Metaphor: Definition, Examples and Use

Are you familiar with the literary technique metaphor? In the realm of language, there are lots of techniques, devices and tools that are used to convey our thoughts in an aesthetical way. Among them it is a literary device, derived from Greek word metaphora which has its French origin, meaning carrying across or bringing across.

It is used for comparing two different ideas, emotions and things. In simple words it is a direct comparison between things. It plays important role in making the language beautiful and meaningful

Examples of metaphor; a beautiful literary device

All the world’s a stage,” from “As You Like It.” (Shakespeare ‘s line of world-famous poem)

Your life is an open book for me.

This technique presents Human expressions in a beautiful manner by connecting the unknown to known, abstract to concrete and blur image into vivid image. It enriches our emotions in communication. For example,

You are an angel.

Hannia’s eyes are diamonds.


It is a beautiful technique that is used in literature, science, and in everyday communication. It a tool of language that enhances language in writing and communication. It is an implicit comparison of two unlike things.

It provides the things in an aesthetical way. In literature it is used for evoking emotions and creating vivid imagery. Poets use it for presenting different ideas into their works in a unique way. In science it is used for experiments. It has wide use in communication as well. It provides depth of emotions and color to our communication.

Importance and use

Basically, it is a literary device and the writers used it in poetry, prose and other literary works for emphasis. Writers use it into their writings in order to emphasize or arouse human emotions. It gives color, depth, and beauty in any piece of writing. It is considered a source of intellectual development for readers.

It is not wrong to say that, this figure of speech is a life boon in literature. Emily Dickinson described in her poetry the fleeting nature with the use of it,

Hope is the thing with feathers,” where hope is likened to a bird,

In everyday discourse it evokes emotions. There are also some phrases that we can relate to business or communication like ” navigating rough water”

This devise is also used in science when scientist s compares two different things for experiments

Difference between metaphor and simile

However, there are some confusions between simile and it because they are used as a same way. It is true that both are poetic devices and are used for comparing two unlike things, but there is huge difference between them because simile is used by using the words like, as or than, for example.

In this condition it seems to him that ‘love is like a battlefield ‘

In other way we can say that it is an implicit or direct comparison between two unlike things, for example.

In this condition it seems to him that ‘love is a battlefield ‘ we can also note that helping verb is necessary while using it.


To conclude the whole discussion, we can say that metaphor is a powerful tool in literature for presenting emotions and arousing intellectual joy. It gives understanding of literature and stimulates our imagination. In science, art and communication it provides a new way to presents our thoughts and ideas. It enhances, improves and illuminates a language.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

It is a poetic device that is used for comparing two unfamiliar things.

Life is a rollercoaster.

Where is it used?

It is used in literary works, discourse and also some business phrases.

Simile is used with the help of words like, than and as. It is used by direct comparison between things.

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