What Is a Metaphor?

What is a Metaphor? Below you’ll find the definition of metaphor, metaphor examples, and the tools needed to understand how to use these in language and writing.

A metaphor is a kind of figurative language that compares two different things or ideas. Unlike a simile, a metaphor makes this comparison without using the words “like” or “as.” Sometimes with a metaphor, the two things or ideas in that metaphor will be very much like one another and other times, they will be different.

Writers can use an individual metaphor to enhance their sentences, but they can also create a larger metaphor that they’ll use a piece of writing to fully explore. In this resource, we’ll focus on the individual metaphor, including tips on how to use and identify such a metaphor as well as important examples.

How Do You Identify What a Metaphor is in Writing?

The metaphor is very similar to another form of figurative language, simile. The primary difference between a what is metaphor and a what is a simile is that when you write a simile, you use the words “like” or “as” to create the comparison between two different things. To identify a metaphor, simply notice anytime you see a thing, person, object, idea, place or feeling being described by being equated to something else. For example, the following metaphor: “She was a tall tree.” The person being described is not literally a tree; the writer is using a metaphor to allow us to understand that she is a very tall individual.

When to Use Metaphor in Your Writing

What is a metaphor?

A metaphor can make your writing more engaging and exciting for the reader. You want to strike the right balance between finding an interesting connection for the metaphor and still making the metaphor clear. Be specific and clear in your metaphor and the metaphor will add a lot of richness.

The metaphor is wonderful to use in poetry and more lyrical prose writing, such as narratives, descriptive essays or short stories. You can also try using a metaphor occasionally in a piece of nonfiction writing in order to better gain your audience’s attention or make a point in a creative way.

Metaphor Examples

Metaphor Examples

So what does a metaphor actually look like? Read on for 10 metaphor examples in use, and then click the link below for our complete resource of metaphor examples.

  • What is a Metaphor #1) My mother is both the queen and the president.
  • What is a Metaphor #2) The day off from school was a golden ticket to freedom.
  • What is a Metaphor #3) Her face is the sun, and I’m a cloudy day.
  • What is a Metaphor #4) He’s a real cool cat.
  • What is a Metaphor #5) America is a melting pot.
  • What is a Metaphor #6) His solution to the problem was just a Band-Aid.
  • What is a Metaphor #7) The long afternoons of detention were a prison sentence.
  • What is a Metaphor #8) If you’re too scared to use the diving board, then you must be a chicken.
  • What is a Metaphor #9) My dad’s car is an old, loud dinosaur.
  • What is a Metaphor #10) The children’s laughter was music to my ears.

Check out more Metaphor Examples

Further Reading

For additional on what is a metaphor, metaphor examples or a metaphor definition, including metaphor examples from works of literature, please visit our Metaphor Examples resource.

Check out our free, printable Metaphor Worksheets too!