Metaphors are one of the most important literary devices. The below listed examples of metaphor will provide you with a better understanding on what this figure of speech is all about.
"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players, they have their exits and their entrances." In just these few words, Shakespeare manages to capture the entire play life and death by comparing the world to a stage. Rich in vivid imagery, no wonder, it is one of the finest example of a metaphor. Metaphors are linguistic symbols that convey a particular image. It is a figure of speech wherein an idea is given to provide clarity by comparing or associating it to another totally different idea. And it won't be fair to think of it as the same as analogy or simile. Metaphors differ from analogy in the sense that no specific interpretations are provided for the former. And unlike similes, there are no direct comparisons too. In metaphors, the concept is presented as something else, which in fact it is not. This association between two unlike concepts, which are similar in some respects, presents a very strong image. So, when you say that "He is an elephant", then the image that it creates is that the person is huge as well as strong. Given below are a few metaphor examples to help you understand it better.
Examples Of Metaphor
- Time is a thief.
- He has a heart of gold.
- His head was spinning with ideas.
- John is a real pig when he eats.
- Authority is a chair, it needs legs to stand up.
- Her home was a prison.
- Life is a journey, purposes are destinations, means are routes, difficulties are obstacles, counselors are guides, achievements are landmarks and choices are crossroads.
- The new movie was very popular. People flocked to see it.
- It is raining cats and dogs.
- Life has a tendency to come back and bite you.
- It wasn't long before their relationship turned sour.
- Harry lost his job after a heated argument with his boss.
- The committee shot her ideas down one by one.
- America is a melting pot.
- He swam in the sea of diamonds.
- You are my sunshine.
- A light in a sea of darkness
- He is my East and my West, my compass
- The policeman let him off with a yellow card.
- He was dressed rather vulgarly in a loud checked suit.
- The new car's sexy design increased sales for the company.
- A lifetime is a day, death is sleep; a lifetime is a year, death is winter.
- Your love is an ocean
- Life is a mere dream, a fleeting shadow on a cloudy day.
- The private detective dug up enough evidence to convince the police to act.
- The noise is music to her ears.
- My father is a rock.
- I'm not an angel, but I wouldn't behave like that.
- How could she marry a snake like that!
- Reading that book kindled my interest in politics.
- He broke into her conversation.
Examples In Literature
- "Time is a dressmaker specializing in alterations." - (Faith Baldwin, Face Toward the Spring, 1956)
- "The streets were a furnace, the sun an executioner." - (Cynthia Ozick, "Rosa")
- "But my heart is a lonely hunter that hunts on a lonely hill." - (William Sharp, "The Lonely Hunter")
- Between the lower east side tenements, the sky is a snotty handkerchief." - (Marge Piercy, "The Butt of Winter")
- "I can mingle with the stars, and throw a party on Mars; I am a prisoner locked up behind Xanax bars." - (Lil Wayne, "I Feel Like Dying")
- "Love is an alchemist that can transmute poison into food--and a spaniel that prefers even punishment from one hand to caresses from another." - (Charles Colton, Lacon)
- "Men's words are bullets that their enemies take up and make use of against them." - (George Savile, Maxims)
- "A man may break a word with you, sir, and words are but wind." - (William Shakespeare, The Comedy of Errors)
- "The rain came down in long knitting needles." - (Enid Bagnold, National Velvet)
- "Language is a road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going." - (Rita Mae Brown)
- "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." - (Abraham Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address, 1863)
- "Memory is a crazy woman that hoards colored rags and throws away food." - (Austin O'Malley, Keystones of Thought)
- "Ice formed on the butler's upper slopes." - (P.G. Wodehouse, The Color of the Woosters, 1938)
- "But silk has nothing to do with tobacco. It's a metaphor, a metaphor that means something like, 'smooth as silk.' Somebody in an advertising agency dreamt up the name 'Silk Cut' to suggest a cigarette that wouldn't give you a sore throat or a hacking cough or lung cancer." - (David Lodge, Nice Work. Viking, 1988)
- "For we are all swimmers ephemerally buoyed by what will engulf us at the last; still dreaming of islands though the mainland has been lost; swept remorselessly out to sea while we spread our arms to the beautiful shore." (Peter De Vries, Peckham's Marbles, 1986)
- "Language is a road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going." ~ Rita Mae Brown
- "Love is the wild card of existence." ~ "In Her Day", Rita Mae Brown
So, as you can see from the examples given above, metaphors can make a simple sentence interesting by conveying strong imagery. Poets have used metaphors with great effect as it enabled them to say profound things without being verbose. Using metaphors can make any speech or writing stylish. Cultivate the habit of using metaphors and you will find that you can speak and write beautifully.