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55+ Metaphor Examples, Plus Teaching Ideas and More




Writers use figurative language like metaphors to bring their writing to life. But what exactly is a metaphor (and how is it different from a simile)? Learn more about this literary device, and get metaphor examples and teaching ideas for your students.

What is a metaphor?

A metaphor is a literary device that draws a comparison between two otherwise unrelated things. It’s used to make an idea more relatable to the reader, or to evoke an emotional response. Metaphors often use hyperbole, or exaggerated language, to paint a vivid picture.

  • Example: Today’s history exam was a total nightmare.

Metaphors are examples of figurative language, where the words are meaningful but not strictly true. In the above example, the speaker doesn’t mean that they fell asleep during their exam and had a nightmare. Instead, they’re drawing a comparison between the two to help the reader understand how terrible the experience was.

Metaphor vs. Analogy

Metaphors are similar to another literary device, the analogy. However, a metaphor is used to evoke feeling and emotion. A writer uses an analogy to help the reader draw a logical conclusion. If you’re trying to figure out if a phrase is a metaphor or an analogy, ask whether it’s meant to provoke an emotional reaction or help a reader understand something through logic.

  • Metaphor: Time is a remorseless river.
  • Analogy: Time is like a rapid river, flowing remorselessly onward. Trying to swim upstream is futile; you must simply go where the currents take you.

Metaphor vs. Simile

To add to the confusion, similes are another type of figurative language comparison used as a literary device. In a simile, though, the writer uses the words “like” or “as” rather than making a direct comparison.

  • Metaphor: The sound of her voice was music to their ears.
  • Simile: Her voice was like music.

Learn more about similes here.

What are the different types of metaphors?

We can break metaphors down into specific types:


This is the most basic type of metaphor, in which the writer simply makes a stated comparison between two unrelated things.

  • Standard metaphor example: Racism is a fatal disease for our society.

The direct comparison here is between racism and a disease, bluntly stated and easy to identify.


Implied: In an implied metaphor, the writer is more subtle, using imagery to evoke the comparison between two things.

  • Implied metaphor example: It was time for Elijah to spread his wings and fly.

By using language about wings and flying, the author implies a metaphor between Elijah and a bird.


In a visual metaphor, an image replaces or reinforces the words. This classic public service announcement from the 1980s is an excellent visual metaphor example:


As the name implies, an extended metaphor is more than just one sentence. It can be a series of lines in poetry, or a theme carried through paragraphs (or an entire book) in prose. Analogies can seem like extended metaphors, but remember that analogies are meant to help the reader draw logical conclusions, while metaphors provoke an emotional response.

  • Extended metaphor example: “The dim attic was a forgotten lifetime. Cobwebs in the corners were shadowy memories, and rusty locked trunks held the passed years. A layer of soft dust lay over all, a blanket of lamented time gone by.”

Each sentence in this paragraph extends the metaphorical connection between the attic and a life lived long ago.


The term “dead metaphor” can be used in several ways, but it generally means a metaphorical expression that has lost its power over time. This might be because the original meaning of a word has changed or that it has fallen out of use. A dead metaphor can also be an overused cliche, one that we’ve all heard so often it no longer has much impact.

  • Dead metaphor example: That remark was really beyond the pale.

You’ve probably heard this phrase, but do you know what it actually means? Many years ago, “the pale” referred to a wooden stake used to mark a boundary line. To say something was “beyond the pale” meant that it crossed an accepted boundary. This phrase is still used today, though few know what it actually means, making it a dead metaphor.

Mixed Metaphors

What about the phrase “mixed metaphors”? Once again, the clue is in the name: A mixed metaphor is when the writer or speaker mixes two comparisons into one metaphor, making things more confusing instead of clearer. Mixed metaphors are often combinations of well-known phrases.

  • We’ll cross that bridge when the ball is in our court.

This sentence combines two common metaphors. The first, “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” compares dealing with an issue or making a decision to crossing a bridge. The second, “The ball is in our court,” makes a connection between taking your turn in a ball game and dealing with an issue or a decision. Put together, the two frankly sound a little bit silly, so strong writers try to avoid mixing metaphors.

General Metaphor Examples

A deep red rose, with text reading
We Are Teachers / RitaE via Pixabay
  • Tom is the black sheep of his family.
  • The vast parking lot was a Sahara under the relentless sun.
  • As the children started to work, the classroom became a beehive of activity.
  • Laughter is the best medicine.
  • Time is a thief, stealing moments away before we know it.
  • Her smile was a lighthouse, guiding him safely across the crowded room.
  • Li’s anger was a volcano, ready to erupt at any moment.
  • Romance is the key to her heart.
  • Olivia’s words were sharp daggers, cutting Jordan down to size.
  • To Leslie, the vacant lot was a blank canvas, waiting to be turned into a beautiful park.
  • Your bedroom is a pigsty—clean it up!
  • A storm of emotions brewed deep inside, under Juan’s calm exterior.
  • Life is a journey, so enjoy each step along the way.
  • Her shrill laugh was nails on a chalkboard to me.
  • Love is a rose, with sweet fragrance and sharp thorns.
  • If I’m going to get all this work done on time, I’ll need to be a real machine today.
  • With our boss out of town for the week, this place is a real circus.
  • As she watched him sing, April’s face was an open book.
  • Assad’s eyes were deep pools, drawing him in.
  • Layla’s pride is her armor, protecting her from all attacks.

Metaphor Examples From Literature

Lines of backed-up traffic, with text reading “He glanced out the rear window 
at the iron centipede of traffic.”
–Sins of Two Fathers, Denis Hamill
We Are Teachers / aled7 via Pixabay
  • “I’m a riddle in nine syllables.” (“Metaphors” by Sylvia Plath)
  • “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” (As You Like It by William Shakespeare)
  • “Hope is the thing with feathers / that perches in the soul.” (“Hope Is the Thing With Feathers” by Emily Dickinson)
  • “It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.” (Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare)
  • “Her mouth was a fountain of delight.” (The Storm by Kate Chopin)
  • “Mr. Neck storms into class, a bull chasing thirty-three red flags.” (Speak by Laurie Anderson)
  • “The sun was a toddler insistently refusing to go to bed: It was past eight thirty and still light.”(The Fault in Our Stars by John Green)
  • “Light the first page, light the second page. Each becomes a black butterfly. Beautiful, eh?” (Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury)
  • “He glanced out the rear window at the iron centipede of traffic.” (Sins of Two Fathers by Denis Hamill)
  • “His grin is a large plastic comb of teeth.” (Anagrams by Lorrie Moore)
  • “Do not go gentle into that good night / Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” (“Do not go gentle into that good night” by Dylan Thomas
  • “Trees are poems the earth writes upon the sky.” (Sand and Foam by Kahlil Gibran)
  • “Time rises and rises, and when it reaches the level of your eyes you drown.” (The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood)
  • “Fame is a bee / It has a song— / It has a sting— / Ah, too, it has a wing.” (“Fame Is a Bee” by Emily Dickinson)
  • “Middle C is the belly button of the piano.” (I Could Tell You Stories by Patricia Hampl)

Metaphor Examples From Songs

Highway stretching off into the distance. Text reads “Life is a highway. I wanna ride it all night long.”
–Life is a Highway, Tom Cochrane
We Are Teachers / Pexels via Pixabay
  • “Baby, you’re a firework! Come on, let your colors burst.” (“Firework” by Katy Perry)
  • “Love is a battlefield.” (“Love Is a Battlefield” by Pat Benatar)
  • “Life is a highway. I wanna ride it all night long.” (“Life Is a Highway” by Tom Cochrane)
  • “You are the sunshine of my life.” (“You Are the Sunshine of My Life” by Stevie Wonder)
  • “You ain’t nothing but a hound dog, crying all the time.” (“Hound Dog” by Elvis Presley)
  • “I’m the sunshine in your hair / I’m the shadow on the ground.” (“I’m Already There” by Lonestar)
  • “I’m the satellite, and you’re the sky.” (“Cecilia and the Satellite” by Andrew McMahon)
  • “My heart’s a stereo / It beats for you so listen close.” (“Stereo Hearts” by Maroon 5)
  • “You are the thunder and I am the lightning.” (“Naturally” by Selena Gomez)
  • “I’m a hot-air balloon that could go to space.” (“Happy” by Pharrell Williams)
  • “My lover’s got humor / She’s the giggle at a funeral.” (“Take Me to Church” by Hozier)
  • “All in all you’re just another brick in the wall.” (“Another Brick in the Wall” by Pink Floyd)
  • “And he’s watching us all with the eye of the tiger.” (“Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor)
  • “I got that sunshine in my pocket.” (“Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake)
  • “You’re my kryptonite / You keep making me weak.” (“One Thing” by One Direction)

How To Teach Metaphors

In addition to sharing metaphor examples with students, try these smart teaching ideas.

Write paint chip poetry

Paint chip with shades of orange, with various metaphors for the word orange on each color
Fabulous in Fifth via

Kids will love this creative activity where they write color metaphors on paint chip samples. Hang a bulletin board full of them, and you’ll have a vivid metaphor display for the classroom!

Learn more: Paint Chip Poetry via Fabulous in Fifth

Mix and match similes and metaphors

A flip book illustrated by a child, with different page sections showing metaphors and similes)
Teaching in Room 6 via

This split-page book is so much fun for kids to make, and it gives them practice with figurative language like metaphors, similes, and more.

Learn more: Mix-and-Match Metaphors via Teaching in Room 6

Take the metaphor challenge

A pile of colorful slips of paper, each with a different word printed on it
Learning in Room 213 via

This one is great for middle or high school, since it can be a bit tough. Each student draws a slip of paper with a random word or phrase on it. Then they partner up and try to create a metaphor that links their two words together.

Learn more: Metaphor Challenge via Learning in Room 213

What are your favorite metaphor examples to use in the classroom? Come share your ideas in the We Are Teachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.

Plus, 75+ Appealing Alliteration Examples (Plus Teaching Ideas).


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CS Machogu says no exam printing contract was cancelled in reply to Raila



Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu has denied assertions made by Raila Odinga, head of Azimio La Umoja One Kenya, that anomalies in the recently revealed results are due to the termination of the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) tests printing tender to a UK firm.

During his appearance before the Parliamentary Education Committee, Machogu stated that tenders for publishing national tests are sent out every year.

”We have not terminated anybody’s contract. Each and every year a contract is made,” he said.

He insisted that Kenya, like any other nation, is capable of producing exam papers domestically.

The Education CS said that his ministry did not violate any laws and that the examinations printing tender was awarded using due process.

However, Machogu recognized that applicants’ difficulties receiving their results were caused by the company’s noncompliance with KNEC guidelines regarding the management of the QR code used for transmitting and accessing the KCPE results.

“As a CS I have learnt lessons because basically you can see as a ministry everything was right. Somebody we can call an outsider was given the contract but did not really conform and do to the required standard. Moving forward when we release the KCSE examinations we will not be able to make use of the same service provider,” he added.

Odinga had on Wednesday alleged that the government illegally revoked the printing tender from a UK based firm to a printer based in Mombasa road and later to India.

”We have established that early this year, the Kenya Kwanza administration suddenly and abruptly stopped this contact because the UK firm refused to give kickbacks. Without following any legal procurement processes, due diligence procedures and attention to examination timelines, the Kenya Kwanza administration awarded the KCPE and KCSE exam printing contract to a politically correct printing company based in Mombasa road,” Odinga said.

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“I won the U.S Green Card lottery”.The Inspiring Story of Fridah Nyakundi



Hailing from the foothills of Mount Kenya in Menga village, Fridah Mukuba’s life took a turn for the better with The KENYA Airlift Program’s Permanent Residents Program, Green Card Lottery option. Her happiness radiates from gaining US residency and embarking on a new adventure with her beloved family. Fridah’s journey began with a simple idea—an aspiration to visit the United States. Seizing the opportunity presented by the Green Card Lottery, their stars aligned at first attempt, marking the commencement of a new chapter.

Fridah Nyakundi at her new apartment in Tampa

At the heart of Fridah’s aspirations in her newfound American home is a deep-seated desire to advance her career and pursue a Ph.D. This personal pursuit extends to instilling in her children the transformative impact of education. The University of South Florida is Fridah’s top pick, aligning perfectly with her educational goals, aspirations, and offering the convenience of proximity. Nestled in the same city that will be their new home, it presents an ideal opportunity for a seamless integration of her academic pursuits and family life. 

The successful settlement of Fridah and her family in Tampa, Florida, highlights the positive impact of the program’s support since many individuals fail to successfully transition after winning the green card, often due to a lack of understanding about the processes involved and financial constraints. This underscores the vital role that guidance and support play in facilitating a smooth and successful transition on the path toward achieving The American Dream.

This article is brought to your courtesy of The KENYA Airlift Program

The KENYA Airlift Program is an award-winning initiative that helps brilliant Kenyan Students achieve the dream of studying in the US regardless of their financial background.

The program was founded in late 2018 by US-based education & technology consultant Bob Mwiti.

The program’s mission is achieved through key partnership with MPOWER Financing as the official lending partner for unsecured student loans that cover both tuition and living expenses, partnership with universities in US where the program negotiates tuition fee waivers and scholarships, partnership with The Airlift Sacco to help finance students’ relocation expenses and partnership with Qatar Airways who offer discounted relocation air tickets to the students.

The program only accommodates ambitious and incredibly talented Kenyans who are willing to take a leap of faith in joining the tech industry by studying STEM or business-related master’s programs.

This award-winning program is trying to fix two major challenges Kenyan Students face in their quest to study in America, namely:

Financing and career support

The program is divided into two options; regular and parallel, which are based on the student’s academic qualifications and financial capabilities.

Regular student’s academic requirement is a B plain mean grade in KCSE with a B plain in Mathematics or Physics and a second class division in undergraduate, whereas Parallel students’ academic requirements is a C+ mean grade in KCSE and a second class division in undergraduate.

The program has an active membership of about 2000 students, and as of January 2023, the program has seen over 200 students relocate since inception, to study at various top State Universities in the US, with many more currently in the relocation pipeline.

The program has official working relationship with top Universities in North America namely:

  • University of Kentucky
  • Indiana University of Pennsylvania
  • Missouri State University
  • University of Louisville
  • University of Delaware
  • Grand Valley State University
  • South Dakota State University
  • Temple University
  • The University of Alabama in Huntsville
  • Northeastern University Toronto & Vancouver, Canada

If you are interested in joining this fantastic program, please apply today by visiting our website at

For any further inquiries, you can also visit our head office in Nairobi at Muthaiga Square, 3rd Floor suite 311 on Thika Road opposite Muthaiga Police Station or you can give us a call at 0721-263-977.

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High Court declines to halt Form One selection



Form one selection will proceed without any problems after the High Court decided not to put a stop to the process until two cases involving the newly announced Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) results were heard and decided.

Advocate Danstan Omari submitted a request for an injunction to halt the Form One selection process on behalf of students and parents at Kitengela International School.

The administration of Kitengela International School demanded a response from the parents and teachers of Set Green Hill Primary School in Kisii, as part of a petition.

The headteacher of Kitengela International School claimed in a letter to the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) that the candidates’ KCPE results “do not reflect their true academic abilities” and asked for a review of the findings.

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