What are other ways of using metaphors aside using it to describe something visually similar?

For example, we use the metaphor "a city of stars" to say that the sky at night looks like a city during nighttime because of the small lights, but is there other ways to use metaphors that I am somehow not aware of yet? I can't think of other ways of using metaphors.

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    I’m voting to close this question because it lacks basic research, resulting in the false premise that metaphors are only visually based. – Chappo Hasn't Forgotten Monica Mar 15 at 7:49
  • Visual metaphor: She was a painting.
  • Other senses: She was a fragrant rose, her skin was silk, she was a songbird, her lips were the salty ocean.
  • Non-sensory metaphor: She was a book of many secrets.
  • Ambiguous metaphor: She was the last train to Clarksville.

In general, a metaphor invites you to understand something about A by comparing it to something about B. Metaphors are useful because they carry a density of meaning and context that can't be conveyed literally. They speak to something deep about the way that the brain processes ideas, and the way human beings construct meaning.

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    Minor nit-pick: examples 1, 2 and 4 are similes, not metaphors. For example, a metaphoric expression of #4 would be "She was the last train to Clarksville". Oh yes, oh yes. How fondly I recall her coffee flavored kisses... ;-) – Chappo Hasn't Forgotten Monica Mar 15 at 7:40
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    Simile is a subset of metaphor. All similes are metaphors but not all metaphors are similes. – Chris Sunami supports Monica Mar 15 at 11:54
  • I must respectfully disagree. Similes and metaphors are both figures of speech, but they operate in fundamentally ways. Being “like a rock” is not a subset of being a rock. Can you cite a definition or other reference that supports your contention? – Chappo Hasn't Forgotten Monica Mar 15 at 21:39
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    In case none of those seem definitive, here's the Oxford Companion to Language "METAPHOR ... (1) All figures of speech that achieve their effect through association, comparison, and resemblance. Figures like antithesis, hyperbole, metonymy, simile are all species of metaphor." However it does seem like this is an older understanding. More modern references have a reduced conception of metaphor. In deference to that, I have edited my answer. – Chris Sunami supports Monica Mar 16 at 13:50



noun a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable.

You are using a metaphor anytime you describe something as if it were something else.

The metaphor is the Swiss Army Knife of writing.

She smelt of Heaven.

You aremy rock. or You area muddy road, slimy, slippery, and a dirty mess.

Johnny's brain was twisted around Suzie's fork.

Maybe they are not great examples, but they are examples nonetheless and show how metaphors aren't just based on visual comparisons.

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    “You are using a metaphor anytime you describe something 'as like' something else” - no, that’s a simile. A simile points to the similarity between two things: “her abs were hard as a rock”. A metaphor assigns something to a class it doesn’t belong to: “her abs were granite”. In the latter example, a bullet could ricochet off those abs, whereas in the simile we know that the bullet will have a different resting place. – Chappo Hasn't Forgotten Monica Mar 15 at 21:59

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