60 Painless Examples of Metaphors for ALL!

Wrapping your head around examples of metaphors can be exhausting and frustrating if you don’t have a clear voice guiding the way through the word jungle (our first metaphor – – check!), so allow us to be that guiding light for you!

We’ve put together a great bundle of examples of metaphors that will help you understand what they are and how to read them, and you may even find your wordsmith bone itching to write your own examples of metaphors.

Examples of metaphors can come up in a variety of ways, from chit-chatting with a friend to a loving thank you message, or even in the form of a book club question! Our guess is that you encounter more examples of metaphors than you may realize, and if you hear one on the new episode of that TV show you love, you can point at the TV and say “I knew what that was!”

So, let’s get started on these examples of metaphors journey together and begin with an easy, witty, and visual metaphor!

“It’s a metaphor, you see. You put the thing that does the killing right between your teeth, but you never give it the power to kill you,” The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

This is one of our favorite visual and audible examples of metaphors because the metaphor is broken down easily.

The male character, Augustus, buys a pack of cigarettes and puts them in his mouth as if he would light it up. But the kicker is, he doesn’t! The cigarettes are a metaphor for hardship, of what could kill him if he gave it the power to, but he puts the cigarette in his mouth, and he doesn’t light it, therefore not giving it the power to harm him.

Examples of metaphors can come off as a bit “extra” at times, but they do serve as a great visual example to convey to someone the emotional power you’re putting behind something you’re explaining. Let’s take a look at the true definition of the word metaphor, and then jump into some great examples of metaphors.

What’s a Metaphor?

The dictionary definition for metaphor can be found below, but let’s break it down in simpler terms. We appreciate you dictionary, we really do, but sometimes you can be a bit confusing.

Essentially, a metaphor is a symbol. Just like in the metaphor video above, putting the cigarette in your mouth but not lighting it was a symbol and representation of inner strength, of fighting against something bad, of not letting something negative do harm to you even when it’s in your presence.

At times, examples of metaphors can be confused with examples of similes, and that’s totally understandable because they do (no pun intended) have similarities. But the key difference here is that a simile is comparing one subject matter with another to provide a deeper context, whereas the subjects of examples of metaphors aren’t being compared they are being used as a symbol/representation.

[ met-uh-fawr, -fer ]

1. a figure of speech in which a term or phrase is applied to something to which it is not literally applicable in order to suggest a resemblance
2. something used, or regarded as being used, to represent something else; emblem; symbol

Famous Examples of Metaphors

Now we’ve gotten to the main event, the big list of examples of metaphors! We learn best from examples, right?

From reading through this list of examples of metaphors, you can begin to get a feel and recognize a metaphor within a sentence. To give you a boost, we’ll break one down before you head into the deep depths of examples of metaphors.

We’ll use this Bob Dylan quote as an example. “Chaos is a friend of mine.”
The message that’s being conveyed in this sentence is that Dylan lives a life that has a frequency of chaos in it. He uses the word chaos in relation to the word friend to show that chaos is as present in his life as a real-life friend would be. And so, a metaphor is born!

  • “That’s the big guy. What a big paintbrush he’s got.” – “The Truman Show”, 1998
  • “Chaos is a friend of mine.” – Bob Dylan
  • “She stood there until something fell off the shelf inside her. Then she went inside to see what it was.” – Zora Neal Hurston
  • “Time is a dressmaker specializing in alterations” – Faith Baldwin
  • “She was a mind floating in an ocean of confusion.” – Caroline B. Cooney
  • “Life is a puzzle with many pieces” – Walt Disney
  • “Books are the mirrors of the soul.” – Virginia Woolf
  • “We all grow tired eventually; it happens to everyone. Even the sun, at the close of the year, is no longer a morning person.” – Joyce Rachelle
  • “A hospital bed is a parked taxi with the meter running.” – Groucho Marx
  • “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances.” – William Shakespeare
  • “The idea is to spin the wheel of metaphors and images until sparks of associations begin to fly for the reader.” – Charles Simic
  • “All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree.” – Albert Einstein
  • “Her mouth was a fountain of delight.” – Kate Chopin
  • “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • “Hope is a flame that never dies.” – George Eliot
  • “The sun in the west was a drop of burning gold that slid near and nearer the sill of the world.” – William Golding
  • “The Big Bang.” – Fred Hoyle
  • “Life is a journey, not a destination.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • “America has tossed its cap over the wall of space.” – John F. Kennedy
  • “Time rises and rises, and when it reaches the level of your eyes you drown.” – Margaret Atwood
  • “If you have been battling the cannon fire, gunfire won’t bother you.” – Amit Kalantri
  • “The sun was a toddler insistently refusing to go to bed: It was past eight thirty and still light.” – John Green
  • “Ideas are the seeds of the future.” – Mahatma Gandhi
  • “I am the good shepherd, … and I lay down my life for the sheep.” – John 10:14-15
  • “His words were like a curtain of silk” – Virginia Woolf
  • “A good conscience is a continual Christmas.” – Benjamin Franklin
  • “Behind him, sitting on piles of scrap and rubble, was the blue kite. My key to Baba’s heart.” – Khaled Hosseini
  • “All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind.” – Khalil Gibran
  • “The future is a blank canvas.” – Thomas Edison
  • “Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” – Marcel Proust
  • “Delia was an overbearing cake with condescending frosting, and frankly, I was on a diet.” – Maggie Stiefvater
  • “The frosted wedding cake of the ceiling” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • “But it is just two lovers, holding hands and in a hurry to reach their car, their locked hands a starfish leaping through the dark.” – John Updike
  • “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” – Pablo Picasso
  • “But soft! What light through younger window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.” – William Shakespeare
  • “In her hands, I always became the pawn. I could only run away. And she was the queen, able to move in all directions, relentless in her pursuit, always able to find my weakest spot.” – Amy Tan
  • “Life is a tapestry; we are the threads.” – Jessica Guinn
  • “They can steal your recipe, but the sauce won’t taste the same.” – Unknown
  • “This blood is a map of the road between us.” – Linda Hogan
  • “If you want a love message to be heard, it has got to be sent out. To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.” – Mother Teresa
  • “Conscience is a man’s compass.” – Vincent Van Gogh
  • “She must make him happy. She must be his favorite place in Minneapolis. You are a souvenir shop, where he goes to remember how much people miss him when he is gone.” – Sierra DeMulder

Examples of Metaphors in Poetry

  • “The path of love is a winding road.” – Robert Frost
  • “Fill your paper with the breathing of your heart.” – William Wordsworth
  • “And your very flesh shall be a great poem.” – Walt Whitman
  • “The sunset was a blazing inferno.” – Edgar Allan Poe
  • “A poet is a verb that blossoms light in gardens of dawn, or sometimes midnight.” – Aberjhani
  • “Dying is a wild night and a new road.” – Emily Dickinson

Examples of Metaphors in Song

  • “You are the sunshine of my life” – “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” by Stevie Wonder
  • “Ricochet you take your aim / Fire away fire away / You shoot me down but I won’t fall / I am titanium” – “Titanium” by David Guetta
  • “‘Cause baby you’re a firework / Come on show them what you’re worth / Make ’em go “Oh Oh Oh” / As you shoot across the sky!” – “Firework” by Katy Perry
  • “You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog / Cryin’ all the time.” – “Hound Dog” by Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller
  • “Life is a highway / I wanna ride it all night long” – “Life is a Highway” by Tom Cochrane
  • “You’re a falling star / You’re the getaway car / You’re the line in the sand when I go too far” – “Everything” by Michael Buble
Photo square letters from a board game forming the text metaphor isolated on orange background. Examples of metaphors.

Examples of Metaphors Sentences

Now that you’ve read through some prime and famous examples of metaphors let’s get into some examples of metaphors that are commonly used in sentences.

We won’t be listing all the commonly used metaphors because then you’d be here all day instead of livin’ it up! Instead, we’re going to list out a few examples of metaphors used in a sentence and break them down so you can get a further understanding of metaphors used in a sentence.

Keep in mind that there are hundreds of examples of metaphors, and we’ve plucked just a few so as not to overwhelm the learning process. You got this!

  • “Her laughter was my heart’s medicine as she wiped away my tears.”
    • A common metaphor, “Laughter is the best medicine,” is loosely used here. This metaphor draws emphasis on comparing someone’s laugh to healing medicine for their wounded heart.
  • “As soon as she walked through the door, his heart melted on the floor.”
    • We’ve all heard the cliche but cute metaphor, “heart melted” when referring to something that’s so unbelievably beautiful, adorable, or sweet the feeling overwhelms you (in a good way!).
  • “Their mentor was a guiding light during a dark period of their life.”
    • Using a metaphor such as “Guiding light” is perfect when you’re comparing an individual to being a sort of saving grace. A person who’s come to someone else’s mental and emotional rescue when they could not do it themselves.
  • “She’s got a heart of stone.”
    • Ah, yes, a classic right here. Any person can be described in a metaphor as having a “heart of stone” so long as they lack empathy.
  • “If the world was our bed, there are certainly monsters underneath it.”
    • This metaphor is a bit more playful and edges towards a more complex metaphor. A common childhood memory amongst most people is wondering if there are “monsters under the bed”. This metaphor brings that nostalgia and the fact that the word “monsters” can be used for the ugly things in the world.
  • “Let’s keep it moving, people; time is money!”
    • You’ve certainly heard the metaphor “Time is money”; this metaphor can most likely be heard in more business-oriented settings because this metaphor suggests that every minute can be spent making money.
Photo word example on wooden cubes on yellow - gray background. Examples of metaphors section.

Well, I’ll be darned if you don’t look like examples of metaphors expert! You traveled through the dense forests of sentences and reached the enlightening knowledge of metaphors; you should be proud (We sure are).

You’ve read through literary examples of metaphors, metaphors found in poetry, and even examples of metaphors found in movies! You can confidently recognize a metaphor when it comes across your page, and we sure hope you get to write some metaphors in the future. Who knows, writing examples of metaphors could be a nice mental exercise!

Thank you for choosing us to learn about examples of metaphors, and we wish you well on your knowledge journey.


  • Briah a.

    Briah A. is a lover of writing, reading, and making memories with her partner and close ones while keeping a steady hand on her coffee mug. Her publishing journey began in 2015, and she currently has 5 collections of poetry, 1 novel, and 2 novellas published under the pen name B.A. McRae. Above all, she's an optimist with a healthy appetite for movies/TV shows, hiking, and being goofy with her partner.

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