An implied metaphor is a type of metaphor that compares two unlike things without mentioning one of them. For example, “Elise finally lured Adam into her web.” In this line, we know what Elise is being compared to a spider, but it isn’t expressly stated.
When looking at examples of implied metaphors, you’ll see they’re slightly different from regular metaphors because they don’t specifically state what they’re comparing.
For example, “My Dad is my rock,” expressly compares a father to a rock, something solid and sturdy. This is quite different from, “Harry crumbled under the pressure,” where it’s implied the man couldn’t cope with pressure, by comparing him to something that easily falls apart like a cake, a soft cheese, or even a rock tumbling down the hill. This one is open to interpretation, leaving you to make the connection.
Implied metaphors allow writers to create vivid imagery in their prose. Sometimes, the comparison is an easy leap to make, painting a clear picture. Other times, the implied comparison takes a moment’s pause. Some implied metaphors leave themselves entirely open to debate since, in truth, they’re never expressly stated by the author.
Implied Metaphors: An Unmentioned Comparison
Let’s dive right in to several examples of implied metaphor we hope will ignite the metaphoric fires for all your future writings. You’ll quickly begin to see how nature is a handy element in this form of comparison.
Comparing People to Animals or Nature
- Samuel brayed his refusal to leave the party peacefully. (Compares Samuel to a donkey)
- Angrily Sonia barked commands at her child. (Compares Sonia to a dog)
- Andy’s wife asked him to go fetch dinner. (Compares Andy to a dog)
- Tony tucked his tail and ran. (Compares Tony to a scared dog)
- Jennifer purred over the lavish present. (Compares Jennifer to a cat)
- When Todd’s deception was found out, he left with his tail between his legs. (Compares Todd to an ashamed dog)
- Alex was chomping at the bit to have his turn. (Compares Alex to a horse)
- Harry squawked when the teacher ordered him to detention. (Compares Harry to a bird)
- Zeus bellowed his commands to his subjects. (Compares Zeus to a bull)
- Eddie galloped to the store. (Compares Eddie to a horse)
- The paparazzi circled over the young singing sensation. (Compares paparazzi to vultures)
- The hostess spent the entire party buzzing from table to table. (Compares the hostess to a bee or fly)
- The pregnant woman waddled into the delivery room. (Compares a pregnant woman to a duck or goose)
- Danny slithered over to Donna and hissed, “Let’s go.” (Compares Danny to a snake)
- The couple shed their clothes and jumped into the hot springs. (Compares the couple to snakes shedding their skin)
- The flowers nodded in the wind. (Compares flowers to people)
Comparing People to Inanimate Objects
- Wanda sailed through her exams in no time. (Compares Wanda to a sailboat)
- At the party, the men orbited the super model. (Compares men to planets)
- Justin’s smile radiated throughout the room. (Compares Justin’s smile to the sun)
- Philip’s anger grew until it erupted. (Compares anger to a volcano)
- To keep the peace, Alice steered away from confrontation. (Compares Alice to a car or driver)
- Andy wound his way through the crowd to get a better view. (Compares Andy to ivy or vine)
Comparing Two Inanimate Objects
- The loving words nourished his bruised ego. (Compares words to food)
- The colors of the sunset were leafy orange and yellow. (Compares the sunset to autumn leaves)
- Love can have dangerous thorns. (Compares love to a rose)
- Bigotry infects the soul. (Compares bigotry to a disease)
- Her thoughtless remarks slashed his ego. (Compares remarks to a knife)
Comparing Inanimate Objects to Animals or Nature
- The leaves were fluttering in the breeze. (Compares leaves to butterflies)
- The Porsche crouched before the race, growling in anticipation. (Compares the Porsche to a big cat)
- The snow swaddled the hillside. (Compares snow to a blanket and the hillside to a baby)
Not Everything’s Black and White
Do you see how comparisons can be made between two items, and a vivid statement is created, with implied metaphors? It’s not always necessary to be black and white in our writing. In fact, certain genres, such as poetry and fiction, lend themselves rather well to this form of figurative language.
That’s how things like, “Mandy’s a witch,” get turned into things like, “Mandy left in a mood and flew off on her broomstick.” We hope you’ll enjoy your exploration of these literary tools with some examples of metaphors in poems.