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Related: figure of speech - saying - language - symbolism - translation - trope - linguistics


  1. A figure of speech in which a word or phrase that ordinarily designates one thing is used to designate another, thus making an implicit comparison, as in “a sea of troubles” or “All the world's a stage” (Shakespeare).
  2. One thing conceived as representing another; a symbol: “Hollywood has always been an irresistible, prefabricated metaphor for the crass, the materialistic, the shallow, and the craven” (Neal Gabler). --American Heritage Dictionary


Many consider metaphor to be at the heart of poetry (or even to define in part what it means to be human): the figure of speech that links dissimilar objects for their resemblance. For example, Emily Dickinson uses "the white assassin" as a metaphor for frost. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metaphor [May 2004]


Originally, metaphor was a Greek word meaning "transfer". The Greek etymology is from meta, implying "a change" and pherein meaning "to bear, or carry". Thus, the word metaphor itself has a metaphorical meaning in English, "a transfer of meaning from one thing to another". --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metaphor [May 2004]

Mac versus DOS

[Umberto] Eco was the guy behind that unforgettable Mac versus DOS metaphor. That in one of his weekly columns he first mused upon the "software schism" dividing users of Macintosh and DOS operating systems. Mac, he posited, is Catholic, with "sumptuous icons" and the promise of offering everybody the chance to reach the Kingdom of Heaven ("or at least the moment when your document is printed") by following a series of easy steps. DOS, on the other hand, is Protestant: "it allows free interpretation of scripture, demands difficult personal decisions ... and takes for granted that not all can reach salvation." Following this logic, Windows becomes "an Anglican-style schism - big ceremonies in the cathedral, but with the possibility of going back secretly to DOS in order to modify just about anything you like." (Asked to embellish the metaphor, Eco calls Windows 95 "pure unadulterated Catholicism. Already Windows 3.1 was more than Anglican - it was Anglo-Catholic, keeping a foot in both camps. But Windows 95 goes all the way: six Hail Marys and how about a little something for the Mother Church in Seattle.") -- Lee Marshall, The World According to Eco, Wired Magazine, Issue 5.03 | Mar 1997

Metaphors We Live by () - George Lakoff, Mark Johnson

Metaphors We Live by () - George Lakoff, Mark Johnson [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

See entry for George Lakoff

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