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From Middle French métaphore, from Latin metaphora, from Ancient Greek μεταφορά ‎(metaphorá), from μεταφέρω ‎(metaphérō, I transfer, apply), from μετά ‎(metá, with, across, after) + φέρω ‎(phérō, I bear, carry)



metaphor ‎(countable and uncountable, plural metaphors)

  1. (uncountable, rhetoric) The use of a word or phrase to refer to something that it isn’t, invoking a direct similarity between the word or phrase used and the thing described, but in the case of English without the words like or as, which would imply a simile.
    • A Metaphor may be changed into a Simile...
      Metaphor. - Idleness is the rust of the soul
      Simile. - As rust is to iron, so is idleness to the soul...

      — John Seely Hart, First Lessons in Composition, 1874
    • What then is truth? A movable host of metaphors, metonymies, and; anthropomorphisms: in short, a sum of human relations which have been poetically and rhetorically intensified, transferred, and embellished, and which, after long usage, seem to a people to be fixed, canonical, and binding. Truths are illusions which we have forgotten are illusions — they are metaphors that have become worn out and have been drained of sensuous force, coins which have lost their embossing and are now considered as metal and no longer as coins. — Friedrich Nietzsche, On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense, 1870, translated by Daniel Beazeale, 1979.
  2. (countable, rhetoric) The word or phrase used in this way. An implied comparison.
  3. (countable, graphical user interface) The use of an everyday object or concept to represent an underlying facet of the computer and thus aid users in performing tasks.
    desktop metaphor; wastebasket metaphor


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