Analogies and Metaphors

When I read a book I enjoy analogies and metaphors, provided the author hasn’t gone overboard with them. Knowing I still got to learn I pay close attention to what I like to read. In my opinion, a story, a book, even an adventure can be written in vivid and imaginative way when containing metaphors and/or analogies.

Lately I realized that an analogy and a metaphor can be similar. So I got research done.

What are analogies and metaphors? Are there good analogies and metaphors and which are the ones that should be avoided?

Let’s see what I found out:


Analogy (from Greek ἀναλογία, analogia, “proportion”[1][2]) is a cognitive process of transferring information or meaning from a particular subject (the analogue or source) to another (the target), or a linguistic expression corresponding to such a process. In a narrower sense, analogy is an inference or an argument from one particular to another particular, as opposed to deduction, induction, and abduction, where at least one of the premises or the conclusion is general. The word analogy can also refer to the relation between the source and the target themselves, which is often, though not necessarily, a similarity, as in the biological notion of analogy (Source:


A metaphor is a figure of speech that identifies something as being the same as some unrelated thing for rhetorical effect, thus highlighting the similarities between the two. While a simile compares two items, a metaphor directly equates them, and so does not necessarily apply any distancing words of comparison, such as “like” or “as”. A metaphor is a type of analogy and is closely related to other rhetorical figures of speech which achieve their effects via association, comparison or resemblance – including allegory, hyperbole, and simile. (Source:



An analogy is comparable to metaphor and simile in that it shows how two different things are similar, but it’s a bit more complex. Rather than a figure of speech, an analogy is more of a logical argument.



Famous metaphors and analogies

  • All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances. William Shakespeare
  • Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. Pablo Picasso
  • I am the good shepherd, … and I lay down my life for the sheep. The Bible, John 10:14-15
  • All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. Albert Einstein
  • Chaos is a friend of mine. Bob Dylan
  • All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind. Khalil Gibran
  • If you want a love message to be heard, it has got to be sent out. To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it. Mother Teresa
  • America has tossed its cap over the wall of space. John F. Kennedy
  • A hospital bed is a parked taxi with the meter running. Groucho Marx
  • A good conscience is a continual Christmas. Benjamin Franklin
  • Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. Marcel Proust
  • And your very flesh shall be a great poem. Walt Whitman
  • Advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket. George Orwell
  • Dying is a wild night and a new road. Emily Dickinson
  • Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. William Wordsworth
  • Conscience is a man’s compass. Vincent Van Gogh



Unfortunate examples of analogies and metaphors

  • Ex-pats returned to home impelled there like animals migrating to preview their racial graveyards.
  • We are closer to ants than to butterflies because very few people can endure much leisure.
  • Rats so big if put a harness on them they could have done a milk round.
  • Attacked like a police alsatian drunk on slaughterhouse blood.
  • Sunburnt red and sore like a baboon’s bottom.
  • The designers ideas buzzed like bees without a hive.
  • Aggrieved like a bulldog which has just been kicked in the ribs and had its dinner sneaked by the cat. P.G. Wodehouse
  • The butterfly of happiness even comes to call.(We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.)
  • Fluttered like a butterfly caught in a shutter.
  • Stuck in the corner, he resembles a clever dog that knows he’s going to be thrashed.
  • An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile hoping it will eat him last.
  • You cannot make a man by standing a sheep on its hind-legs. But by positioning a flock of sheep, you can make a crowd of men.
  • All the enthusiasm of a man about to handle a dead snake. Groucho Marx
  • In the fog the car headlights swarmed in pairs like deep sea fish.
  • The air-conditioning purred like a doctored cat that never went out.
  • Lonesome like a dog on distant moon barking back to Earth.
  • Snarled and growled like a dog with two heads.
  • The queue reduced like a dying amoeba as the semi-circular mob oozed through the turnstile.
  • There is an eagle in me that wants to soar, and there is a hippopotamus in me that wants to wallow in the mud. Carl Sandburg
  • Your effrontery exhibits more neck than a giraffe.
  • As sharp as a ferret in a rat’s hole.
  • Unnecessary like trying to give a fish a bath.
  • The wicked thought slid into Claude’s head like a fox bellying under a farm fence
  • His brain would rattle about inside a gnat’s navel.
  • He was a white shade of pale like a goldfish that had been kept too long in a darkened room. Come to think of it his memory span was shorter than the three seconds a goldfish can remember.
  • As lost as a lump of butter in a greyhound’s throat.
  • She winced as though struck across the chops with a halibut.
  • He looked akin to a hairless dog trying to shake itself dry.
  • Happiness is a butterfly which, when pursued is always beyond our grasp, but which, if you sit down quietly, may alight upon you.
  • You are the hare of whom the proverb goes, Whose valour plucks dead lions by the beard. William Shakespeare
  • If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel’s heartbeat, and we would die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence.
  • Stick like a tick to a hound dog’s ear.



The next and last part of this blog post is dedicated to smiles and laughter. The following originally appeared as winners of a “Worst Analogies ever written in a High School Essay Contest” in the Washington Post Style Invitational”. I hope you will have as much fun reading them as I had.

  • He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it. Joseph Romm, Washington
  • She caught your eye like one of those pointy hook latches that used to dangle from screen doors and would fly up whenever you banged the door open again. Rich Murphy, Fairfax Station
  • The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn’t. Russell Beland, Springfield
  • McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty Bag filled with vegetable soup. Paul Sabourin, Silver Spring
  • From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you’re on vacation in another city and “Jeopardy” comes on at 7 p.m. instead of 7:30. Roy Ashley, Washington
  • Her hair glistened in the rain like nose hair after a sneeze. Chuck Smith, Woodbridge
  • Her eyes were like two brown circles with big black dots in the center. Russell Beland, Springfield
  • Bob was as perplexed as a hacker who means to access\aaakk/ch@ung but gets T:\flw.quidaaakk/ch@ung by mistake Ken Krattenmaker, Landover Hills
  • Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever. Unknown
  • He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree. Jack Bross, Chevy Chase
  • The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease. Gary F. Hevel, Silver Spring
  • Her date was pleasant enough, but she knew that if her life was a movie this guy would be buried in the credits as something like “Second Tall Man.” Russell Beland, Springfield
  • Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph. Jennifer Hart, Arlington
  • The politician was gone but unnoticed, like the period after the Dr. on a Dr Pepper can. Wayne Goode, Madison, Ala.
  • They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan’s teeth Paul Kocak, Syracuse, N.Y.
  • John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met. Russell Beland, Springfield
  • The thunder was ominous-sounding, much like the sound of a thin sheet of metal being shaken backstage during the storm scene in a play. Barbara Fetherolf, Alexandria
  • His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free Chuck Smith, Woodbridge
  • The red brick wall was the color of a brick-red Crayola crayon. Unknown
  • (Source:


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