A metaphor is a figure of speech that uses one thing to mean another or to suggest an analogy between two things. Metaphors are often used in poetry and literature to add depth and meaning to a text. They can be used to make a point, to add emotion, or to create a visual image in the reader’s mind.
Metaphors are often used to describe love and other intense emotions. For example, someone might say “my love is like a rose” to describe the beauty and perfection of their partner. Or, someone might say “my heart is like a stone” to describe the pain and emptiness they feel after a break-up.
Metaphors can also be used to describe more abstract concepts. For example, “time is a thief” is a metaphor that suggests time is something that can be stolen from us, or that it’s something that can be wasted.
Metaphors can be powerful tools in writing, but they should be used sparingly and with care. Used too often, metaphors can become clichéd and lose their impact. But when used well, metaphors can add depth, meaning, and emotion to your writing.
Metaphor is a widely used procedure both in literary language (particularly in poetry ) and in everyday speech, and serves to give what is said a different meaning than it would have in its literal sense. A metaphor can be used to embellish a description (aesthetic purpose), provoke a humorous effect, surprise, irony , among many other options. For example: Time is money.
How is the Metaphor Composed?
The two basic elements of metaphor are:
- Actual term: It is the one that is being referred to in truth.
- Imaginary term: It is the one through which the real term is referred to.
Based on this, it is usual to speak of two types of metaphor: explicit metaphor, when both terms appear in the expression, and implicit metaphor, when the real term must be inferred from the expression. For example: The pearls in his mouth shone in the night. (implied metaphor) / His pearly teeth gleamed in the night. (explicit metaphor).
Metaphor Examples and Sentences with Meaning
Below is a list of metaphor examples, each with its actual term or literal meaning in parentheses.
- It’s sparking. (She is angry).
- They have it under the magnifying glass. (They are watching it rigorously).
- The stars on his face shone brighter than ever. (Her eyes sparkle.)
- The sea horses beat against the hull of the ship. (Swell hits the boat.)
- The flame that throbbed in his chest went out. (His passion for her is gone.)
- I fell into a depression. (I began to suffer from depression).
- It stole a smile from me. (I smiled for him or her).
- The snows of time silvered his temple. (His head of hers was filled with gray hair).
- That project is in its infancy. (It is very early).
- That test was a gift. (It was very easy to pass).
- She is the light that illuminates my days. (It’s the reason I have to live).
- The windows of the soul reveal their sadness. (Eyes or gaze show her sadness.)
- At that party I was showered with gifts. (They gave me many gifts).
- That place is a paradise. (It is a very nice place).
- Your voice is music to my ears. (I like hearing your voice).
- There is a long way to go for your wedding. (A large period of time is missing.)
- It is in the clouds. (He is not in tune with what is happening around him).
- He’s walking through walls. (He is very nervous).
- His crocodile tears do not convince anyone. (Her crying for him is not real.)
- His heart is a desert . (He doesn’t show her feelings).
- My cousin is a sun. (He is a very good person).
- He is on the crest of the wave. (He is having a very good time.)
- I can’t believe it, I feel in the clouds. (I am happy).
- His heart is huge. (He is a very good person).
- I have clean hands. (I am not involved in the problem).
- You are in the spring of your life. (She is in youth).
- He is fighting depression. (She is trying to get out of depression).
- He plucked up his courage and went to speak. (She took courage).
- You can’t be so blind! (Something is happening in front of you and you don’t see it).
- The time is gold. (Time is worth a lot).
- My job is an ordeal. (I do not like my job).
- He felt that he touched the sky with his hands. (He was very happy).
- Ever since she met him, she has butterflies in her stomach. She (she is in love or in love).
- I am crazy about him. (I like very much).
- The teacher lost a screw, today was not the exam. (The teacher went crazy.)
- Her heart jumped with happiness at the sight of him. She (she became very happy or happy).
- I have to put the batteries to approve yes or yes. (I have to work hard to pass.)
- It broke my soul. (He gave me a lot of pity).
- Marta’s spirits are rock bottom. She (she is very down).
- He failed the exam and was told he was a donkey. (They told him that he is a very bad student).
- The wise enlighten us with advice. (The wise teach us).
- He broke my heart. (I was disappointed or disappointed in love).
- I am between a rock and a hard place. (I do not have an option).
- He is at the peak of his career. (He is in the best moment).
- What was happening was a dream. (It was implausible or something highly expected).
- The children’s pet went to heaven. (He died).
- His golden hair shone. (Her hair was blonde).
- Rivers of sadness flowed from his eyes. (She was crying).
- The first green shoots are already visible in the economy . (You see the first growth).
- His heart was a stone. (He was very harsh or insensitive).
- Your golden hair. (It resembles the blonde hair color)
- Cotton clouds. (Refers to the texture that clouds resemble)
- The hair of the sea. (To refer to the waves of the sea)
- The pearls of your mouth. (Refers to teeth)
- The news hit me. (Indicates that the news generated great astonishment or bewilderment)
- They have it under a magnifying glass. (Which is being watched carefully)
- Your eyes are black night. (The black color of the eyes)
- The eternal dream. (Death)
- Time is money. (Indicates how valuable time is)
- It broke my heart. (Refers to disappointment)
- His skin is third hair. (Soft skin)
- It broke my soul. (That generates sadness)
- It has nerves of steel. (Impulse and nerve control)
- Crocodile tears. (Indicates a fake cry)
- You are a sun. (What is a good person)
- This place is a paradise. (Indicates that the place is nice and pleasant)
- It is the flower of life. (Youth)
- His eyes are sapphires. (Refers to the blue color of the eyes)
- You opened the windows of your soul for me. (To refer to a sincere and pure look)
- The exam was a gift. (The test was easy to answer)
- Renata is a beast. (Indicates that he has a bad character)
- Your eyes are two stars. (Highlight the brightness of the eyes)
- Your heart is huge. (Refers to someone’s generosity)
- I’m crazy about her. (Indicates that he is very much in love)
- I feel butterflies in my stomach. (Refers to being in love)
- Run like lightning. (To indicate that it is very fast)
- It’s in the clouds. (It can indicate two things: that you are distracted or that you are at your best)
- Your voice is music to my ears. (Indicates that the tone of voice is pleasant)
- He cried rivers of tears. (Refers to long and effusive crying)
- His arms of steel. (Strong, muscular arms)
- Your lips, perfumed petals. (To refer to the taste of the lips)
- Ivory teeth. (To refer to the color of the teeth)
- He stole a smile from me. (Indicates that you gave someone a smile)
- It’s fuming. (Who is very upset)
- I have clean hands. (Indicates that you have not done anything wrong)
- Don’t steal any more time from me. (Refers to wasting time)
- You are like a dream. (Something that was imagined and has come true)
- On his birthday presents showered him. (Who received many gifts)
- The murmur of the river is heard. (It refers to the noise generated by the river water)
- Your chest drum is loud. (Heart beats)
- The lights of heaven. (The stars)
- Spring of joy. (Abundance of joy)
- You lead me on the road to Calvary. (Indicates that something generates displeasure or suffering)
- Her ivory body that glows in the afternoon sun. (The white color of the skin)
- It is that it walks by the walls. (Who is very nervous)
- Ramón is surfing the internet. (That is connected to the network)
- I lost the thread of the conversation. (Indicates that he was distracted during the conversation)
- Put the batteries. (Take courage)
- That boy is a lynx. (Which is very smart)
Metaphor Sentences in Poems
In the literary genre, metaphor is one of the most used rhetorical figures. Provides greater expressiveness and emotionality to descriptions of beings, objects, places and emotions.
While for competing with your hair,
burnished gold , the sun shines in vain,
while with contempt in the middle of the plain
look at your white forehead the beautiful lily ...
While for competing with your hair , Luis de Góngora.
In this example there are two simple metaphors. One refers to the bright blonde color of the hair, and another refers to the skin tone of a woman’s face.
The wind of anguish still carries them away.
Hurricanes of dreams still sometimes knock them down.
Poem V , Pablo Neruda.
This metaphor highlights the idea that there are a lot of dreams that come at the same time.
… That her hair is gold , her forehead fields elysees , her eyebrows arches from the sky , her eyes are sun , her pink cheeks , her coral lips , pearls, her teeth , alabaster her neck , marble her chest , ivory her hands , her white snow ...
Don Quixote , Miguel de Cervantes.
examples of simple metaphors that make comparisons between real and imaginary terms that resemble each other to enrich the beauty and aesthetics of literary language.
Daphne’s arms were already growing,
and in long bouquets he showed himself;
in green leaves I saw that they became
the hair that gold darken.
Sonnet XIII , Garcilaso de la Vega.
This metaphor refers to the dark blonde color of a woman’s hair.
The stream is born, snake
that is unleashed among flowers,
and scarcely, silver serpent,
among the flowers it breaks, ...
Life is a dream . Pedro Calderon de la Barca
metaphor that refers to the stream that rises in the shape of a snake surrounded by forest.
Metaphors in Sayings
105. Big fish eat small fish. (It refers to the fact that powerful people tend to defeat or dominate those of less power or dominance).
106. The walls hear. (Indicates that there may be people who are attentive to what is being said, in a discreet way and as a gossip)
107. Sleeping bird, late the bait enters its belly. (Refers to the lazy person).
108. He who does not run, flies. (Indicates that there is always someone attentive to take advantage or benefit of something)
109. Hey, God and his holy name, how many are saying: let that man be my husband! (Metaphor in which women invoke a divine being to find their lover.
20 Metaphor Sentences Examples for Kids (Boys and Girls) to learn, with explanation:
Next we are going to see different metaphors for children, explaining what they refer to and what is the connection between the imaginary and the real element . As expected, 20 are not all the metaphors that we can generate in Spanish. The creation of metaphors is an activity that has no limits and we can do as many as we want, the following being a few examples that, of course, will allow us to explain certain concepts to the little ones.
1. Feel like when the sky cries
When it rains, drops of water fall in a similar way to how our tears fall when we cry. This is a nice metaphor to say that we are sad and also useful , since not all children find it easy to say clearly how they feel, but it is more comfortable for them to use this type of metaphor.
2. Grandpa is a well of wisdom
Grandparents are people who have lived for many years and therefore have learned a lot. The well is that place where we extract water, therefore it is a source of this resource, in the same way that older people are sources of knowledge and wisdom .
3. Your father and you are two drops of water
The drops of water are practically the same. Saying two people are like two drops of water, that is to say that they are very similar, both physically and psychologically, whether in expressions, gestures, skin color or hair type. The metaphor of the two drops of water can be used to explain to children why they are so much like their fathers, mothers and siblings .
4. Time is gold
Gold is worth a lot, and so is time. This phrase helps them understand the importance of valuing time, of knowing how to occupy it both with useful activities and with what they like to do the most. Boys and girls must understand and learn to value every minute of their lives, since they will not happen again.
5. The sky is covered with cotton
This metaphor is one of the easiest to understand , since the resemblance between white clouds and cotton is evident, especially if it is a day with a slightly clear sky. The clouds form whimsical shapes like cotton fabric, stretching, becoming almost spherical, elongated…
6. The pearls in her mouth
A simple and poetic way of saying that a person has a beautiful white smile. The teeth appear in the mouth like the beautiful and shining pearls in a bivalve, capturing our attention and leaving us briefly enraptured.
7. The girl became a butterfly
In this metaphor a girl is compared to a butterfly. The real meaning of the expression is that the girl grew up into a young woman, just as caterpillars mature into butterflies.
8. The prairie was a bright green blanket
The prairie is a field of green grass, which in the morning can have drops of dew and be swayed by the gentle wind as if it were a mantle from Manila.
9. Being in the prime of life
The meaning of this sentence is to find oneself in youth . The plants grow until they form a flower, which then withers. It could be said that the plant is a flower in mid-life, as it happens in human youth. First we are children and adolescents, too immature people. Then we mature and reach young adulthood, a time full of opportunities and options. Progressively we become older, reaching old age, a period of withering.
10. His chest sounded like a drum
Here the real part is “chest” and the figurative part is “drum”. The person was so upset that his heart was beating very strongly, sounding like someone beating a drum very often, loud and intense.
11. Two emeralds shone in her eyes
Emeralds are green. To say that a person has two emeralds in his eyes is to say that those eyes had green irises.
12. Your voice is music to my ears
With this expression we are not saying that someone is serenading us, but that his voice is as pleasant as the most delicate and soft melody.
13. That boy is a beast
With the word beast we usually refer to wild, bad-tempered and bestial animals. To say that someone is a beast is to say that the nature of that person is like wild animals, indicating that they have a bad character.
14. The Sun of the night
The Sun is a star that only exists during the day and is considered a single entity, therefore, speaking of a night sun refers to the Moon, its counterpart and also a celestial body that illuminates the night sky. As a curiosity, this metaphor is also an oxymoron, that is, a phrase that is complemented by something that is contradictory (when there is sun it is not night, night is the absence of the Sun).
15. Lose a screw
Here the word “screw” is used in a figurative sense and comparing the human brain as if it were a machine, with various mechanisms that also have screws. When we say that someone loses a screw, we mean that his or her behavior is out of the ordinary for him or her, that is, as if the machine had short-circuited. Basically, it means that someone has gone crazy, that his brain is starting to fail.
16. Being between a rock and a hard place
This phrase is one of the most common metaphors and sayings in popular language . It implies that someone is in a situation that supposes a dilemma, between two extremes of which it is difficult to know very well what to choose. Whatever you choose does not give you options, it leaves you trapped in one way or another, like someone who literally finds himself with a sword in front of him and a wall behind him. Either there is no escape, or the decision you are about to make will inevitably have negative consequences.
17. Have low spirits
Let’s imagine that our spirits are like energy and that our body is a big battery. If we are happy, spirits will be high, perhaps even through the roof. On the other hand, if spirits are low, it is that the few energies we have will be found at the base of the pile, on the ground. Basically with this metaphor we say that someone is very sad and affected.
18. Steal a smile
The verb “steal” in its dictionary sense means to take something that is not ours, that does not belong to us. So how do you steal a smile? In this metaphor it is implied that a person has managed to make another smile, in an unexpected way, as is often the case with robberies. Thefts occur without giving permission, and in this case we say that we have stolen a smile from someone when we have made them smile without being asked.
19. Your friend is a big baby
In this expression the term “friend”, substitutable for any other word that refers to a person, is used in its literal sense while “baby” is the word that has the imaginary meaning. This phrase implies that someone, whether an older child, teenager, or even an adult, is behaving in a way that is inappropriate for her age , acting too childish and immature.
20. Being a donkey
In this case the word “donkey” is used in a figurative sense to indicate that someone, be it a child or an adult, is not understanding anything that is being said or is very ignorant, forgetful and clumsy. To tell someone that they are a donkey is to tell them that they are dumb, and it can be used both offensively and derisively.
Types of Metaphor Sentences
The most frequent types of metaphors are:
Pure Metaphor Sentence:
It arises when the imaginary term replaces the real one. For example: The twilight of his life had come.
Impure Metaphor Sentence:
It makes explicit reference to the two elements (the real and the imaginary), generally through some conjugated form of the verb “to be”. For example: His eyes were two stars.
Prepositional Metaphor Sentence:
Link the reference through a preposition (often the word “of”). For example: Her honey lips only spew sweet words.
Appositional Metaphor Sentence:
It supports the relationship between the concepts with an apposition (that is, with the term that refers to the imaginary object between commas). For example: The city, a concrete jungle, woke up.
Negative Metaphor Sentence:
It denies the real term and mentions the imaginary one or vice versa, but establishing the relationship for whoever reads it. For example: He is not an ogre, he is my father .
Figure of Speech
Metaphors are a type of figure of speech. In addition to the metaphors, in this group we find the comparison , the paradox , the rhetorical question and the hyperbole , among many others.
All figures of speech use words in a different sense from the ordinary one, that is, their dictionary definition, to give more emphasis to an idea or a feeling.
In the case of metaphors, they are relevant in many disciplines, and even in everyday life, but the area where this resource is most exploited is in literature . Particularly in poetry, the metaphor adds an indisputable aesthetic and emotional component.
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