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What is an ontological metaphor?

 

Definition
 

An ontological metaphor is a metaphor in which an abstraction, such as an activity, emotion, or idea, is represented as something concrete, such as an object, substance, container, or person.

Examples (English)
 
  • The following sentences express the activity-as-container metaphor:

    • How did Jerry get out of washing the windows?
    • Outside of washing the windows, what else did you do?
    • How did you get into window-washing as a profession?
    • I put a lot of energy into washing the windows.
    • I get a lot of satisfaction out of washing windows.

    Source:

    Lakoff, G. and Johnson 1980 31

  • Kinds
      Here are some kinds of ontological metaphors:
     
    Generic
      An ontological metaphor is a kind of
     
    Source
     

    Lakoff, G. and Johnson 1980 25–33


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