metaphor [Gr.,=transfer], in rhetoric, a figure of speech in which one class of things is referred to as if it belonged to another class. Whereas a simile states that A is like B, a metaphor states that A is B or substitutes B for A. Some metaphors are explicit, like Shakespeare's line from As You Like It: "All the world's a stage." A metaphor can also be implicit, as in Shakespeare's Sonnet LXXIII, where old age is indicated by a description of autumn:

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
  Where yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
  Bare ruined choirs, where once the sweet birds sang.

A dead metaphor, such as "the arm" of a chair, is one that has become so common that it is no longer considered a metaphor.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Metaphor: Selected full-text books and articles

Metaphor: A Practical Introduction By Zoltán Kövecses Oxford University Press, 2002
The Language of Metaphors By Andrew Goatly Routledge, 1997
Metaphor: Implications and Applications By Jeffery Scott Mio; Albert N. Katz Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1996
Metaphors and the Dynamics of Knowledge By Sabine Maasen; Peter Weingart Routledge, 2000
The Depictive Image: Metaphor and Literary Experience By Phillip Stambovsky University of Massachusetts Press, 1988
Investigating English Discourse: Language, Literacy and Literature By Ronald Carter Routledge, 1997
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 7 "Metaphor and Creative Risks"
Metaphor and Symbol By L. C. Knights; Basil Cottle Butterworths Scientific, 1960
The Myth of Metaphor By Colin Murry Turbayne Yale University Press, 1962
Metaphor and Truth in History By McCullagh, C. Behan CLIO, Vol. 23, No. 1, Fall 1993
In Sickness and in Health: Disease as Metaphor in Art and Popular Wisdom By Laurinda S. Dixon; Gabriel P. Weisberg University of Delaware Press, 2004
Metaphor and Religious Language By Janet Martin Soskice Clarendon Press, 1987
Cold War Rhetoric: Strategy, Metaphor, and Ideology By Martin J. Medhurst; Robert L. Ivie; Philip Wander; Robert L. Scott Michigan State University Press, 1997 (Revised edition)
Objects of Metaphor By Samuel Guttenplan Clarendon Press, 2005
Using Metaphors for High-Performance Teaching and Coaching By Gassner, Gregory Jay JOPERD--The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, Vol. 70, No. 7, September 1999
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