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What is a metaphor?



Here are two senses of metaphor:

  1. A metaphor is the expression of an understanding of one concept in terms of another concept, where there is some similarity or correlation between the two.
  2. A metaphor is the understanding itself of one concept in terms of another.
Examples (English)
  • The following sentences illustrate how the metaphorical understanding of anger-as-fire is expressed:

    • Your insincere apology just added fuel to the fire.
    • After the argument, Dave was smoldering for days.
    • That kindled my ire.
    • Boy, am I burned up!


    Lakoff, G. 1987 388

  • Kinds
      Here are some kinds of metaphors:
      A metaphor is a kind of

    Johnson 1981b 4, 18–27, 43


    Beekman and Callow 1974 124


    Mish 1991 746


    Lakoff, G. 1987 388–389

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