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A political cartoon by illustrator S.D. Ehrhart in an 1894 Puck magazine shows a farm woman labeled "Democratic Party" sheltering from a tornado of political change.

A metaphor is a figure of speech that, for rhetorical effect, directly refers to one thing by mentioning another.[1] It may provide (or obscure) clarity or identify hidden similarities between two ideas. Metaphors are often compared with other types of figurative language, such as antithesis, hyperbole, metonymy and simile.[2] One of the most commonly cited examples of a metaphor in English literature comes from the "All the world's a stage" monologue from As You Like It:

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[3]

This quotation expresses a metaphor because the world is not literally a stage. By asserting that the world is a stage, Shakespeare uses points of comparison between the world and a stage to convey an understanding about the mechanics of the world and the behavior of the people within it.

According to the linguist Anatoly Liberman, the use of metaphors is relatively late in the modern European languages; it is, in principle, a post-Renaissance phenomenon.[4] In contrast, in the ancient Hebrew psalms (around 1000 B.C.), one finds already vivid and poetic examples of metaphor [the following example given is that of a simile, rather than the intended metaphor]such as, "...He is like a tree planted by streams of water, yielding its fruit in season, whose leaf does not wither." At the other extreme, some recent linguistic theories view all language in essence as metaphorical.[5]

This qu

This quotation expresses a metaphor because the world is not literally a stage. By asserting that the world is a stage, Shakespeare uses points of comparison between the world and a stage to convey an understanding about the mechanics of the world and the behavior of the people within it.

According to the li

According to the linguist Anatoly Liberman, the use of metaphors is relatively late in the modern European languages; it is, in principle, a post-Renaissance phenomenon.[4] In contrast, in the ancient Hebrew psalms (around 1000 B.C.), one finds already vivid and poetic examples of metaphor [the following example given is that of a simile, rather than the intended metaphor]such as, "...He is like a tree planted by streams of water, yielding its fruit in season, whose leaf does not wither." At the other extreme, some recent linguistic theories view all language in essence as metaphorical.[5]

The English metaphor derived from the 16th-century Old French word métaphore, which comes from the Latin metaphora, "carrying over", in turn from the Greek μεταφορά (metaphorá), "transfer",[6] from μεταφέρω (metapherō), "to carry over", "to transfer"[7] and that from μετά (meta), "after, with, across"[8] + φέρω (pherō), "to bear", "to carry".[9]

Parts of a metaphor

The Philosophy of Rhetoric (1937) by rhetorician I. A. Richards describes a metaphor as having two parts: the tenor and the vehicle. The tenor is the subject to which attributes are ascribed. The vehicle is the object whose attributes are borrowed. In the previous example, "the world" is compared to a stage, describing it with the attributes of "the stage"; "the world" is the tenor, and "a stage" is the vehicle; "men and women" is the secondary tenor, and "players" is the secondary vehicle.

Other writers[which?] employ the general terms 'ground' and 'figure' to denote the tenor and the vehicle. Cognitive linguistics uses the terms 'target' and 'source', respectively.

Psychologist Julian Jaynes coined the terms 'metaphrand' and 'metaphier', plus two new concepts, 'paraphrand' and 'paraphier'.[10] [11] 'Metaphrand' is equivalent to the metaphor-theory terms 'tenor', 'target', and 'ground'. 'Metaphier' is equivalent to the metaphor-theory terms 'vehicle', 'figure', and 'source'. In a simple metaphor, an obvious attribute of the metaphier exactly characterizes the metaphrand (e.g. the ship plowed the seas). With an inexact metaphor, however, a metaphier might have associated attributes or nuances – its paraphiers – that enrich the metaphor because they "project back" to the metaphrand, potentially creating new ideas – the paraphrands – associated thereafter with the metaphrand or even leading to a new metaphor. For example, in the metaphor "Pat is a tornado", the metaphrand is "Pat", the metaphier is "tornado". As metaphier, "tornado" carries paraphiers such as power, storm and wind, counterclockwise motion, and danger, threat, destruction, etc. The metaphoric meaning of "tornado" is inexact: one might understand that 'Pat is powerfully destructive' through the paraphrand of physical and emotional destruction; another person might understand the metaphor as 'Pat can spin out of control'. In the latter case, the paraphier of 'spinning motion' has become the paraphrand 'psychological spin', suggesting an entirely new metaphor for emotional unpredictability, a possibly apt description for a human being hardly applicable to a tornado. Based on his analysis, Jaynes claims that metaphors not only enhance description, but "increase enormously our powers of perception...and our understanding of [the world], and literally create new objects".[10]

The Philosophy of Rhetoric (1937) by rhetorician I. A. Richards describes a metaphor as having two parts: the tenor and the vehicle. The tenor is the subject to which attributes are ascribed. The vehicle is the object whose attributes are borrowed. In the previous example, "the world" is compared to a stage, describing it with the attributes of "the stage"; "the world" is the tenor, and "a stage" is the vehicle; "men and women" is the secondary tenor, and "players" is the secondary vehicle.

Other writers[which?] em

Other writers[which?] employ the general terms 'ground' and 'figure' to denote the tenor and the vehicle. Cognitive linguistics uses the terms 'target' and 'source', respectively.

Psychologist Julian Jaynes coined the terms 'metaphrand' and 'metaphier', plus two new concepts, 'paraphrand' and 'paraphier'.[10] [11] 'Metaphrand' is equivalent to the metaphor-theory terms 'tenor', 'target', and 'ground'. 'Metaphier' is equivalent to the metaphor-theory terms 'vehicle', 'figure', and 'source'. In a simple metaphor, an obvious attribute of the metaphier exactly characterizes the metaphrand (e.g. the ship plowed the seas). With an inexact metaphor, however, a metaphier might have associated attributes or nuances – its paraphiers – that enrich the metaphor because they "project back" to the metaphrand, potentially creating new ideas – the paraphrands – associated thereafter with the metaphrand or even leading to a new metaphor. For example, in the metaphor "Pat is a tornado", the metaphrand is "Pat", the metaphier is "tornado". As metaphier, "tornado" carries paraphiers such as power, storm and wind, counterclockwise motion, and danger, threat, destruction, etc. The metaphoric meaning of "tornado" is inexact: one might understand that 'Pat is powerfully destructive' through the paraphrand of physical and emotional destruction; another person might understand the metaphor as 'Pat can spin out of control'. In the latter case, the paraphier of 'spinning motion' has become the paraphrand 'psychological spin', suggesting an entirely new metaphor for emotional unpredictability, a possibly apt description for a human being hardly applicable to a tornado. Based on his analysis, Jaynes claims that metaphors not only enhance description, but "increase enormously our powers of perception...and our understanding of [the world], and literally create new objects".[10]:50

Metaphors are most frequently compared with similes. It is said, for instance, that a metaphor is 'a condensed analogy' or 'analogical fusion' or that they 'operate in a similar fashion' or are 'based on the same mental process' or yet that 'the basic processes of analogy are at work in metaphor'. It is also pointed out that 'a border between metaphor and analogy is fuzzy' and 'the difference between them might be described (metaphorically) as the distance between things being compared'. A metaphor asserts the objects in the comparison are identical on the point of comparison, while a simile merely asserts a similarity through use of words such as "like" or "as". For this reason a common-type metaphor is generally considered more forceful than a simile.[12][13]

The metaphor category contains these specialized types:

  • Allegory: An extended metaphor wherein a story illustrates an important attribute of the subject.
  • Antithesis: A rhetorical contrast of ideas by means of parallel arran

    The metaphor category contains these specialized types:

    Metaphor is distinct from metonymy, both constituting two fundamental modes of thought. Metaphor works by bringing together concepts from different conceptual domains, whereas metonymy uses one element from a given domain to refer to another closely related element. A metaphor creates new links between otherwise distinct conceptual domains, whereas a metonymy relies on pre-existent links within them.

    For example, in the phrase "lands belonging to the crown", the word "crown" is a metonymy because some monarchs do indeed wear a crown, physically. In other words, there is a pre-existent link between "crown" and "monarchy".[17] On the other hand, when Ghil'ad Zuckermann argues that the Israeli language is a "phoenicuckoo cross with some magpie characteristics", he is using a metaphor.[18]:4 There is no physical link between a language and a bird. The reason the metaphors "phoenix" and "cuckoo" are used is that on the one hand hybridic "Israeli" is based on Hebrew, which, like a phoenix, rises from the ashes; and on the other hand, hybridic "Israeli" is based on Yiddish, which like a cuckoo, lays its egg in the nest of another bird, tricking it to believe that it is its own egg. Furthermore, the metaphor "magpie" is employed because, according to Zuckermann, hybridic "Israeli" displays the characteristics of a magpie, "stealing" from languages such as Arabic and English.[18]:4–6

    Subtypes

    A dead metaphor is a metap

    For example, in the phrase "lands belonging to the crown", the word "crown" is a metonymy because some monarchs do indeed wear a crown, physically. In other words, there is a pre-existent link between "crown" and "monarchy".[17] On the other hand, when Ghil'ad Zuckermann argues that the Israeli language is a "phoenicuckoo cross with some magpie characteristics", he is using a metaphor.[18]:4 There is no physical link between a language and a bird. The reason the metaphors "phoenix" and "cuckoo" are used is that on the one hand hybridic "Israeli" is based on Hebrew, which, like a phoenix, rises from the ashes; and on the other hand, hybridic "Israeli" is based on Yiddish, which like a cuckoo, lays its egg in the nest of another bird, tricking it to believe that it is its own egg. Furthermore, the metaphor "magpie" is employed because, according to Zuckermann, hybridic "Israeli" displays the characteristics of a magpie, "stealing" from languages such as Arabic and English.[18]:4–6

    A dead metaphor is a metaphor in which the sense of a transferred image has become absent. The phrases "to grasp a concept" and "to gather what you've understood" use physical action as a metaphor for understanding. The audience does not need to visualize the action; dead metaphors normally go unnoticed. Some distinguish between a dead metaphor and a cliché. Others use "dead metaphor" to denote both.[19]

    A mixed metaphor is a metaphor that leaps from one identification to a second inconsistent with the first, e.g.: