What do you call the act of "misusing" metaphors or using it in a way that's not accepted or considered wrong by most authors. I am trying to find the word, because there are no clear rules of how to use metaphors, except some people often agrees that metaphors used in a certain way is bad or improper or bad style.

  • An assault on good taste, it’ll get ya 3-5 in the big house.
    – EDL
    Aug 21, 2021 at 14:22

2 Answers 2


I've typically heard the word "malaproper" or "malapropism" are the correct word to use for a misuse of a metaphor or other type of sentence (simile, allegory), though I may be wrong.


When a second metaphor is used very soon after another, care should be taken to ensure that there isn't a ludicrous clash:

  • If there is a spark of pity in your hearts, water it and let it grow.

Such mangling of the language is termed mixed metaphor (see Nordquist's article at ThoughtCo for other comical examples).

The term is sometimes extended to cover poor choice of metaphor:

  • John's a tiger; don't mess with him!
  • ??That lion's a tiger; don't mess with it!

Overblown, pretentious metaphors are sometimes used:

  • This small car is a Pegasus soaring above the competition.

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