metaphor

The most important figure of speech, in which one subject-matter (sometimes called the tenor) is referred to by a term or sentence (the vehicle) that does not literally describe it: the ship of state, the light of faith, etc. Philosophical problems include deciding how the border between literal and metaphorical meaning is to be drawn ( Nietzsche, for example, thought that literal truth was merely dead or fossilized metaphor), understanding how we interpret metaphors with the speed and certainty which we often manage, and deciding whether metaphors can themselves be vehicles of understanding, or whether they should be regarded only as signposts to literal truths and falsities about the subject-matter. Particular disputes in philosophy can also centre on the extent to which a phrase is metaphorical, as when philosophers talk about the foundations of knowledge, beliefs in the head, the goodness of God, or abstract objects. In a mixed metaphor, or catachresis, the combination of properties suggested becomes illogical or ridiculous, although even then interpretation need not fail, as when Hamlet contemplates taking up arms against a sea of troubles.

Philosophy dictionary. . 2011.

Synonyms:
(without the signs of comparison), (expressed in a word)


Look at other dictionaries:

  • metaphor — met a*phor (m[e^]t [.a]*f[^o]r or m[e^]t [.a]*f[ e]r), n. [F. m[ e]taphore, L. metaphora, fr. Gr. metafora , fr. metafe rein to carry over, transfer; meta beyond, over + fe rein to bring, bear.] (Rhet.) The transference of the relation between… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • metaphor — [met′ə fôr΄] n. [Fr métaphore < L metaphora < Gr < metapherein, to carry over < meta, over (see META ) + pherein, to BEAR1] a figure of speech containing an implied comparison, in which a word or phrase ordinarily and primarily used… …   English World dictionary

  • metaphor — index example Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • metaphor — (n.) late 15c., from M.Fr. metaphore (O.Fr. metafore, 13c.), and directly from L. metaphora, from Gk. metaphora a transfer, especially of the sense of one word to a different word, lit. a carrying over, from metapherein transfer, carry over;… …   Etymology dictionary

  • metaphor — simile, *analogy …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • metaphor — [n] figure of speech, implied comparison allegory, analogy, emblem, hope, image, metonymy, personification, similitude, symbol, trope; concept 275 Ant. plain speech …   New thesaurus

  • metaphor — ► NOUN 1) a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to something to which it is not literally applicable (e.g. food for thought). 2) a thing symbolic of something else. ORIGIN from Greek, from metapherein to transfer …   English terms dictionary

  • Metaphor — This article is about the figure of speech. For other uses, see Metaphor (disambiguation). A political cartoon from an 1894 Puck magazine by illustrator S.D. Ehrhart, shows a farm woman labeled Democratic Party sheltering from a tornado of… …   Wikipedia

  • metaphor — metaphorical /met euh fawr i keuhl, for /, metaphoric, adj. metaphorically, adv. metaphoricalness, n. /met euh fawr , feuhr/, n. 1. a figure of speech in which a term or phrase is applied to something to which it is not literally applicable in… …   Universalium

  • metaphor — noun ADJECTIVE ▪ appropriate, apt, good, perfect ▪ powerful, striking ▪ useful ▪ central …   Collocations dictionary

  • Metaphor — (Roget s Thesaurus) < N PARAG:Metaphor >N GRP: N 1 Sgm: N 1 figure of speech figure of speech Sgm: N 1 facon de parler facon de parler =>(French) way of speaking colloquialism GRP: N 2 Sgm: N 2 phrase phrase &c. 566 Sgm: N 2 …   English dictionary for students

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