What is metaphor

12 Types of Metaphor with Examples | Metaphor Vs Simile

Metaphor Definition

Metaphor is a figure of speech where we compare two unrelated or different things. These two things must have one thing in common. In simile we use as, so, like, but in metaphor, we do not use these words.

For example

  • Our soldiers are as brave as lion. (simile)
  • Our soldiers are the lion. (metaphor)

What is a metaphor?

A metaphor shows that one thing is another thing. It is a form of figurative language. Metaphors are used in poetry, literature and any time someone adds color to their meaning. These are also found in music, writing, and in everyday speech.


We cannot avoid metaphors. Here are examples of metaphors,

  1. Life is a dream.
  2. She is a shining star.
  3. Time is money.
  4. Julia is a pion.
  5. Her heart is a rock.
  6. All the world is a stage.
  7. Her eyes were fireflies.
  8. Her voice is music to his ears. (This shows that her voice makes him feel happy)
  9.  Laughter is the best medicine.
  10. Camel is the ship of the desert.
  11. Life is not a bed of roses.
  12. The news was the dagger for him.
  13. The classroom was a zoo.
  14. Their home was the prison.
  15. She was sleeping beauty.
  16. The sun was a beautiful flower in the sky.
  17. The pizza is a fire.

In metaphor quality is missing. Metaphors are indirect comparison.

simile vs metaphor
simile vs metaphor

Metaphor Vs Simile

A comparison between two different things.A comparison between two different things.
Similes use connecting words as like and ‘as’Metaphors do not use connecting words.
To point a picture and give an example.To point a picture for the reader.
Similes make explicit comparisonsMetaphors make implicit comparison
Bob is a brave lion.
The pizza is as hot as a fire.
Life is like a dream.
She is like an angel.
Life is like a box of chocolates.  
Bob is a lion.
The pizza is a fire.
Life is a dream.
She is an angel.
Life is a box of chocolates.
Metaphor Vs Simile
12 Types of Metaphor with Examples
12 Types of Metaphor with Examples

Types of Metaphors

There are many types of metaphors to point metaphorical pictures. Summary is;

  1. Primary Metaphors
  2. Complex Metaphors
  3. Mixed Metaphors
  4. Dead Metaphors
  5. Creative Metaphors
  6. Extended Metaphors
  7. Conceptual Metaphors
  8. Implied Metaphors
  9. Root Metaphors
  10. Visual Metaphors
  11. Organizational Metaphors
  12. Submerged Metaphors

1 – Primary Metaphors

The most basic type of metaphors is the primary metaphor. Primary metaphors are used in daily life speech and studies. For example,

  • Life is a dream

In this metaphor, two different things are compared, so the meaning is very clear.

2 – Complex Metaphors

Grouping of primary metaphors is called complex metaphors. In these metaphors, we compare two or more things. For example,

  • Her eyes caught the melody and reflected it in radiance.

This sentence is composed of two metaphors (i) eyes caught the melody, and (ii) eyes reflected the melody in radiance.

3 – Mixed Metaphors

Mixed metaphors are distant for comedy. They intentionally combine two metaphors that are inappropriate/silly.


After getting this job, I am flying high and into the valleys of happiness.

4 – Dead Metaphors

A dead metaphor is a metaphor that has the spellbound fundamental image of its meaning due to repetitive and popular use.


The thread flew through the eye of the needle.

5 – Creative Metaphors

Creative metaphor is an original difference that calls plan to itself as a figure of speech.


She is a shining star.

6 – Extended Metaphors

Extended metaphor is a comparison between two different things that carry throughout the cycle of sentences in a paragraph of a poem.


Dickson days,

Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul,

and sings the tune — what the words,

and never stops at all,

7 – Conceptual Metaphors

In conceptual metaphor one though is implicit in conditions of a different.


Argument is war.

8 – Implied Metaphors

An implied metaphor is a metaphor that compares two different things without bring up one of them.


My dad is my rock.

9 – Root Metaphors

Root metaphor is directly interrelated to people, culture, characteristics, and perception of life.


Life as journey.

10 – Visual Metaphors

A visual metaphor is an image that the viewer is meant to understand as a symbol for something else. It is also the representation of a person, place, thing, or thought by a visual image.

11 – Organizational Metaphors

Organizational metaphor is a comparison used to define the fundamental aspects of an institute and describe its method of operation.


12 – Submerged Metaphors

Submerged metaphor is a type of metaphor in which one of the terms is indirect fairly than acknowledged explicitly.


Metaphors in songs

“I am Titanium” by David Guetta & Sia Tribute

I’m bullet proof, nothing to lose
Fire away, fire away
Ricochet, you take your aim
Fire away, fire away
You shoot me down, but I won’t fall
I am titanium
You shoot me down, but I won’t fall
I am Titanium

Metaphors in Poetry

Example No.1

“The Sun Rising” by John Donne

She is all states, and all prices, I
Nothing else is. Prices do but play us,
Compared to this,
All honour’s mimic, all wealth alchemy.

Example No.2

“The Road Not Taken” by Robert Forest

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
An be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth,

Metaphors are used in many types of poetry.

Metaphors in Literature

Metaphors are used in all types of literature. Metaphor poem is composed of complex images and feelings to readers. These are some examples of metaphorical literature.

Example No.1

“Paradise Lost, Book 1” by John Milton

“Invoke thy aid to my adventurous song,
That with no middle flight intends to soar.
Above the Aonian Mount”

This is a good metaphorical by John Milton from his book Paradise Lost wherein he has compared his poetry to love.

Example No.2

“The Sun Rising” by John Donne

“Busy old fool, unruly sun,
Why dost thou thus,
Through windows, and through
curtains call on us”

A poem by John Donne. He is a metaphysical poet and famous for his use of metaphors.

Example No.3

“Romeo & Juliet” by William Shakespeare

“But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun”

In this paragraph, William Shakespeare used metaphors to describe peoples in an unexpected way.

Example No.4

“When Thou Hath Done” by John Donne

“When thou weep’st, unkindly kind,
My life’s blood doth decay
When a tear falls,
That thou false which it bore,
Here lies a she-sun and a he-moon there,
All woman shall adore us,
and some men.” 

This stanza gives a special character to Donne’s metaphysical poetry.

Example No.5

“The Storm” by Kate Chopin
“Her mouth was a fountain of delight.”

Purpose & Function of Metaphors

From the above explanations, we can easily infer the function and purpose of metaphors, both in our daily speech and literature.

Metaphors are a way of thinking, allows listeners and readers to understand the idea or thought. And, even though metaphors are amplification they are only amplified to paint a clear picture.

Further Reading

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