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.

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.

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Common Core Lesson and Unit Plans
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  1. Jamie

     /  October 18, 2016

    A metaphor is when you say a person,place, an animal or a thing is described as something else.
    This website really does help you with metaphors and similes.

  2. student

     /  October 17, 2016

    May I ask for a metaphor about journalism. It would really help a lot. Thank you in advance

  3. emma

     /  October 17, 2016

    saved by the bell!!!!

  4. Ashley

     /  October 16, 2016

    Are both metaphors “The azure ocean’s lucent shores; I leave my mortal self below” and “What coin shall pay this debt of mine?”

    Are those both metaphors? Both are by Oliver Wendell Holmes

  5. Ross

     /  October 16, 2016

    In relation to Jurassic Park, where dinasaurs were brought back from extinction to once again hunt and eat humans….could “A mirror of fear” be considered a metaphor?
    Appreciate any assistance

  6. Tina

     /  October 16, 2016

    Can you tell me a metaphor describing my life? Please

  7. ARK

     /  October 13, 2016

    The occean of sorrows that he was forced to dive into was where he became the shark that fed on the fish innocent and unsuspecting….. Is the metaphor used rightly in this sentence??

  8. Hermione

     /  October 13, 2016

    Do you have a favourite or best metaphor? If you do, what is it?

  9. Jen

     /  October 12, 2016

    I need one for a glue stick but can’t use the word glue stick. My son & I are struggling

  10. tanya

     /  October 12, 2016

    i need a metaphor for very much.

  11. Jackie

     /  October 12, 2016

    What metaphor can I use for hot, humid sweltering heat.

  12. Clint lucas

     /  October 7, 2016

    What about one for kill um with kindness

  13. Julius namit

     /  October 6, 2016

    Thank you .. for doing this..

  14. Hadassah Pierre-Louid

     /  October 5, 2016

    I have a project on metaphors. For the project we have to choose a metaphor, tell what it means and draw a picture explaining it. I don’t know what metaphor to do can you help me please?

  15. Rita

     /  October 4, 2016

    is”it’s white smiling pieces laugh loudly” a methaphor?

  16. Gabby

     /  October 4, 2016

    I need a metaphor for peeling paint!! My brain is empty!! HELP PLEASE!!

  17. Sara

     /  October 4, 2016

    Is “Puppy that has been kicked too many times” a metaphore??

    • Yikes. That’s awful. But, no, it’s is not. Not as you are using it, as a sentence fragment. Maybe, if the full context were something like: “He’s a puppy that’s been kicked too many times,” and he refers to a person or something else that is not a literal puppy.

  18. carlene

     /  October 3, 2016

    black against its saffron

    what literary device is used

  19. TjoePjoe

     /  September 29, 2016

    Hi!Is “The beast of my feelings awakened ” And “The monster of my emotions clawed my happiness in order to take the throne of my feelings ” metaphors?Either would do,im trying to help people with fear metaphors.Thanks!

  20. Yuzuriha

     /  September 29, 2016

    Hi!I also need advanced metaphors for happy/Jubilant.
    Hope to hear a reply asap! Thanks 😀
    Sorry for double comments

  21. Yuzuriha

     /  September 29, 2016

    Hi !I would really want to know a few metaphors for fear.Trying to do some descriptive writing.Thanks! 🙂

    • TjoePjoe

       /  September 29, 2016

      The beast of my feelings came around
      The monster clawed my bright side in order to claim it’s throne on my feelings

  22. samson

     /  September 28, 2016

    is a shape with a lion body and the head of a man a metaphor

  23. Mathew

     /  September 27, 2016

    Can I have some metaphors for a zombie apocalypse I need some for my story. Thanks

  24. phenomenal

     /  September 27, 2016

    what metaphor can i use to say something about my uncle

  25. Dave

     /  September 26, 2016

    would “I let my thoughts drift be a metaphor”

  26. John

     /  September 26, 2016

    This helped me a lot thx
    My teacher was going to
    Send me to detention if I didn’t write a
    lot of metaphors. So u really helped me and
    I can see u helped other people too.

  27. Brenda Cook

     /  September 25, 2016

    Can u give me 10 metaphors about school?

  28. honey

     /  September 25, 2016

    hi. goodmorning. Can you give me one example of methaphorical sentence which related to education or learning? thanks.

  29. dia

     /  September 25, 2016

    does this metaphor make sense? “Tears are like a leaking faucet, slowly dripping, waiting for someone to turn on the tap.”

  30. Rene B. Encinas

     /  September 23, 2016

    A metaphor for a person who is firm and authoritative and yet has a soft heart for family/personal matters…

  31. Nigel

     /  September 22, 2016

    L need a metaphor to filert with some l like

  32. Meta Phor

     /  September 20, 2016

    I need a metaphor representing a kid becoming an adult, any suggestions?

  33. Briley Sewell

     /  September 19, 2016

    This is a good source

  34. Briley Sewell

     /  September 19, 2016

    i need a metaphor to describe a good basketball player.

  35. nompilo

     /  September 18, 2016

    Hi, i’m looking for a metaphor that will describe my favourite teacher who was very dedicated to her work, whom I look up to as i’m going to be a teacher also.

  36. Pineapple

     /  September 17, 2016

    Is “my girlfriend was enchanted by my charm” a metaphor?

  37. chela

     /  September 14, 2016

    THANK YOU !!!!!!!!

  38. Jordie

     /  September 13, 2016

    Hey, I really need just one metaphor about music.. Could you help me?

  39. Bitubatu

     /  September 12, 2016

    Can you give me a simple example

  40. Tracy

     /  September 11, 2016

    Pls l need a metaphor to discibe myself .
    I’m quiet but very friendly when you become my friend before you can know me

  41. Liam

     /  September 10, 2016

    hi I’m looking for a metaphor to describe a classroom? Can you help ?:)

  42. Fee

     /  September 7, 2016

    hi there
    i need a metaphor for my boyfriend making me feel special. preferably something involving stars or the universe, but any other suggestions are welcome 🙂

  43. Mathew

     /  September 6, 2016

    Kerala, a beautiful and charming State in India is known as “God’s Own Country.”
    Is this usage a Metaphor?

  44. Sakthi

     /  September 4, 2016

    can give me at least 10 metaphors based on sadness

  45. trent

     /  August 24, 2016

    What a metaphor that could describe a good day

  46. SYLPH

     /  August 23, 2016

    Is this a metaphor “your bag weighs a ton”?
    please. i really need help…..

  47. SYdho

     /  August 21, 2016

    HI!! I need a metaphor for a personality who is shy at first but when you get to know her she is really friendly and fun to be around. Thanks!

  48. Gabby

     /  August 9, 2016

    Thank you very much:) this is so very helpful
    It helps to know metaphors more

  49. gwapahonmaotay

     /  August 6, 2016

    wow its good in the school perfect because this example this mataohor searching…

  50. benette

     /  August 5, 2016

    How can I use metaphor between two pictures?
    students studying at library and a teacher teaching in a class room ? How can I make connections between the pictures? thank you so much and God bless


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