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Metaphor Examples

A metaphor is a comparison between two unlike things not using the word like or as. Metaphors can be powerful, but they can also be tricky to identify at times. This page contains 100 metaphor examples.

Metaphor
Comparing two unlike things WITHOUT using the word like or as.

I have separated the metaphors on this page into two lists. The first list contains metaphors that are easier to comprehend and identify. We will call these “easy metaphors,” though they may not be easy to understand. The second list contains fifty metaphors that are more difficult to comprehend. We will call these “hard metaphors.” Another way to consider this would be as a list of metaphors for kids and adults. Without further preamble, here is the list of easy metaphors:

Metaphor Examples for Intermediate Readers

The slashes indicate line breaks.

  1. The detective listened to her tales with a wooden face.
  2. She was fairly certain that life was a fashion show.
  3. The typical teenage boy’s room is a disaster area.
  4. What storms then shook the ocean of my sleep.
  5. The children were roses grown in concrete gardens, beautiful and forlorn.
  6. Kisses are the flowers of love in bloom.
  7. His cotton candy words did not appeal to her taste.
  8. Kathy arrived at the grocery store with an army of children.
  9. Her eyes were fireflies.
  10. He wanted to set sail on the ocean of love but he just wasted away in the desert.
  11. I was lost in a sea of nameless faces.
  12. John’s answer to the problem was just a Band-Aid, not a solution.
  13. The cast on Michael’s broken leg was a plaster shackle.
  14. Cameron always had a taste for the fruit of knowledge.
  15. The promise between us was a delicate flower.
  16. He’s a rolling stone, and it’s bred in the bone.
  17. He pleaded for her forgiveness but Janet’s heart was cold iron.
  18. She was just a trophy to Ricardo, another object to possess.
  19. The path of resentment is easier to travel than the road to forgiveness.
  20. Katie’s plan to get into college was a house of cards on a crooked table.
  21. The wheels of justice turn slowly.
  22. Hope shines–a pebble in the gloom.
  23. She cut him down with her words.
  24. The job interview was a rope ladder dropped from heaven.
  25. Her hair was a flowing golden river streaming down her shoulders.
  26. The computer in the classroom was an old dinosaur.
  27. Laughter is the music of the soul.
  28. David is a worm for what he did to Shelia.
  29. The teacher planted the seeds of wisdom.
  30. Phyllis, ah, Phyllis, my life is a gray day
  31. Each blade of grass was a tiny bayonet pointed firmly at our bare feet.
  32. The daggers of heat pierced through his black t-shirt.
  33. Let your eyes drink up that milkshake sky.
  34. The drums of time have rolled and ceased.
  35. Her hope was a fragile seed.
  36. When Ninja Robot Squad came on TV, the boys were glued in their seats.
  37. Words are the weapons with which we wound.
  38. She let such beautiful pearls of wisdom slip from her mouth without even knowing.
  39. Scars are the roadmap to the soul.
  40. The quarterback was throwing nothing but rockets and bombs in the field.
  41. We are all shadows on the wall of time.
  42. My heart swelled with a sea of tears.
  43. When the teacher leaves her little realm, she breaks her wand of power apart.
  44. The Moo Cow’s tail is a piece of rope all raveled out where it grows.
  45. My dreams are flowers to which you are a bee.
  46. The clouds sailed across the sky.
  47. Each flame of the fire is a precious stone belonging to all who gaze upon it.
  48. And therefore I went forth with hope and fear into the wintry forest of our life.
  49. My words are chains of lead.
  50. But into her face there came a flame; / I wonder could she have been thinking the same?

Metaphor Examples for Advanced Readers

Here are fifty more challenging examples of metaphors. The slashes indicate line breaks.

  1. The light flows into the bowl of the midnight sky, violet, amber and rose.
  2. Men court not death when there are sweets still left in life to taste.
  3. In capitalism, money is the life blood of society but charity is the soul.
  4. Whose world is but the trembling of a flare, / And heaven but as the highway for a shell,
  5. Fame is the fragrance of heroic deeds, / Of flowers of chivalry and not of weeds!
  6. So I sit spinning still, round this decaying form, the fine threads of rare and subtle thought.
  7. And swish of rope and ring of chain /
    Are music to men who sail the main.
  8. Still sits the school-house by the road, a ragged beggar sunning.
  9. The child was our lone prayer to an empty sky.
  10. Blind fools of fate and slaves of circumstance, / Life is a fiddler, and we all must dance.
  11. Grind the gentle spirit of our meek reviews into a powdery foam of salt abuse.
  12. Laugh a drink from the deep blue cup of sky.
  13. Think now: history has many cunning passages and contrived corridors.
  14. You are now in London, that great sea whose ebb and flow at once is deaf and loud,
  15. His fine wit makes such a wound that the knife is lost in it.
  16. Waves of spam emails inundated his inbox.
  17. In my heart’s temple I suspend to thee these votive wreaths of withered memory.
  18. He cast a net of words in garish colours wrought to catch the idle buzzers of the day.
  19. This job is the cancer of my dreams and aspirations.
  20. This song shall be thy rose, soft, fragrant, and with no thorn left to wound thy bosom.
  21. There, one whose voice was venomed melody.
  22. A sweetness seems to last amid the dregs of past sorrows.
  23. So in this dimmer room which we call life,
  24. Life is the night with its dream-visions teeming, / Death is the waking at day.
  25. Then the lips relax their tension
    and the pipe begins to slide, /
    Till in little clouds of ashes,
    it falls softly at his side.
  26. The olden days: when thy smile to me was wine, golden wine thy word of praise.
  27. Thy tones are silver melted into sound.
  28. Under us the brown earth / Ancient and strong, / The best bed for wanderers;
  29. Love is a guest that comes, unbidden, / But, having come, asserts his right;
  30. My House of Life is weather-stained with years.
  31. See the sun, far off, a shriveled orange in a sky gone black;
  32. Three pines strained darkly, runners in a race unseen by any.
  33. But the rare herb, Forgetfulness, it hides away from me.
  34. The field of cornflower yellow is a scarf at the neck of the copper sunburned woman
  35. Life: a lighted window and a closed door.
  36. Some days my thoughts are just cocoons hanging from dripping branches in the grey woods of my mind.
  37. Men and women pass in the street glad of the shining sapphire weather.
  38. The swan existing is a song with an accompaniment.
  39. At night the lake is a wide silence, without imagination.
  40. The cherry-trees are seas of bloom and soft perfume and sweet perfume.
  41. The great gold apples of light hang from the street’s long bough, dripping their light on the faces that drift below, on the faces that drift and blow.
  42. From its blue vase the rose of evening drops.
  43. When in the mines of dark and silent thought / Sometimes I delve and find strange fancies there,
  44. The twigs were set beneath a veil of willows.
  45. He clutched and hacked at ropes, at rags of sail, / Thinking that comfort was a fairy tale,
  46. O Moon, your light is failing and you are nothing now but a bow.
  47. Life is a dream in the night, a fear among fears, / A naked runner lost in a storm of spears.
  48. This world of life is a garden ravaged.
  49. And therefore I went forth, with hope and fear / Into the wintry forest of our life;
  50. My soul was a lampless sea and she was the tempest.

Common Core State Standards Related to Metaphor

Anchor Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.4 – Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.L.5 – Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.

View All CCSS Standards Related to Metaphor
ELA Standards: Literature

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.3.4 – Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, distinguishing literal from nonliteral language.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.4 – Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including those that allude to significant characters found in mythology (e.g., Herculean).

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.4 – Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.4 – Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.4 – Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of rhymes and other repetitions of sounds (e.g., alliteration) on a specific verse or stanza of a poem or section of a story or drama.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.4 – Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4 – Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language evokes a sense of time and place; how it sets a formal or informal tone).

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.4 – Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including words with multiple meanings or language that is particularly fresh, engaging, or beautiful. (Include Shakespeare as well as other authors.)

ELA Standards: Language

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.3.5 – Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships and nuances in word meanings.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.4.5a – Explain the meaning of simple similes and metaphors (e.g., as pretty as a picture) in context.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.4.5b – Recognize and explain the meaning of common idioms, adages, and proverbs.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.5.5a – Interpret figurative language, including similes and metaphors, in context.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.5.5b – Recognize and explain the meaning of common idioms, adages, and proverbs.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.6.5a – Interpret figures of speech (e.g., personification) in context.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.7.5a – Interpret figures of speech (e.g., literary, biblical, and mythological allusions) in context.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.8.5a – Interpret figures of speech (e.g. verbal irony, puns) in context.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.5a – Interpret figures of speech (e.g., euphemism, oxymoron) in context and analyze their role in the text.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.5a – Interpret figures of speech (e.g., hyperbole, paradox) in context and analyze their role in the text.

View Source
Common Core Lesson and Unit Plans
Understanding Common Core State Standards

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505 Comments

  1. benette

     /  August 5, 2016

    Hi Sir , hope you can help me on my daughter’s assignment . I will write a sentence about the pictures using the given figure of speech.
    Can I send you an email with attachment of pictures. Thank you very much and god bless

    Reply
  2. The fact I can get

     /  August 3, 2016

    Isn’t a metaphor like a simile but you don’t say like?

    Reply
    • Yeah, that’s pretty much it. I’ve seen people attempt more elaborate definitions, but the way you said it is the definition that I accept.

      Reply
  3. RJ

     /  August 2, 2016

    Great! Loved it.

    Reply
  4. Hanako_v04

     /  July 26, 2016

    do you know a metaphor that can describe someone as passionate, or bubbly, or persistent (preferably passionate) that compares to something about gardens? I am out of ideas and although I have a few metaphors already, none of them include gardening eg. she’s a rough diamond, precious and bright but blurred around the edges.
    Thanks

    Reply
  5. Hanako_v04

     /  July 26, 2016

    What is a metaphor that describes a passionate, persistent, bubbly lady? Preferably something about gardening. I already have a few but they do not include gardening, eg. – As bold as brass
    – A rough diamond
    – A live wire
    – Don’t judge a book by its cover
    Can you think of any?
    Thanks

    Reply
  6. surayya sakhi

     /  July 17, 2016

    Hi would this be a metaphor
    ” The three formed an electrical chain”
    please of you can help me

    Reply
  7. phenomenal

     /  July 16, 2016

    study and learn similar simile and metaphor to pass in ENGLISH LANGUAGE …….

    Reply
  8. Neglyn Lunga

     /  July 13, 2016

    Yes, am looking out for words to formulate test questions and am very pleased to have this. It will give me more insights to develop test items. Thanks for your great work.

    Reply
  9. Roger Zhang

     /  July 12, 2016

    I know how men in exile feed on dreams.
    Is this a metaphor?

    Reply
  10. Patricia Harrison

     /  July 3, 2016

    Is “tress bent by the wind were slingshots that threatened released at any moment with disastrous consequences” a metaphor?

    Reply
  11. beryl

     /  July 3, 2016

    Really helped me do my assignment

    Reply
  12. p.b.

     /  July 3, 2016

    please send me a metaphor realted to failure, hatred,

    Reply
  13. sivakumar

     /  July 2, 2016

    really, this page is very usefull for all.sivakumar

    Reply
  14. caroline

     /  July 1, 2016

    We are requested to write metaphor on our client the whole process. By the way I’m a consilor

    Reply
  15. Cris anne abapo

     /  June 30, 2016

    This is so good for me

    Reply
  16. YIC

     /  June 27, 2016

    When she found out my heart was made of glass, she shattered it to pieces… Please is this a metaphor?

    Reply
  17. ches

     /  June 27, 2016

    what is methaphor for ” lack of means”

    Reply
  18. Lungi

     /  June 25, 2016

    I need to compare a metaphor to a life of a person can yoyou help me, an example a person who is starting a life a fresh from unconscious and conß

    Reply
  19. Chelsi

     /  June 18, 2016

    Please! what is a metaphor for assault?

    Reply
  20. amy louise

     /  June 14, 2016

    please could u write me a kids metaphor please that would help alot !!

    Reply
  21. dee

     /  June 7, 2016

    i want to ask, if i wanna write the metaphors in my book for my homework, do i have to write all the sentence or just take a certain part?

    Reply
  22. Varun Nagaraj

     /  June 1, 2016

    what could u use for a tanned person?

    Reply
  23. Angelique

     /  May 30, 2016

    Thank you so much for putting up all these worksheets and tutorials you have helped me study for my English which is tomorrow I can’t wait to see the Next things you add/come up with in your website!!!

    Reply
  24. Paiege Turner

     /  May 25, 2016

    Thank you for taking the time, and effort, to write and explain about metaphors and how to use them. This as been useful and very informative.

    Reply
  25. abbie

     /  May 24, 2016

    what is a good metaphor for the 5 parts of english:
    language
    reading
    writing
    research
    speaking

    Reply
  26. Kim

     /  May 18, 2016

    Greet the warmth of the sun is that a metaphor

    Reply
    • I suppose it could be an implicit metaphor. It depends on the context. It’s a bit of a fragment right now. It also might be an example of personification, in that warmth cannot greet. Again, it hinges on who or what is doing the greeting.

      Reply
  27. Gerard Paul

     /  May 18, 2016

    “My mind is a sun that could travel all over the world in a minute”,
    pls, is dis a metaphor?

    Reply
    • It’s a bit awkward, but the speaker is comparing his mind to a sun without using the word like or as. So, yes, it is a metaphor.

      Reply
  28. samantha

     /  May 16, 2016

    i am a student who is currently doing exams while studying i looked at your site which really helped me and i am positive that for my exam i will use one of these. thank you so much for your assistance.

    Reply
  29. TurtL_MastR

     /  May 10, 2016

    What is a metaphor (not to advanced) for betrayal… Thanks if you can reply 😀

    Reply
  30. zachariah

     /  April 30, 2016

    Did you compose all these metaphors? It’s awesome

    Reply
  31. Dave

     /  April 29, 2016

    Would a gun that shoots out snakes a metaphor?

    Reply
    • Yeah, that’s not quite a metaphor if you are describing a gun that shoots literal snakes. If you are comparing something or someone to a gun that shoots out snakes, then that would be a metaphor. For example: My love for you is a gun that shoots out snakes. Yeah, that one needs a little work, but you get the idea.

      Reply
  32. Connie

     /  April 28, 2016

    Thanks for sharing , really helped my daughter

    Reply
  33. Dorothy Jebet

     /  April 17, 2016

    I am starting to write children’s books and these metaphors is just what the doctor prescribed. Asante sana! (“Thank you” in Kiswahili)

    Reply
  34. alisky

     /  March 25, 2016

    These helped a lot with my poems ! Thank you sir.

    Reply
  35. Sam

     /  March 21, 2016

    Is this a metaphor: your kisses, sweeter than honey

    Reply
  36. umna

     /  March 9, 2016

    it helped me a lot thanks for sharing your metaphors

    Reply
  37. Sean

     /  February 22, 2016

    cool website

    Reply
  38. SAM

     /  February 18, 2016

    THANK YOU

    Reply
  39. khaleyah deshae.jones-odeh

     /  February 17, 2016

    praise did u have fun learning metaphors

    Reply
  40. Ahmed

     /  February 16, 2016

    i didn’t understand

    Reply
  41. chioma

     /  February 12, 2016

    what about eavesdropping night stars with candle eyes

    Reply
  42. Saleha

     /  February 10, 2016

    I’m in high school and we’re supposed to compose a monologue for a character in Much Ado About Nothing. I would like to thank you, because of how much this list helped me.

    Reply
  43. Gabe

     /  January 26, 2016

    very helpful 😀 thx so much

    Reply
  44. Bob Smith

     /  January 26, 2016

    Saved my test

    Reply
  45. fred

     /  January 18, 2016

    I want to thank you, I am taking this college course in English and your reading work sheets have helped me tremendous.
    Thank you again

    Reply
  46. noey

     /  January 15, 2016

    how about ” Her eye’s are the stars in a cold,
    dark night.

    Reply
  47. person

     /  January 14, 2016

    nice metaphors

    Reply
  48. Lishvi

     /  January 14, 2016

    Thanks! its very helpful for my project.

    Reply
  49. bob

     /  December 15, 2015

    metaphors don’t make sense. If you read “Oranges” by Gary Soto we are supposed to identify the metaphors, but I simply just can’t find any…… so if you guys had any help or ideas please tell me.
    thank you.

    Reply
  50. David Coad

     /  December 9, 2015

    My class and I just loved your pages. I had to show them.

    Reply

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