I have been managing with only thesaurus dot com when yearning to add layers in my work, but it and all the other thesauri(?) I have tried exhibit a fatal flaw: they lack quality metaphorical synonyms (If that's even technically what it would be called, searching it up yields only synonyms for the word metaphor).

I understand that they are by no means necessary to have, but when writing or reading something, it is uncomfortable for me to come across the same word repeatedly. Synonyms allow me to ease that discomfort, and also add clarification to the intended meaning of the original word without needing to add an excessive amount of adjectives to it. In my mind the merit of metaphors in this way is to add clarification of meaning while also enhancing the readers experience with imagery.

When I say thesaurus for metaphors I mean a thesaurus that when input a simple (or perhaps direct would be a better descriptor) word or phrase, let's take "something delicate that fades quickly" as an example, it outputs metaphors that convey a similar idea, but add an ounce of texture, in this case one of the results would be "fleeting gossamer" (obligatory apology for the Daredevil quote, but it was the catalyst for much of the desire for this kind of tool).

I'm not sure a tool of this kind exists, but if it does I would like to know where it could be accessed.

(Apologies if any of this was written poorly or fails to fit the category theme, I am not new to the world of writing but am very new to the SE)

This is explicitly not a request for a tool that provides the definition of metaphors

  • 1
    I don't know of any user-friendly websites providing something like this, but there is at least some academic work in this area, for example arxiv.org/abs/2103.06779 (with code available here) So even if it's not around now, it probably will be in a couple of years.
    – user54131
    Apr 7, 2022 at 5:55
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    Another option could be a book like "Thesaurus of Traditional English Metaphors" (you can check inside for some examples of how it's organized)
    – user54131
    Apr 7, 2022 at 6:24
  • I know there are symbolism encyclopedias, but I don't think such a tool as the one you're describing exist.
    – Sayaman
    Apr 8, 2022 at 0:50

1 Answer 1


There is a Metaphor database hosted over at Berkeley SF University, which is a collection of thousands of metaphors, however they aren't in a format that I found useful at all -- and it wasn't just a matter of patience or reformatting -- the learning curve put it outside my time budget.

Bard is a very good, easy to use tool to acquire what you are looking for.

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