Metaphor: Figure of explication occurring when a comparison made by speaking of one thing in terms of another; an implied comparison between two different things which share at least one attribute in common; an association between two unlike things (A vs. B) achieved by borrowing the language that refers to thing A and applying it to thing B.  (not to be confused with simile)


Colonel Kurtz: "Are you an assassin?"

Captain Willard: "I'm a soldier."

Colonel Kurtz: "You're neither. You're an errand boy...sent by grocery collect a bill."

-- delivered by Marlon Brando and Martin Sheen  (from the movie Apocalypse Now)

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"Why this country is a shining city on a hill."

-- Mario Cuomo, 1984 Democratic National Convention Address

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"With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood."

-- Martin Luther King, I Have a Dream

Note here there are two metaphors which serve as a comparison for two different but related ideas: 1) racial problems = "jangling discords" and 2) racial problems solved through faith = "beautiful symphony of brotherhood"

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"This is of course the big event of show business and the atmosphere here is pure electricity. But as a television show, it does tend to go slightly off the boil, particularly as we drift into the third and fourth hour. What can we do about it?"

-- Paul Hogan, Remarks at the 59th Academy Awards

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"At the dawn of spring last year, a single act of terror brought forth the long, cold winter in our hearts. The people of Oklahoma City are mourning still."

-- Al Gore, Oklahoma Bombing Memorial Address

Note here that the implied comparison is between the (unstated) emotions of grief and sorrow and "a long, cold winter."

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"Nobody, including me, anticipated how the problems that started in the mortgage markets would spread to our credit markets, and our banking system, and now threaten our entire financial system and our country. Like many other financial institutions, Lehman Brothers got caught in this financial tsunami."

-- Richard Fuld, Opening Statement to Congress on Lehman Brothers Bankruptcy

"But he [President George H.W. Bush] often said, 'When the really tough choices come, it's the country, not me. It's not about Democrats or Republicans -- it's for our country that I fought for.' And he was a man of such great humility. Those who travel the high road of humility in Washington, D.C. are not bothered by heavy traffic."

-- Alan Simpson, Memorial Remarks for President George H.W. Bush

"The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want."

-- Psalm 23:1 (KJV)

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Rhetorical Figures in Sound

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American Rhetoric.
Created by Michael E. Eidenmuller.
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