angry - angry like a butcher
beautiful - beautiful like a princess
ugly - ugly like a slug
stubborn - stubborn like a donkey
short - short like a button
thin - thin like a straw
silly - silly like a bucket
scared easily - scared easily like a deer
In everyday English, words are very commonly used metaphorically. We use metaphors so regularly that we often don't even register that we are using them. For example, we have lots of metaphors about weather.
• The sky was dark and angry.
• His lightning reflexes saved his life.
• His sunny face was just what I wanted to see.
The sky cannot be literally angry and no-one can have reflexes as fast as lightning; a sunny face helps us to think of the warmth of the sun and we transfer this to the character of this person. These words (metaphors) are used to express our understanding or our interpretation of the world around us as clearly as possible.
A lot of metaphors relate to nature in general.
• I think this will throw some light on the issue.
• I've made some punch with wine, fruit juice and a little brandy to break the ice.
• The agreement was hedged around by a large number of restrictions.
• That politician is a sly fox.
The use of "light", "break the ice" and "hedged" are all nature-based metaphors that are used to express how we view the world.
A lot of metaphors are based on gardens or agriculture. For example, we often use the word root to refer to the cause of a problem. It can also be used to describe something starting to grow.
• The root of this problem is Blair's decision to go into Iraq.
• If we keep on pushing this idea forward, it might actually take root.
• The Labour Party wants to have a very strong grass-roots campaign.
• After a rocky start, their romance blossomed.
• This is a thorny issue so it will take some time to sort it out.
Many metaphors relate to water.
• The ocean of his mind was awash with new ideas.
• I don't want to go out with him. He's so wet!
• Waves of disappointment swept over him.
• He watered down his proposal quite a lot and in the end it wasn't radical enough.
• My legs turned to water and I couldn't move.