A comparison that is made literally, either by a verb (for example, John Keats' "Beauty is truth, truth beauty" from his "Ode on a Grecian Urn") or, less obviously, by a combination of adjective and noun, noun and verb, etc. (for example, Shakespeare's sonnet on the "the marriage of true minds"), but in any case without pointing out a similarity by using words such as "as," "like," or "than."


  • Dead metaphor: an originally metaphoric expression in which the implied comparison has been forgotten and is taken literally, as, for example, "I have my hands full at this time."
  • Mixed metaphor: two awkwardly-yoked metaphors, such as "kicking the spurs of zeal on the road to Abraham's bosom."