Metaphor: Definition and Examples of Metaphor in Spoken Language & Literature

One of the most frequently used forms of figurative language in the English language is the metaphor. But what is this figure of speech used for and how can it be used in a day to day conversation? In this article, we are going to take a look at the answer to both of these questions. We are also going to find out exactly how metaphor looks in a spoken conversation by viewing some examples as well as taking a look at some examples of the use of metaphor as a literary device.


Metaphor Definition

As mentioned in the introduction, a metaphor is a form of figurative language. A metaphor is a rhetorical device in which an object, idea or situation is referred to directly as something it is not. It moves away from referring to something in a literal sense, and refers to it as something else in order to create a more imaginative figure of speech and description of something.

When used as a literary device, a metaphor can add a more detailed and complex description to something giving the reader a more in depth experience. A metaphor is more easily able to convey an idea or an emotion than by simply using a literal statement.

Metaphor Examples

Examples of Metaphor in Spoken Language

In day to day speech, you are likely to hear the use of metaphor’s very often. They are a common type of figurative language and can be heard in many types of situation. We are now going to take a look at some examples of sentences which feature metaphors in order to better understand how they are used in a conversation.

  • The snow was a blanket of white on the ground.
  • Her singing was so good, she was a shining star.
  • She cried a river of tears after her father passed away.
  • My next-door neighbour is a real old dragon.
  • When it comes to eating, he is a pig.
  • My sister is a night owl.
  • My wife is an old dinosaur.
  • You are such a chicken.
  • The crocodile had teeth that were white daggers.
  • The dancer was a swan.
  • He is so clumsy he is a bull a china shop.
  • My husband is a sofa hog.
  • He is my sunshine.
  • The desert is a dry bone.
  • The clouds are fluffy cotton candy.
  • Her temper is a volcano.
  • The grass in the garden is a green carpet.
  • The stars are sparkling gems in the sky.
  • The sisters are two peas in a pod.
  • The solution is just a sticking plaster for the problem.
  • The eyes are a window to your soul.
  • Last summer, I was boiling hot.
  • This is music to my ears.
  • Thank you for your help, you are a true angel.

Examples of Metaphor in Literature

Using a metaphor in a literary piece is an extremely popular choice with writers because this type of figurative language can add an extra layer of complexity to the writing and better convey the feeling of the piece. Now we are going to take a look at some examples of times in which metaphor has been used in a literary sense.

  • In the song sing by Michael Buble, we see an example of metaphor in the line ‘why do you not cry me a river?
  • In ‘The sun rises’ written by John Donne, we see an example of metaphor in the line ‘she is all princes and she is all states.’
  • In the piece ‘shall I compare thee to a summers day?‘ there are examples of metaphor throughout the work, one of these examples is that William Shakespeare uses a metaphor to describe a life long love by calling it ‘an eternal summer.’
  • In the poem ‘When I have fears’ written by John Keats, we can see an example of metaphor in the line ‘before high piled books in character, they hold like rich the ripened grain.’
  • In ‘the sun rising’ written by John Donne, we can see another example of metaphor being used in the line ‘busy old fool, you unruly sun.
  • ‘I carry your heart with me’ written by E E Cummings, shows a good example of metaphor in the line ‘you are what a moon means and what a sun sings is you.’
  • Kate Chopin uses metaphor in her piece ‘The storm’ where she writes the line ‘her words are a fountain of delight.
  • In ‘The call of Cthulhu’ written by H P Lovecraft, we can see an example of metaphor when we read the line ‘we live on a calm island of ignorance in the middle of infinite black oceans.’
  • In the song ‘Hound dog’ by Elvis Presley, we see a metaphor in the title line when he sings ‘you are nothing but a hound dog.
  • The song by Rascal Flatts, ‘life is a highway’ features a metaphor in it’s title by stating that life is in fact a highway.
  • In the song ‘human nature’ by Michael Jackson, we can see that there is a metaphor example in the line ‘life is an apple so let me take a bite.
  • Switchfoot sings a song which uses a metaphor as it’s title, which is ‘love is a song.’
  • In the song ‘heart of gold’ by Neil Young, there are many examples of metaphor, one of them is seen in the line ‘I am a minor for a heart of gold.


By looking at the metaphor in a more profound way, we have discovered that it is a form of figure of speech which replaces the name of an item, situation or action with something that it is not. It is a more creative and expressive way to show the literal meaning of something without using literal speech.

Metaphors are extremely common in spoken English and can be regularly heard in day to day conversation. They are also very popular for use in writing, whether that is in song, script, poetry or otherwise, enabling the writer to add more emotional and deep meaning to a statement.

Metaphor Infographic

Metaphor: Definition and Examples of Metaphor in Spoken Language & Literature 2Pin

Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
2 years ago


2 years ago


2 years ago

metaphor is barely described as a sense of taste, touch, smell, and hear

2 years ago


Viola Jacks
Viola Jacks
2 years ago


2 years ago
Reply to  Viola Jacks

Everybody knows what a metaphor is!

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x