What is a Metaphor

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a metaphor is worth a thousand pictures. - Daniel H. Pink.

Daniel H. Pink is an American author who is known for his motivational theories, elaborating on the ever-evolving nature of work, and significant contributions to the behavioural sciences. The man has written numerous bestsellers in the fields of economics, human behaviour, and psychology. His quote simply states that metaphors have the power to communicate and transfer complex emotions and ideas more effectively. 

But the question is "What is a metaphor?" Well, a metaphor is known as a figure of speech in which phrases or words are applied to an action which is not literally applicable. In today's competitive landscape where communication has become the most powerful element of human life, metaphors are serving as a prominent tool for communication. They can certainly evoke the rich imaginaries and human understanding in a very clear and concise manner.

Moving further in this article, we will cover all the aspects of metaphors, starting from their origin to their present dominance in human communication.

History and Present of Metaphors

Metaphors have long been a part of human civilization and communication. Metaphors are considered as the most significant tools that allow people to convey cryptic and complex ideas, thoughts, viewpoints, emotions, and experiences through a vivid comparison. They have a rich and interesting history that stretches back thousands of years, elevating the human language, communication techniques, and their thoughts.

Just like five-paragraph essays and emotive language, metaphors also belong to ancient civilizations, including those of Greece, Egypt, and Mesopotamia. These are the regions where metaphors were first used and then gradually evolved with an increased adoption in philosophical write-ups, poetry, and literature. In ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt, metaphors were used for different themes, including friendship, morality, spiritual ideas, and cosmic forces.

However, it was in ancient Greece that metaphors experienced a significant transformation and the popularity of metaphors reached new heights. There were a few Greek philosophers who explored the true nature of metaphors. As time passed, the significance of metaphors continued into classical literature. Many renowned poets, artists, and writers like Shakespeare, Homer, and a few more often used metaphors in their plays. 

During the Enlightenment period, the overall focus shifted towards scientific inquiry and rationality. In the twenty-first century, metaphors have attracted increased interest due to the development of metaphor theory and cognitive linguistics. Metaphors are very popular these days, and this can be seen in a variety of fields, such as politics, advertising, literature, and more. 

In conclusion, the past and present of metaphors look very convincing and their enduring importance as a powerful tool of communication and creativity. Metaphors continue to be an essential tool for forming our language and vision, from ancient societies to contemporary culture. They operate as a link between the known and the unknown, the concrete and the abstract.

What are the 5 Different Types of Metaphors?

As we said, metaphors are significant linguistic tools that enable speakers and writers to convey their complex ideas, experiences, thoughts, and emotions by drawing comparisons between two unrelated concepts. By simply creating a link between one thing to another, metaphors allow us to apprehend and interpret the world in new ways. Moving ahead in this article, we will highlight the 5 different types of metaphors.

Standard or Direct Metaphor

One of the most popular and fundamental types of metaphors is direct or standard metaphors. Here, the entire theme is based on the comparison between two entities in a very explicit and straightforward way. For example, when we say that “Love is a battlefield,” we directly portray the abstract concept of love with the concrete image of a battlefield, showcasing the thunderous nature of romantic relationships.

Implied or Indirect Metaphor

Implied or indirect metaphor is just opposite to the standard or direct metaphor. Implied metaphors simply rely on delicacy and implication to convey the intended meaning. This type of metaphor usually invites the target audience to infer the connection between two elements, instead of making a clear comparison. For instance, “Her wife’s words cut deeper than any knife,” illustrates the sharpness of a knife and the emotional impact of the woman’s words.

Extended Metaphors

Extended metaphor is also one of the different types of metaphors. With time, metaphors have evolved and their implementation has expanded in various fields. In simple terms, extended metaphors draw comparisons between two different things that carry the cycle of sentences in a paragraph of a poem. This type of metaphor is generally used by writers, poets, and speakers. An exemplary instance of extended metaphor is found in Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Here, he compared the American dream to a beacon of hope while comparing it with the struggle for civil rights.

Visual Metaphors

Another different type of metaphor is often known as the “visual metaphor”. Visual metaphors are also a powerful element that is often used to convey abstract concepts, thoughts, viewpoints, and ideas through imagery. Unlike standard, implied, or extended metaphors, visual metaphors utilise the potential of images, symbols, and colours in order to evoke meanings and provoke thoughts. One of the most famous and widely used examples of visual metaphors is the use of black and white elements to picture good and evil. 

Mixed Metaphors

The fifth different type of metaphor that we are speaking of today is “mixed metaphors”. This type of metaphor is usually used by comics and individuals who want to reap amusement from their content. These are often used in comedy as people intentionally combine two different metaphors that are inappropriately silly. The best example to understand mixed metaphor is:

“His idea was a real diamond in the haystack”. Here the writer or the speaker combines “a diamond in the rough,” which explains that something valuable is hidden among lesser-quality terms, with “a needle in a haystack,” which focuses on describing something incredibly difficult to find due to its small size and the large amount of surrounding material. 

So these are the 5 different types of metaphors that are often used in today’s communication. They might sound simple and precise but actually, they are not. Many universities and colleges prepare tough assessments for their students in order to assess their skills and capabilities. If you’re facing an issue in preparing your assignments, then the time is right to seek online assignment help to excel in your academics.

Moving further, let’s discuss what is a good metaphor.

What is a Good Metaphor?

If we look and observe closely, metaphors are everywhere and you can’t really quantify a metaphor because every person has their own way of understanding things. For example, “She’s got a heart of gold”; this particular statement can either create a sense of appreciation or make someone go absolute berserk. It all depends on how we take words. Do we take them for what they are or do we understand the hidden meanings and a taste of common sense?

Nevertheless, here are some of the elements that convert a decent figure of speech into a good metaphor:

  • Clarity
  • Relevance
  • Vividness
  • Originality
  • Conciseness
  • Emotional Resonance
  • Consistency
  • Appropriateness
  • Flexibility
  • Impact

These impacts are extremely important for an artist as they collectively contribute to the effectiveness and potency of a metaphor. 

What is the Difference between a Metaphor and a Simile?

The prime objective of both metaphors and similes is to draw a comparison between two things. So, finding a fundamental difference between a metaphor and a simile is not that easy of a task, but given below is a table that indicates the same.





Metaphors focus on directly equating one thing with the other without using “Like” or “As”.

Similes are opposite to what metaphors do as they create and draw a comparison between two things by using “Like” or “As”.


A metaphor asserts that one thing is the other one.

Whereas simile often suggests that one thing is like the other one. It is not similar but close to similar.


Metaphors can be used directly and precisely.

Similes are more of an explicit and comparative in nature,


Metaphors are often used in order to create a stronger and more vivid image of a particular thing or a person.

On the other hand, similes lack the taste of emphaticness as they focus on creating a direct and clear comparison.


Metaphors by nature, require interpretation.

As we said, similes completely operate in a different way by establishing a clear comparison between two things.


Metaphors are widely common and popular in literary and poetic contexts.

Similes on the other hand are often used in a day to day conversation. Similes are often used in politics, advertising, and brand comparisons.


Her smile is a ray of sunshine.

Her smile is like a ray of sunshine.

So, this is the basic difference between a metaphor and a simile. Though they are not very different from each other, both of them are quite influential and powerful tools in communication that create a direct impact on the audience.

10 Classic and Famous Examples of Metaphors

Certainly, given below are the 10 classic and most popular examples of a metaphor.

  • Love is a battlefield - Pat Benatar (from her song “Love Is a Battlefield).
  • The world is a stage - William Shakespeare (from “As You Like It”).
  • The streets were a ribbon of moonlight - J.R.R Tolkien (from “The Hobbit ').
  • His words were a dagger in my heart - William Shakespeare (from “The Hamlet”).
  • The city was a melting pot of cultures - Israel Zangwill (from “The Melting Pot”)
  • Hope is the thing with feathers - Emily Dickinson (from “The Hope Is The Thing With Feathers”).
  • Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less travelled by - Robert Frost (from “The Road Not Taken”).
  • Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night - Dylan Thomas (from “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night”).
  • Be nobody’s darling; be an outcast - Alice Walker (from “Be Nobody’s Darling”).
  • Unthrifty loveliness, why dost thou spend upon thy self thy beauty’s legacy - William Shakespeare (from “Sonnet 4”).

So, these are the 10 classic and most famous examples of metaphors that are used by legendary poets, writers, and artists across the globe. This is all about metaphors that you need to know. Since linguistics has evolved and become a prominent part of academics, Many of them often found requesting their friends as they beseech them by saying, “Can someone write my assignment?” 

Well, you no longer have to ask your friends for a favor and beg them by saying can you please do my assignment, we are here to help you with all sorts of academic assistance by providing online assignment help services at a very reasonable and genuine price range.

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