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metaphor

A figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable. Recorded from the late 15th century, the word comes via French and ...

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A Dictionary of Media and Communication (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016
Subject:
Media studies
Length:
379 words

...progress . Although closely associated with poetic language (where fresh poetic metaphors perform a defamiliarization function), metaphors are not only heavily used in advertising ( see also pictorial metaphor ), but conventional metaphors permeate everyday language ( see also dead metaphor ). George Lakoff and Mark Johnson have argued that conceptual metaphors frame our thinking. While facilitating certain ways of thinking about a phenomenon, a particular metaphor may also inhibit other ways of thinking about it: see also Sapir–Whorf...

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The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015

...metaphor to create new combinations of ideas is a major feature of poetry , although it is quite possible to write poems without metaphors. Much of our everyday language is also made up of metaphorical words and phrases that pass unnoticed as ‘dead’ metaphors, like the branch of an organization. A mixed metaphor is one in which the combination of qualities suggested is illogical or ridiculous ( see also catachresis ), usually as a result of trying to apply two metaphors to one thing: those vipers stabbed us in the back . Modern analysis of metaphors...

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The Oxford Companion to Philosophy (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2005
Subject:
Philosophy
Length:
452 words

...of a metaphor. Metaphors are interpreted and they are interpreted differently by different readers and hearers. Consequently, the idea that there can be a literal paraphrase of a metaphor which preserves its sense is no longer widely held, for such a literal paraphrase would have to command common agreement as expressing what the metaphor means. A powerful metaphor like Macbeth's ‘sleep that knits up the ravell'd sleave of care’ invites us to join in an exploration of points of similarity and difference. Black, in a later paper, speaks of metaphors as...

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The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010
Subject:
Philosophy
Length:
1,432 words

...attending to metaphor's place in community language and perception, contemporary British philosophy is, in a way, returning to Aristotle's understanding of metaphor as an essential component of rhetoric and civic discourse, and is thus demonstrating a more classical appreciation of metaphor. Bibliography Aristotle , On Poetics and On Rhetoric (Book III). Black, Max , ‘Metaphor’, in Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 1954–5 (1955), pp.273–94. ——, ‘More about Metaphor’, in Dialectica , vol.31 (1977), pp.431–57. Cooper, David E. , Metaphor (Oxford,...

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World Encyclopedia

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2004
Subject:
Encyclopedias
Length:
49 words

... Figure of speech that draws a comparison. It differs from ordinary comparisons in its inventiveness, and from a simile in the complexity of the idea expressed. ‘Fleece as white as snow’, is a simile, whereas ‘His political life was a constant swimming against the tide’, is a metaphor...

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Encyclopedia of Semiotics

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2007
Subject:
Language reference, Linguistics
Length:
2,371 words

...as well. This means that metaphor theorists are increasingly aware that examples of the a ‐is‐ b type might fail to do justice to the ways in which metaphors are embedded in a text. They might also realize that the study of metaphor inevitably involves pragmatics. One of the reasons why metaphor had long been neglected by philosophy and the sciences is that metaphors are literally false. Under the influence of logical positivism, often only true statements were seen as contributing anything to human knowledge, and metaphor was hence regarded by many as...

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The Oxford Dictionary of Sports Science & Medicine (3 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2007

... A descriptive phrase or term applied to an object or to a phenomenon to which it does not literally denote. Metaphors are used extensively in science and are of great value in suggesting new relationships or new explanatory mechanisms, but there are problems when they are interpreted too literally or when they are not supported by objective evidence. See also model...

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The Oxford Companion to English Literature (7 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2009
Subject:
Literature
Length:
114 words

... Description of one thing (or person, idea, feeling, action, etc.) in terms properly belonging to another, with the suggestion (rather than explicit likening, as in simile ) that they share some common quality, as in reference to a person as ‘an angel’ or to the act of ‘devouring’ a book. One of the most powerful of figurative expressions, it is also commonplace and in the case of so-called ‘dead’ metaphors (e.g. the ‘branch’ of a bank) may go almost unnoticed. Analysis of metaphors distinguishes a literal element (the ‘tenor’) from a figurative...

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The Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2013
Subject:
Literature
Length:
114 words

... Description of one thing (or person, idea, feeling, action, etc.) in terms properly belonging to another, with the suggestion (rather than explicit likening, as in simile ) that they share some common quality, as in reference to a person as ‘an angel’ or to the act of ‘devouring’ a book. One of the most powerful of figurative expressions, it is also commonplace and in the case of so-called ‘dead’ metaphors (e.g. the ‘branch’ of a bank) may go almost unnoticed. Analysis of metaphors distinguishes a literal element (the ‘tenor’) from a figurative element...

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The Oxford Companion to the Mind (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2006
Subject:
Science and technology, Psychology, Philosophy
Length:
2,366 words

...even if what a metaphor expresses may have been more or less expressible without the metaphor, its use may be more economical and hence more effective than the long list of predicates that it entails. The relationship between metaphors and similarity is a complex one. Without having to commit oneself to one of the various theories about how metaphors work, it is apparent that at some level, and in some way, metaphors capitalize on a similarity between the term used metaphorically (the vehicle) and the thing that the metaphor is a metaphor for. Thus, even...

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Australian Law Dictionary (3 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2018
Subject:
Law
Length:
203 words

...pointed out), or dead (so habitual as to be effectively invisible). Because metaphors carry meaning, which has two senses (reference and value significance) stereotyping can be smuggled into communication, using metaphor’s ‘truth-carrying’ aspect. For example ‘blight’ is an arboreal metaphor (blight being a disease of plants) frequently invoked in the context of urban planning (‘urban blight’) to justify urban renewal (a political goal); the value-laden character of the word ‘blight’ disguises the fact that renewal involves dislocation of people, not...

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A Dictionary of Epidemiology (6 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016

...Metaphor A word, image, expression, concept, or symbol used as a cultural and cognitive device to convey or comprehend an idea—sometimes an abstract or complex scientific concept. In epidemiology, a classic example is the “ Web Of Causation .” Metaphors are important in many scientific and professional endeavors, including many epidemiology-related activities (e.g., Health promotion, risk assessment , risk communication); and, of course, in teaching epidemiology. 38 , 104 , 105 , 106 , 108 , 290 , 363 , 364 , 406 , 455 , 456 , ...

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A Dictionary of Critical Theory

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010

... A figure in rhetoric in which the meaning of one word is transferred onto and in a certain sense combined with that of another. It is constructed in the same manner as a simile, but the comparative terms ‘like’ and ‘as’ are removed. So instead of saying ‘that man behaves like a pig’ one says ‘that man is a pig’ and in so doing the attributes of the pig (generally the disagreeable ones) are transposed onto the man. Metaphors can also take extended forms, from a few a paragraphs to entire books— Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness ( 1902 ), for...

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A Dictionary of Geography (5 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015

... Geographers are interested in the metaphors people use to explain their perception of a place or a process. For example, Hulme (2012) TIBG 37, 3, 346 looks at some of the ways in which writers, geographers, and artists have imagined the island of Cuba. He quotes A. Gaztambide-Geigel (1996) in imagining Cuba as a key; ‘if the American continent lies behind the door of its eastern coastline, then Cuba—the largest island in the Caribbean—looks as if it’s being inserted into the lock’. This metaphor partly explains the US thinking behind the Cuban...

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A Dictionary of Critical Theory (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2018

... A figure in rhetoric in which the meaning of one word is transferred onto and in a certain sense combined with that of another. It is constructed in the same manner as a simile, but the comparative terms ‘like’ and ‘as’ are removed. So instead of saying ‘that man behaves like a pig’ one says ‘that man is a pig’ and in so doing the attributes of the pig (generally the disagreeable ones) are transposed onto the man. Metaphors can also take extended forms, from a few a paragraphs to entire books— Joseph Conrad ’s Heart of Darkness ( 1902 ), for...

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Encyclopedia of Aesthetics

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2008
Subject:
Art & Architecture, Philosophy
Length:
14,764 words
Illustration(s):
1

... To explore the role of metaphor in aesthetic theory and art, this entry comprises five essays: An Overview Metaphor and Philosophy of Language Metaphor and Nonverbal Arts Metaphor and Art History Derrida and de Man on Metaphor The first essay is an overview of different philosophical approaches to the topic of metaphor. The next four essays represent in more depth at least five of these approaches. The differences are due both to disciplinary concerns—philosophy of language (second essay) as compared to art history (fourth essay)—and to differences...

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A Dictionary of Public Health (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2018

...metaphor A word, image, expression, concept, or symbol used as a cognitive and narrative device to cope with, convey, evoke, or comprehend an event, emotion, idea, or concept. For instance, the relative importance of the genome DNA nucleotide sequence and the role of gene-environment interactions for gene expression has been likened to jazz musicians playing a jazz score. In public health , classic examples are the iceberg phenomenon and the “web of causation.” Metaphors are important in some scientific and professional endeavors, including many clinical,...

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Encyclopedia of Rhetoric

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2006
Subject:
Language reference, Linguistics
Length:
1,832 words

... . A metaphor (Lat. translatio ) is a metasememe that is constituted by a substitution of similarities. If it is regarded as a semantic master trope comprising all possible relations of similarity, then hyperbolē, irony, and allegory may also be considered as signifying a metaphoric relationship ( Plett , 2000 , p. 183). [ See Allegory ; Hyperbolē ; and Irony .] The classical tradition described metaphor in syntactic as well as in semantic terms. Following Aristotle ( 384–322 bce ), who had emphasized the kinship between metaphor and simile in...

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The Oxford Companion to the English Language (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2018
Subject:
Language reference, History of English, Linguistics
Length:
1,546 words

...metaphor, from a source to a target through a correspondence or mapping. Lakoff & Johnson’s ( 1980 ) book Metaphors We Live By examined how conceptual metaphors are used in everyday language. For example, an argument is like a war, as in The journalist attacked every point made by the politician . Description When introducing students to the idea of metaphor, teachers have generally adopted the approach of the Roman rhetorician Quintilian (1C ad ), using the simpler figure simile ( He fought like a lion ) as a way in to the more complex metaphor ( He...

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A Dictionary of Human Geography

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2013
Subject:
Social sciences, Human Geography
Length:
295 words

...metaphors sometimes need to be closely scrutinized because of the partial and particular ways in which they represent the world to listeners or readers. For example, Cindi Katz and Neil Smith drew critical attention to the overtly geographical metaphors used during human geography’s ‘cultural turn’ during the 1990s. During this turn much emphasis was given to marginalized, subaltern, or oppressed people, and the talk was of the ‘positionality’, ‘locatedness’, and ‘situatedness’ of all perspectives on reality. Katz and Smith suggested that these metaphors,...

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