What Is a Metaphor (with Examples)

What Is a Metaphor? (with Examples)

A metaphor asserts that one thing is something that it literally is not. A metaphor is a figure of speech.

Examples of Metaphors

Here are some examples of metaphors: Metaphors are not always easy to spot. They are not always in the form "A = B" like the first four examples above. Sometimes, a metaphor is an adjective that modifies a noun, as in the fifth example.

The bottom line is this: If something is being re-identified as (i.e., not compared to) something that it literally is not, then you're looking at a metaphor.

Famous Metaphors (Examples)

Here are some metaphors by famous people:

Funny Metaphors (Examples)

Here are some funny metaphors:

A Quick Test

Take the similes test.


Used sparingly in business writing (e.g., just once in the occasional document), metaphors can: Here is an example of how a metaphor might look in a business document:


While a metaphor can be a great way to clarify or promote an idea in a business document, the overuse of metaphors looks flippant. Metaphors which are cliches (i.e., a tired metaphor) also look bad.

Use metaphors very sparingly in business writing to ensure they remain impactful.

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See Also

What is figurative language? What does literal meaning mean? What is a simile? What is personification? What is hyperbole? What is an idiom? What is a euphemism? What is alliteration? What is assonance? What is consonance? What is a logosglyph? What is onomatopoeia? Glossary of grammatical terms