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Encyclopedia > Metaphor

Metaphor (from the Greek: metapherin) is language that directly compares seemingly unrelated subjects. In the simplest case, this takes the form: "The [first subject] is a [second subject]." More generally, a metaphor is a rhetorical trope that describes a first subject as being or equal to a second subject in some way. Thus, the first subject can be economically described because implicit and explicit attributes from the second subject are used to enhance the description of the first. This device is known for usage in literature, especially in poetry, where with few words, emotions and associations from one context are associated with objects and entities in a different context. For other uses, see Literature (disambiguation). ... Rhetoric (from Greek , rhêtôr, orator, teacher) is generally understood to be the art or technique of persuasion through the use of oral, visual, or written language; however, this definition of rhetoric has expanded greatly since rhetoric emerged as a field of study in universities. ... In linguistics and cognitive science, cognitive linguistics (CL) refers to the currently dominant school of linguistics that views the important essence of language as innately based in evolutionarily-developed and speciated faculties, and seeks explanations that advance or fit well into the current understandings of the human mind. ... Conceptual metaphor: In cognitive linguistics, metaphor is defined as understanding one conceptual domain in terms of another conceptual domain; for example, using one persons life experience to understand a different persons experience. ... Psychotherapy is an interpersonal, relational intervention used by trained psychotherapists to aid clients in problems of living. ... Therapeutic metaphor is a specialized use of metaphor. ... Computer science, or computing science, is the study of the theoretical foundations of information and computation and their implementation and application in computer systems. ... An Interface Metaphor is an icon used to metaphorically explain a more abstract concept. ... Rhetoric (from Greek , rhêtôr, orator, teacher) is generally understood to be the art or technique of persuasion through the use of oral, visual, or written language; however, this definition of rhetoric has expanded greatly since rhetoric emerged as a field of study in universities. ... In linguistics, trope is a rhetorical figure of speech that consists of a play on words, i. ... For other uses, see Literature (disambiguation). ... This article is about the art form. ...


Within the non rhetorical theory a metaphor is generally considered to be a concluded equation of terms that is more forceful and active than an analogy, although the two types of tropes are highly similar and often confused. One distinguishing characteristic is that the assertiveness of a metaphor calls into question the underlying category structure, whereas in a rhetorical analogy the comparative differences between the categories remain salient and acknowledged. Similarly, metaphors can be distinguished from other closely related rhetorical concepts such as metonymy, synecdoche, simile, allegory and parable. Analogy is both the cognitive process of transferring information from a particular subject (the analogue or source) to another particular subject (the target), and a linguistic expression corresponding to such a process. ... For Wikipedias categorization projects, see Wikipedia:Categorization. ... In rhetoric, metonymy is the substitution of one word for another word with which it is associated. ... Synecdoche is a figure of speech in which: a term denoting a part of something is used to refer to the whole thing, or a term denoting a thing (a whole) is used to refer to part of it, or a term denoting a specific class of thing (a species... A simile is a comparison of two unlike things, typically marked by use of like, as, than, or resembles. Common examples are Curley was flopping like a fish on a line(extract of Mice and Men) etc. ... Allegory of Music by Filippino Lippi. ... // For a comparison of parable with other kinds of stories, see Myth, legend, fairy tale, and fable. ...


The metaphor, according to I. A. Richards in The Philosophy of Rhetoric (1936), consists of two parts: the tenor and vehicle. The tenor is the subject to which attributes are ascribed. The vehicle is the subject from which the attributes are borrowed. Other writers employ the terms ground and figure to denote what Richards identifies as the tenor and vehicle. Consider: Ivor Armstrong Richards (26 February 1893 in Sandbach, Cheshire – 7 September 1979 in Cambridge) was an influential English literary critic and rhetorician. ...

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;(William Shakespeare, As You Like It, 2/7)

This well-known quotation is a good example of a metaphor. In this example, "the world" is compared to a stage, the aim being to describe the world by taking well-known attributes from the stage. In this case, the world is the tenor and the stage is the vehicle. "Men and women" are a secondary tenor and "players" is the vehicle for this secondary tenor. Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... Walter Deverell,The Mock Marriage of Orlando and Rosalind, 1853 William Shakespeares As You Like It is a pastoral comedy written in 1599 or early 1600. ...


The metaphor is sometimes further analysed in terms of the ground and the tension. The ground consists of the similarities between the tenor and the vehicle. The tension of the metaphor consists of the dissimilarities between the tenor and the vehicle. In the above example, the ground begins to be elucidated from the third line: "They all have their exits and entrances". In the play, Shakespeare continues this metaphor for another twenty lines beyond what is shown here - making it a good example of an extended metaphor.


The corresponding terms to 'tenor' and 'vehicle' in George Lakoff's terminology are target and source. In this nomenclature, metaphors are named using the typographical convention "TARGET IS SOURCE", with the domains and the word "is" in small capitals (or capitalized when small-caps are not available); in this notation, the metaphor discussed above would state that "LIFE IS THEATER". In a conceptual metaphor the elements of an extended metaphor constitute the metaphor's mapping--in the Shakespeare passage above, for example, exits would map to death and entrances to birth. This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... Conceptual metaphor: In cognitive linguistics, metaphor is defined as understanding one conceptual domain in terms of another conceptual domain; for example, using one persons life experience to understand a different persons experience. ...


Metaphors are also referred to as comparisons without using like or as in the average classroom.

Contents

Types of metaphor

The following are the more commonly identified types of metaphor:

  • An extended metaphor, or conceit, sets up a principal subject with several subsidiary subjects or comparisons. The above quote from As You Like It is a very good example. The world is described as a stage and then men and women are subsidiary subjects that are further described in the same context.
  • An epic or Homeric simile is an extended metaphor containing details about the vehicle that are not, in fact, necessary for the metaphoric purpose. This can be extended to humorous lengths, for instance: "This is a crisis. A large crisis. In fact, if you've got a moment, it's a twelve-story crisis with a magnificent entrance hall, carpeting throughout, 24-hour porterage and an enormous sign on the roof saying 'This Is a Large Crisis.'" (Black Adder)
  • A mixed metaphor is one that leaps from one identification to a second identification that is inconsistent with the first one. Example: "He stepped up to the plate and grabbed the bull by the horns," where two commonly used metaphoric grounds for highlighting the concept of "taking action" are confused to create a nonsensical image.
  • A dead metaphor is one in which the sense of a transferred image is not present. Example: "to grasp a concept" or "to gather you've understood." Both of these phrases use a physical action as a metaphor for understanding (itself a metaphor), but in none of these cases do most speakers of English actually visualize the physical action. Dead metaphors, by definition, normally go unnoticed. Some people make a distinction between a "dead metaphor" whose origin most speakers are entirely unaware of (such as "to understand" meaning to get underneath a concept), and a dormant metaphor, whose metaphorical character people are aware of but rarely think about (such as "to break the ice"). Others, however, use dead metaphor for both of these concepts, and use it more generally as a way of describing metaphorical cliché.
  • A synechdochic metaphor is one in which a small part of something is chosen to represent the whole so as to highlight certain elements of the whole. For example "a pair of ragged claws" represents a crab in Eliot's The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. Describing the crab in this way gives it the attributes of sharpness and savagery normally associated with claws.

Other types of metaphor have been identified as well, though the nomenclatures are not as universally accepted: Please wikify (format) this article or section as suggested in the Guide to layout and the Manual of Style. ... The second series of Blackadder was set in Elizabethan England, starring (left to right) Tony Robinson as Baldrick, Rowan Atkinson as Edmund, Lord Blackadder, and Tim McInnerny as Lord Percy Percy. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Synecdoche is a figure of speech in which: a term denoting a part of something is used to refer to the whole thing, or a term denoting a thing (a whole) is used to refer to part of it, or a term denoting a specific class of thing (a species... Thomas Stearns Eliot (September 26, 1888 - January 4, 1965), was a major Modernist Anglo-American poet, dramatist, and literary critic. ... The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, a poem by T. S. Eliot, marked the start of his career as one of the twentieth centurys most influential poets. ...

  • An active metaphor is one which by contrast to a dead metaphor, is not part of daily language and is noticeable as a metaphor. Example: "You are my sun."
  • An absolute or paralogical metaphor (sometimes called an anti-metaphor) is one in which there is no discernible point of resemblance between the idea and the image. Example: "The couch is the autobahn of the living room."
  • An experiential or learning metaphor is an experience that allows one to learn about more than just that experience. Examples: Board-breaking is used in seminars as a metaphor for breaking through emotional boundaries and climbing Kilimanjaro is used as a metaphor for life in Eric Edmeades Adventure Seminars.
  • A complex metaphor is one which mounts one identification on another. Example: "That throws some light on the question." Throwing light is a metaphor and there is no actual light.
  • A compound or loose metaphor is one that catches the mind with several points of similarity. Example: "He has the wild stag's foot." This phrase suggests grace and speed as well as daring.
  • An implicit metaphor is one in which the tenor is not specified but implied. Example: "Shut your trap!" Here, the mouth of the listener is the unspecified tenor.
  • A submerged metaphor is one in which the vehicle is implied, or indicated by one aspect. Example: "my winged thought". Here, the audience must supply the image of the bird.
  • A simple or tight metaphor is one in which there is but one point of resemblance between the tenor and the vehicle. Example: "Cool it". In this example, the vehicle, "cool", is a temperature and nothing else, so the tenor, "it", can only be grounded to the vehicle by one attribute.
  • A root metaphor is the underlying worldview that shapes an individual's understanding of a situation. Examples would be understanding health as a mechanical process, or seeing life as the natural expression of an "ideal" form (e.g., the acorn that should grow into an oak tree.). A root metaphor is different from the previous types of metaphor in that it is not necessarily an explicit device in language, but a fundamental, often unconscious, assumption. Andrew Goatly has done extensive research on root metaphors in his book The Language of Metaphors, in which he describes the different levels of root metaphors and gives examples.
    Religion provides one common source of root metaphors, since birth, marriage, death and other universal life experiences can convey a very different meaning to different people, based on their level or type of religious conditioning or otherwise. For example, some religions see life as a single arrow pointing toward a future endpoint. Others see it as part of an endlessly repeating cycle. In his book World Hypotheses, the philosopher Stephen Pepper coined the term and proposed a theory of four ultimate root metaphors — formism, mechanism, organicism, contextualism.
  • A conceptual metaphor is an underlying association that is systematic in both language and thought. For example in the Dylan Thomas poem "Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night," the conceptual metaphor of "A LIFETIME IS A DAY" is repeatedly expressed and extended throughout the entire poem. The same conceptual metaphor is the key to solving the Riddle of the Sphinx: "What goes on four legs in the morning, two legs at midday, and three in evening? — A man." Similar to root metaphors, conceptual metaphors are not only expressed in words, but are also habitual modes of thinking underlying many related metaphoric expressions.
    Because they both underlie more than just the surface metaphoric expression, root metaphors and conceptual metaphors are easily confused. For example: In the United States, both conservatives and liberals use 'family' metaphors for the national politics, though in different ways. Both types of usage would ultimately resolve to "organic" root metaphors in Pepper's nomenclature, while Lakoff would distinguish between several different varieties of the "A NATION IS A FAMILY" metaphor.
  • A dying metaphor is a derogatory term coined by George Orwell in his essay Politics and the English Language. Orwell defines a dying metaphor as a metaphor that isn't dead (dead metaphors are different, as they are treated like ordinary words), but has been worn out and is used because it saves people the trouble of inventing an original phrase for themselves. In short, a cliché. Example: Achilles' heel. Orwell suggests that writers scan their work for such dying forms that they have 'seen regularly before in print' and replace them with alternative language patterns.
  • An implied or unstated metaphor is a metaphor not explicitly stated or obvious that compares two things by using adjectives that commonly describe one thing, but are used to describe another comparing the two.
    An example: "Golden baked skin", comparing bakery goods to skin or "green blades of nausea", comparing green grass to the pallor of a nausea-stic person or "leafy golden sunset" comparing the sunset to a tree in the fall.

The category of metaphor can be further considered to contain the following specialized subsets: Kilimanjaro is a mountain in northeastern Tanzania. ... Eric Edmeades (born on 18 March 1970 in Pretoria, South Africa) is a social entrepreneur, professional speaker and philanthropist. ... Andrew Goatly is an English language professor at Lingnan University in Hong Kong. ... Conceptual metaphor: In cognitive linguistics, metaphor is defined as understanding one conceptual domain in terms of another conceptual domain; for example, using one persons life experience to understand a different persons experience. ... Dylan Marlais Thomas (27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953) was a Welsh poet. ... George P. Lakoff (Laykoff, born 1941) is a professor of linguistics (in particular, cognitive linguistics) at the University of California, Berkeley where he has taught since 1972. ... Eric Arthur Blair (25 June 1903 [1] [2] – 21 January 1950), better known by the pen name George Orwell, was an English author and journalist. ... Politics and the English Language (1946) is an essay by George Orwell wherein he criticizes ugly and inaccurate contemporary written English, and asserts that it was both a cause and an effect of foolish thinking and dishonest politics. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... An Achilles’ heel is a fatal weakness in spite of overall strength, actually or potentially leading to downfall. ...

  • allegory: An extended metaphor in which a story is told to illustrate an important attribute of the subject
  • catachresis: A mixed metaphor (sometimes used by design and sometimes a rhetorical fault)
  • parable: An extended metaphor told as an anecdote to illustrate or teach a moral lesson

some examples of a metaphore are: Allegory of Music by Filippino Lippi. ... Catachresis (from Greek ), which literally means the incorrect or improper use of a word -- such as using the word decimate (e. ... // For a comparison of parable with other kinds of stories, see Myth, legend, fairy tale, and fable. ...


Etymology

Originally, metaphor was a Greek word meaning "transfer" or the Greek etymology is from meta, implying "a change" and pherein meaning "to bear, or carry". Etymologies redirects here. ...


In modern Greek, the word metaphor also means transport or transfer.


Metaphor and Simile

Metaphor and simile are two of the best known tropes and are often mentioned together as examples of rhetorical figures. Metaphor and simile are both terms that describe a comparison: the only difference between a metaphor and a simile is that a simile makes the comparison explicit by using "like" or "as." The Colombia Encyclopedia, 6th edition, explains the difference as: A simile is a comparison of two unlike things, typically marked by use of like, as, than, or resembles. Common examples are Curley was flopping like a fish on a line(extract of Mice and Men) etc. ...

a simile states that A is like B, a metaphor states that A is B or substitutes B for A.

According to this definition, then, "You are my sunshine" is a metaphor whereas "Your eyes are like the sun" is a simile. However, some describe similes as simply a specific type of metaphor (see Joseph Kelly's The Seagull Reader (2005), pages 377-379). Most dictionary definitions of both metaphor and simile support the classification of similes as a type of metaphor, and historically it appears the two terms were used essentially as synonyms.


Despite the similarity of the two figures, and the fact that they have historically been used as synonyms, it is the distinction between them which is normally focused upon when the terms are introduced to students. Ironically, "not knowing the difference between a simile and a metaphor" is sometimes used as a euphemism for knowing little about rhetoric or literature. Of course, someone truly versed in rhetoric understands that there is very little difference between metaphor and simile, and that the distinction is trivial compared to, for example, the difference between metonymy and metaphor. Nonetheless, many lists of literary terms define metaphor as "a comparison not using like or as", showing the emphasis often put on teaching this distinction. In rhetoric, metonymy is the substitution of one word for another word with which it is associated. ...


Usually, similes and metaphors could easily be interchanged. For example remove the word 'like' from William Shakespeare's simile, "Death lies on her, like an untimely frost," and it becomes "Death lies on her, an untimely frost," which retains almost exactly the same meaning. However, at other times using a simile as opposed to a metaphor clarifies the analogy by calling out exactly what is being compared. "He had a posture like a question mark" (Corbett, Classical rhetoric for the modern student (1971), page 479) has one possible interpretation, that the shape of the posture is that of a question mark, whereas "His posture was a question mark" has a second interpretation, that the reason for the posture is in question. At other times use of a simile rather than a metaphor adds meaning by calling to attention the process of comparison, as in "A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle" (Irina Dunn). The point is not to compare a woman to a fish, but to ask the reader to consider how the woman is like the fish. Finally, similes are often more convenient than metaphors when analogizing actions as opposed to things: "Wide sleeves fluttering like wings" (Marcel Proust) does not translate easily from simile to metaphor. Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... Patricia Irene (Irina) Dunn is an Australian writer, and served in the Australian Senate between 1988 and 1990. ... “Proust” redirects here. ...


Metaphors in literature and language

Metaphor is present in written language back to the earliest surviving writings. From the Epic of Gilgamesh (one of the oldest Sumerian texts): The Epic of Gilgamesh is an epic poem from Babylonia and is among the earliest known literary works. ... Sumerian ( native tongue) was the language of ancient Sumer, spoken in Southern Mesopotamia from at least the 4th millennium BCE. It was gradually replaced by Akkadian as a spoken language in the beginning of the 2nd millenium BCE, but continued to be used as a sacred, ceremonial, literary and scientific...

My friend, the swift mule, fleet wild ass of the mountain, panther of the wilderness, after we joined together and went up into the mountain, fought the Bull of Heaven and killed it, and overwhelmed Humbaba, who lived in the Cedar Forest, now what is this sleep that has seized you? - (Trans. Kovacs, 1989)

In this example, the friend is compared to a mule, a wild donkey, and a panther to indicate that the speaker sees traits from these animals in his friend. For other uses, see Mule (disambiguation). ... A melanistic leopard, or black panther The black panther is the common name for a black specimen (a melanistic variant) of any of several species of cats. ...


The Greek plays of Sophocles, Aeschylus, and Euripides, among others, were almost invariably allegorical, showing the tragedy of the protagonists, either to caution the audience metaphorically about temptation, or to lambast famous individuals of the day by inferring similarities with the caricatures in the play. This article is about the Greek tragedian. ... This article is about the ancient Greek playwright. ... A statue of Euripides. ...


Novelist and essayist Giannina Braschi states, "Metaphors and Similes are the beginning of the democratic system of envy." Cutting-edge poet and novelist Giannina Braschi (b. ...


Even when they are not intentional, parallels can be drawn between most writing or language and other topics. In this way it can be seen that any theme in literature is a metaphor, using the story to convey information about human perception of the theme in question. In literature, a theme is a broad idea in a story, or a message or lesson conveyed by a work. ...


Metaphors in historical linguistics

In historical onomasiology or, more generally, in historical linguistics, metaphor is defined as semantic change based on similarity, i.e. a similarity in form or function between the original concept named by a word and the target concept named by this word[1]. Example: mouse 'small, gray rodent' > 'small, gray, mouse-shaped computer device'. To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Historical linguistics (also diachronic linguistics or comparative linguistics) is primarily the study of the ways in which languages change over time. ...


See also

A simile is a comparison of two unlike things, typically marked by use of like, as, than, or resembles. Common examples are Curley was flopping like a fish on a line(extract of Mice and Men) etc. ... The pataphor is an unusually extended metaphor invented by writer Pablo Lopez (aka musician Paul Avion), based on Alfred Jarrys science of pataphysics. ... Tertium comparationis (Latin = the third [part] of the comparison) is the quality that two things which are being compared have in common. ... Conceptual metaphor: In cognitive linguistics, metaphor is defined as understanding one conceptual domain in terms of another conceptual domain; for example, using one persons life experience to understand a different persons experience. ... Conceptual Blending is a theory of cognition[1]. According to the Theory of Conceptual Blending, elements and vital relations from diverse scenarios are blended in a subconscious process. ... Therapeutic metaphor is a specialized use of metaphor. ... This is a list of common political metaphors. ... Reification (also known as hypostatization or concretism) is a fallacy of ambiguity, when an abstraction (abstract belief or hypothetical construct) is treated as if it represented a concrete, real event or physical entity. ...

Literature

  • Aristotle. Poetics. Trans. I. Bywater. In The Complete Works of Aristotle: The Revised Oxford Translation. (1984). 2 Vols. Ed. Jonathan Barnes. Princeton, Princeton University Press.
  • I. A. Richards. (1936). The Philosophy of Rhetoric. Oxford, Oxford University Press.
  • Max Black (1954). “Metaphor,” Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 55, pp. 273-294.
  • Max Black. (1962). Models and Metaphor. Ithaca, Cornell University Press.
  • Paul Ricoeur. (1975). The Rule of Metaphor: Multi-Disciplinary Studies in the Creation of Meaning in Language, trans. Robert Czerny with Kathleen McLaughlin and John Costello, S. J., London: Routledge and Kegan Paul 1978. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press 1977)
  • Donald Davidson. (1978). "What Metaphors Mean." Reprinted in Inquiries Into Truth and Interpretation. (1984). Oxford, Oxford University Press.
  • Max Black (1979). “More about Metaphor,” in A. Ortony (ed) Metaphor & Thought
  • L. J. Cohen (1979). “The Semantics of Metaphor,” in A. Ortony (ed) Metaphor & Thought
  • John Searle (1979). “Metaphor,” in A. Ortony (ed) Metaphor & Thought
  • George Lakoff and Mark Johnson. (1980). Metaphors We Live By. Chicago, University of Chicago Press.
  • Jacques Derrida. (1982). "White Mythology: Metaphor in the Text of Philosophy." In Margins of Philosophy. Trans. Alan Bass. Chicago, University of Chicago Press.
  • George Lakoff (1987). Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal about the Mind. Chicago, University of Chicago Press.
  • George Lakoff and Mark Turner (1989). More than Cool Reason: A Field Guide to Poetic Metaphor. Chicago, University of Chicago Press.
  • Clive Cazeaux (2007). Metaphor and Continental Philosophy: From Kant to Derrida. New York: Routledge.

For other uses, see Aristotle (disambiguation). ... Jonathan Barnes (born 1942) is a British philosopher, translator and historian of ancient philosophy. ... Ivor Armstrong Richards (26 February 1893 in Sandbach, Cheshire – 7 September 1979 in Cambridge) was an influential English literary critic and rhetorician. ... Max Black (24 February 1909, Baku, Russian Empire [present-day Azerbaijan] – 27 August 1988, Ithaca, New York, United States) was a distinguished Anglo-American philosopher, who was a leading influence in analytic philosophy in the first half of the twentieth century. ... Max Black (24 February 1909, Baku, Russian Empire [present-day Azerbaijan] – 27 August 1988, Ithaca, New York, United States) was a distinguished Anglo-American philosopher, who was a leading influence in analytic philosophy in the first half of the twentieth century. ... Paul Ricœur (February 27, 1913 Valence France – May 20, 2005 Chatenay Malabry France) was a French philosopher best known for combining phenomenological description with hermeneutic interpretation. ... Donald Davidson (March 6, 1917 – August 30, 2003) was an American philosopher and the Willis S. and Marion Slusser Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley. ... Max Black (24 February 1909, Baku, Russian Empire [present-day Azerbaijan] – 27 August 1988, Ithaca, New York, United States) was a distinguished Anglo-American philosopher, who was a leading influence in analytic philosophy in the first half of the twentieth century. ... John Rogers Searle (born July 31, 1932 in Denver, Colorado) is the Slusser Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley, and is noted for contributions to the philosophy of language, philosophy of mind and consciousness, on the characteristics of socially constructed versus physical realities, and on practical reason. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... Mark L. Johnson is Knight Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Oregon. ... Jacques Derrida (IPA: in French [1], in English ) (July 15, 1930 – October 8, 2004) was an Algerian-born French philosopher, known as the founder of deconstruction. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... Mark Turner is a cognitive scientist, linguist, and author. ...

External links

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