Figures of speech are literary devices which are used to convey ideas that go beyond their literal meaning.
In English, there are more than 200 different types of figures of speech. The Metaphor is one of them.
Meaning of Metaphor
A metaphor is a figure of speech that directly compares two things with similar qualities. Metaphors, unlike similes, do not contain words like “as” or “like.”
- My old employer was the devil incarnate. (The old employer is equated with the devil.)
- The pen is the tongue of the mind. (The pen is equated with the tongue.)
Examples of Metaphors
“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players”
— Shakespeare, As You Like It
“I fall upon the thorns of life.”
— P. B. Shelly, Ode to the West Wind
“Entangled in the cobweb of the schools.”
— William Cowper, The Task
Frequently used Metaphors
Various metaphors are also used frequently in our everyday language.
Flogging a dead horse – It is a metaphor for a pointless argument which refuses to die. Why does the boss have to flog the dead horse? I assumed the issue had already been resolved.
Elephant in the room – It is a metaphor for a disturbing or unpleasant fact that everyone is aware of but refuses to acknowledge out of awkwardness or embarrassment.
Mitesh‘s rejection from his job is the veritable elephant in the room tonight.
A gift that keeps on giving – It is a metaphor for something that will remain valuable for a longer period of time than it is intended to be.
A good friend is like a gift that keeps on giving.