Definition: Metaphor

From New World Encyclopedia
Revision as of 22:33, 13 July 2023 by Jennifer Tanabe (talk | contribs) (→‎Verb)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)


From Middle French métaphore, from Latin metaphora, from Ancient Greek μεταφορά or metaphorá, from μεταφέρω or metaphérō (I transfer, apply), from μετά or metá (with, across, after) + φέρω or phérō (I bear, carry).


metaphor (countable and uncountable, plural metaphors)

  1. (uncountable, rhetoric) The use of a word or phrase to refer to something other than its literal meaning, invoking an implicit similarity between the thing described and what is denoted by the word or phrase.
  2. (countable, rhetoric) A word or phrase used in such implied comparison.
  3. (countable, graphical user interface) The use of an everyday object or concept to represent an underlying facet of the computer and thus aid users in performing tasks.

Derived terms

  • conceptual metaphor
  • extended metaphor
  • metaphoric
  • metaphorical
  • metaphorical extension
  • mixed metaphor


metaphor (third-person singular simple present metaphors, present participle metaphoring, simple past and past participle metaphored)

  1. (intransitive) To use a metaphor.
  2. (transitive) To describe by means of a metaphor.


New World Encyclopedia writers and editors copied and adjusted this Wiktionary entry in accordance with NWE standards. This article abides by terms of the Creative Commons CC-by-sa 3.0 License (CC-by-sa), which may be used and disseminated with proper attribution. Credit for this article is due to both New World Encyclopedia contributors and the selfless volunteer contributors of the Wikimedia Foundation. To cite this article click here for a list acceptable citing formats.The history of earlier contributions at Wiktionary is accessible to researchers here: