Figures of Speech: Metaphors

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Adam is a walking encyclopedia

Figures of Speech, like idioms, have evolved through usage, rather than the work of Lexicographers, those who decide what goes in the dictionary. But unlike idioms, the meaning of the Figures of Speech known as metaphors can be deduced through logic. 

Figures of Speech fall into many categories, they can be similes, hyperbole and metaphors.

Metaphors, the language of poets, are Figure of Speech that describes an object or action in a way that isn’t exactly true. However, these untruths help to describe the object or actions by comparing them to something else. For example, you may hear a native English speaker say:

“Adam is a walking encyclopedia of music.” 

Upon hearing this Metaphor, you would be correct to assume that Adam isn’t literally a collection of books that give information on many subjects. Adam is simply knowledgeable about music. 

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Examples of Walking Encyclopedia

How might I hear the phrase walking encyclopedia used?

It has been said that “Erica is a walking encyclopedia of Civil War history.” She knows everything about the American Civil war. In this scenario, Erica is the most knowledgeable person in this era of American history. 

Speaking of metaphor and the 1860s, the phrase “a walking dictionary” was popularized by Mary Alcott in the book Little Women, an American classic. Much like the metaphor “a walking encyclopedia,” the metaphor “walking dictionary” describes a person who is very knowledgeable on a specific subject. 

Examples of Metaphors

We were scared, our teacher is a dragon.

You are my sunshine.

Ronald believes that life is a rollercoaster. 

Let’s practice 

Q1: Try making your own sentence.

Q2: Do you know someone who is considered a walking dictionary? Why is he/she called so?  

Q3: Do you think temper is often compared to a volcano? Explain your answer.

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