor are quite interesting in the stance of their usage in literature. They give life to words.

Example of Personification

"The trees waved in unison, shouting to the echoes of the wind, Hallelujah!"

"The stars stared at him from the sky, he gazed downard an blinked for attention"

Differences between metaphor and Personification

Metaphor compares while Personification gives life to inanimate objects like trees, cars, wind etc. as if they were alive

How to write metaphors?

Writing metaphor takes not superpowers or magic to come up with, all it takes is your imaginations, consistent practise and study of its examples.

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Pawners Paper: Metaphor: Definition And Examples —Pawners Paper
Metaphor: Definition And Examples —Pawners Paper
“death is a tyrant, trampling on every breath” an example of metaphor. Metaphor is a form of figurative language which refers to the words or ex...
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