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.
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.
- The detective listened to her tales with a wooden face.
- She was fairly certain that life was a fashion show.
- The typical teenage boy’s room is a disaster area.
- What storms then shook the ocean of my sleep.
- The children were roses grown in concrete gardens, beautiful and forlorn.
- Kisses are the flowers of love in bloom.
- His cotton candy words did not appeal to her taste.
- Kathy arrived at the grocery store with an army of children.
- Her eyes were fireflies.
- He wanted to set sail on the ocean of love but he just wasted away in the desert.
- I was lost in a sea of nameless faces.
- John’s answer to the problem was just a Band-Aid, not a solution.
- The cast on Michael’s broken leg was a plaster shackle.
- Cameron always had a taste for the fruit of knowledge.
- The promise between us was a delicate flower.
- He’s a rolling stone, and it’s bred in the bone.
- He pleaded for her forgiveness but Janet’s heart was cold iron.
- She was just a trophy to Ricardo, another object to possess.
- The path of resentment is easier to travel than the road to forgiveness.
- Katie’s plan to get into college was a house of cards on a crooked table.
- The wheels of justice turn slowly.
- Hope shines–a pebble in the gloom.
- She cut him down with her words.
- The job interview was a rope ladder dropped from heaven.
- Her hair was a flowing golden river streaming down her shoulders.
- The computer in the classroom was an old dinosaur.
- Laughter is the music of the soul.
- David is a worm for what he did to Shelia.
- The teacher planted the seeds of wisdom.
- Phyllis, ah, Phyllis, my life is a gray day
- Each blade of grass was a tiny bayonet pointed firmly at our bare feet.
- The daggers of heat pierced through his black t-shirt.
- Let your eyes drink up that milkshake sky.
- The drums of time have rolled and ceased.
- Her hope was a fragile seed.
- When Ninja Robot Squad came on TV, the boys were glued in their seats.
- Words are the weapons with which we wound.
- She let such beautiful pearls of wisdom slip from her mouth without even knowing.
- Scars are the roadmap to the soul.
- The quarterback was throwing nothing but rockets and bombs in the field.
- We are all shadows on the wall of time.
- My heart swelled with a sea of tears.
- When the teacher leaves her little realm, she breaks her wand of power apart.
- The Moo Cow’s tail is a piece of rope all raveled out where it grows.
- My dreams are flowers to which you are a bee.
- The clouds sailed across the sky.
- Each flame of the fire is a precious stone belonging to all who gaze upon it.
- And therefore I went forth with hope and fear into the wintry forest of our life.
- My words are chains of lead.
- 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.
- The light flows into the bowl of the midnight sky, violet, amber and rose.
- Men court not death when there are sweets still left in life to taste.
- In capitalism, money is the life blood of society but charity is the soul.
- Whose world is but the trembling of a flare, / And heaven but as the highway for a shell,
- Fame is the fragrance of heroic deeds, / Of flowers of chivalry and not of weeds!
- So I sit spinning still, round this decaying form, the fine threads of rare and subtle thought.
- And swish of rope and ring of chain /
Are music to men who sail the main.
- Still sits the school-house by the road, a ragged beggar sunning.
- The child was our lone prayer to an empty sky.
- Blind fools of fate and slaves of circumstance, / Life is a fiddler, and we all must dance.
- Grind the gentle spirit of our meek reviews into a powdery foam of salt abuse.
- Laugh a drink from the deep blue cup of sky.
- Think now: history has many cunning passages and contrived corridors.
- You are now in London, that great sea whose ebb and flow at once is deaf and loud,
- His fine wit makes such a wound that the knife is lost in it.
- Waves of spam emails inundated his inbox.
- In my heart’s temple I suspend to thee these votive wreaths of withered memory.
- He cast a net of words in garish colours wrought to catch the idle buzzers of the day.
- This job is the cancer of my dreams and aspirations.
- This song shall be thy rose, soft, fragrant, and with no thorn left to wound thy bosom.
- There, one whose voice was venomed melody.
- A sweetness seems to last amid the dregs of past sorrows.
- So in this dimmer room which we call life,
- Life is the night with its dream-visions teeming, / Death is the waking at day.
- Then the lips relax their tension
and the pipe begins to slide, /
Till in little clouds of ashes,
it falls softly at his side.
- The olden days: when thy smile to me was wine, golden wine thy word of praise.
- Thy tones are silver melted into sound.
- Under us the brown earth / Ancient and strong, / The best bed for wanderers;
- Love is a guest that comes, unbidden, / But, having come, asserts his right;
- My House of Life is weather-stained with years.
- See the sun, far off, a shriveled orange in a sky gone black;
- Three pines strained darkly, runners in a race unseen by any.
- But the rare herb, Forgetfulness, it hides away from me.
- The field of cornflower yellow is a scarf at the neck of the copper sunburned woman
- Life: a lighted window and a closed door.
- Some days my thoughts are just cocoons hanging from dripping branches in the grey woods of my mind.
- Men and women pass in the street glad of the shining sapphire weather.
- The swan existing is a song with an accompaniment.
- At night the lake is a wide silence, without imagination.
- The cherry-trees are seas of bloom and soft perfume and sweet perfume.
- 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.
- From its blue vase the rose of evening drops.
- When in the mines of dark and silent thought / Sometimes I delve and find strange fancies there,
- The twigs were set beneath a veil of willows.
- He clutched and hacked at ropes, at rags of sail, / Thinking that comfort was a fairy tale,
- O Moon, your light is failing and you are nothing now but a bow.
- Life is a dream in the night, a fear among fears, / A naked runner lost in a storm of spears.
- This world of life is a garden ravaged.
- And therefore I went forth, with hope and fear / Into the wintry forest of our life;
- My soul was a lampless sea and she was the tempest.
Common Core State Standards Related to Metaphor
View All CCSS Standards Related to Metaphor
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.
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.
Common Core Lesson and Unit Plans
Understanding Common Core State Standards
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
The fact I can get/ August 3, 2016
Isn’t a metaphor like a simile but you don’t say like?
Mr. Morton/ September 10, 2016
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.
RJ/ August 2, 2016
Great! Loved it.
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.
Mr. Morton/ July 26, 2016
You are a weed in the garden of my heart. I cannot rid myself of your entanglements.
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?
surayya sakhi/ July 17, 2016
Hi would this be a metaphor
” The three formed an electrical chain”
please of you can help me
Mr. Morton/ July 22, 2016
Yes, that is a metaphor comparing three people, I think, to an electric chain.
phenomenal/ July 16, 2016
study and learn similar simile and metaphor to pass in ENGLISH LANGUAGE …….
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.
Roger Zhang/ July 12, 2016
I know how men in exile feed on dreams.
Is this a metaphor?
Mr. Morton/ July 22, 2016
Yes, this is a metaphor comparing dreams to food.
Patricia Harrison/ July 3, 2016
Is “tress bent by the wind were slingshots that threatened released at any moment with disastrous consequences” a metaphor?
beryl/ July 3, 2016
Really helped me do my assignment
p.b./ July 3, 2016
please send me a metaphor realted to failure, hatred,
sivakumar/ July 2, 2016
really, this page is very usefull for all.sivakumar
caroline/ July 1, 2016
We are requested to write metaphor on our client the whole process. By the way I’m a consilor
Cris anne abapo/ June 30, 2016
This is so good for me
YIC/ June 27, 2016
When she found out my heart was made of glass, she shattered it to pieces… Please is this a metaphor?
Mr. Morton/ June 27, 2016
Yes, that is a metaphor. The speaker’s heart is compared to glass.
ches/ June 27, 2016
what is methaphor for ” lack of means”
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
Chelsi/ June 18, 2016
Please! what is a metaphor for assault?
Mr. Morton/ June 21, 2016
She was a thunderstorm, pounding the small man with lightning strikes.
amy louise/ June 14, 2016
please could u write me a kids metaphor please that would help alot !!
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?
Mr. Morton/ June 13, 2016
Well, you would have to use the metaphorical part.
Varun Nagaraj/ June 1, 2016
what could u use for a tanned person?
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!!!
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.
abbie/ May 24, 2016
what is a good metaphor for the 5 parts of english:
Kim/ May 18, 2016
Greet the warmth of the sun is that a metaphor
Mr. Morton/ May 18, 2016
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.
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?
Mr. Morton/ May 18, 2016
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.
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.
TurtL_MastR/ May 10, 2016
What is a metaphor (not to advanced) for betrayal… Thanks if you can reply 😀
Mr. Morton/ May 13, 2016
How about a broken lock?
zachariah/ April 30, 2016
Did you compose all these metaphors? It’s awesome
Mr. Morton/ May 5, 2016
Yes, I wrote this page. Thank you.
Dave/ April 29, 2016
Would a gun that shoots out snakes a metaphor?
Mr. Morton/ May 5, 2016
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.
Connie/ April 28, 2016
Thanks for sharing , really helped my daughter
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)
Mr. Morton/ April 18, 2016
You are so welcome. Thank you for visiting!
alisky/ March 25, 2016
These helped a lot with my poems ! Thank you sir.
Sam/ March 21, 2016
Is this a metaphor: your kisses, sweeter than honey
Mr. Morton/ March 24, 2016
Yes, it is, but saying that “Your kisses are honey” or that “You have honey kisses” would make it a subtler metaphor.
GT/ October 13, 2016
“You have honey kisses”?
umna/ March 9, 2016
it helped me a lot thanks for sharing your metaphors
Sean/ February 22, 2016
SAM/ February 18, 2016
khaleyah deshae.jones-odeh/ February 17, 2016
praise did u have fun learning metaphors
Ahmed/ February 16, 2016
i didn’t understand
chioma/ February 12, 2016
what about eavesdropping night stars with candle eyes
Mr. Morton/ March 27, 2017
Seems more like personification to me:
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.
Gabe/ January 26, 2016
very helpful 😀 thx so much
Bob Smith/ January 26, 2016
Saved my test
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
Mr. Morton/ January 19, 2016
I’m so happy to hear it.
noey/ January 15, 2016
how about ” Her eye’s are the stars in a cold,
Mr. Morton/ January 19, 2016
That’s a very nice metaphor.
person/ January 14, 2016
Lishvi/ January 14, 2016
Thanks! its very helpful for my project.
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.
Mr. Morton/ January 19, 2016
You’re just going to have to review the definition, analyze a few examples, and read carefully. Best wishes!
David Coad/ December 9, 2015
My class and I just loved your pages. I had to show them.