Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Analogy and Metaphor

analogyAnalogy vs Metaphor

In literature, most of the times analogy and metaphor are being confused in their usages. Probably, this is due to both are pertaining to a relationship between two things. So where does the difference lie?

Metaphor originated from the Greek word, metaphor which simply means to transfer. Analogy on the other hand came from the Greek word, analogia which means proportion. Given these etymologies, metaphor is a figure of speech that actually transfers the meaning of one thing directly on another unit. It is actually an implicit comparison that inventively points some thing with another thing. This is actually being used in stories or poems by authors to put a twist to the meaning of certain word.

Analogy, on the other hand gives a rather parallel relationship with two words. This means that analogy explains the relationship between the similarities of these two things. It is a comparison that points out or gives proportional relations to two things or words. This form is usually being used in teaching. If one thing is not being understood by the student, you can parallel it and put an analogy on something that would give you the same meaning as to what you really meant.

An example of metaphor could be: She showered her with gifts. A perfect example of analogy is: Fire is to hot as ice is to cold. As you can see, in here metaphor transfers the meaning of the word ‘gave’ to the word ‘showered’. Analogy on the other example, gives the relationship to the two phrases. Both are actually referring to the similar thing which is the temperature of the two ideas – fire and ice.

Put it in simple terms: Analogy basically gives similar relationship to two things while metaphor replaces the meaning of one word with another.

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  1. Useful and simple to understand. Thank you.

  2. 2nd para: “It is actually an implicit comparison that inventively points some thing with another thing.”

    “points some thing with another thing”???
    My first guess is that you meant: points some thing TO another thing
    but that doesn’t make sense, either…
    Maybe: paints some thing as another thing?
    Better might be: speaks of one kind of thing as if it’s another.
    Like “time flew by” or “they had a sea of troubles.”

    Plus, omit the unnecessary “actually”.

    Another way to explain a metaphor is that it takes a word from one context, to evoke some property or feeling from it, and uses it in another.

  3. Thank you. So if I use an image, such as an iceberg to represent culture in an organisation (most of which is not clearly visible), is this a visual metaphor or a visual analogy?


  1. Difference Between Metaphor and Metonymy | Difference Between | Metaphor vs Metonymy

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