#8 The meaning of “Metaphor”

It is one of those words that I am very fond of. “Métaphore” in French, “metaphora” in Latin and “metaphero” in Greek but what exactly does this word mean?

A metaphor is a figure of speech. Metaphors are the spices to a good biryani. (note: I just used a metaphor). Metaphors are extremely well-liked by writers or poets and you will often find them in stories and poems. Quite simply, metaphors offer a creative way to express something by literally using another. Metaphors can often be used to describe something complex in a relatable and arguably easy manner. They are not meant to be taken to be taken literally, like my earlier sentence for example. A metaphor is neither a spice nor do we put it in biryani now, do we? But you got the idea and that is the beauty of using metaphors in your writings.

Another example would the sentence “Let’s address the elephant in the room”. Now unless we are in a zoo, I would assume that the person who said this did not mean addressing to an elephant literally but rather the issue at hand.

Here’s the extract of one of my thoughts (a rough one that I have yet to finish before I post the whole thing) and the last example to make my point on metaphors:

“I am a broken leaf of the old tree

Unlikely to stay near the tree

I am a gliding leaf guided by the wind

Unlikely to know his destination

I am a drifting leaf guided by the river

Unlikely to go against the water”

Did you like it or did it feel relatable?, please let your views and I will try to finish and post it soon.

Metaphors are fairly easy to recognize albeit sometimes it may become confusing especially with “similes” involved. A simile is also a figure of speech quite similar to metaphors. The main difference is that a metaphor implies one thing to be another, a simile on the other hands makes a comparison of one thing to another.

Confused? Here’s some side by side to help distinguish:

Metaphor 1: Metaphors are the spices to a good biryani

Simile 1: Metaphors are like the spices to a good biryani


Metaphor 2: I am a broken leaf of the old tree

Simile 2: I am similar to a broken leaf of the old tree


Metaphor 3: I am a gliding leaf guided by the wind

Simile 3: I am like a gliding leaf guided by the wind

So yeah, you can use metaphors and similes interchangeably depending on your preference. As far as I know, both similes and metaphors are present and used in all languages whether English, French, Spanish, Creole, Hindi, Urdu, Mandarin etc. Metaphors and similes make language even more beautiful and allow a richer form of expression. Isn’t that a beautiful?



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