Extended metaphor  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
common types of metaphors

An extended metaphor, also called a conceit, is a metaphor that continues into the sentences that follow. An extended metaphor is also a metaphor developed at great length, occurring frequently in or throughout a work. Extended metaphors are especially effective in poems and fiction.


  • If one starts with the metaphor of "The seeds of discontent have already been sown", an extension could be "It remains to be seen whether weeds or flowers will spring forth."
  • "The winds were ocean waves, thrashing against the trees' limbs. The gales remained thereafter, only ceasing when the sun went down. Their waves clashed brilliantly with the water beneath, bringing foam and dying leaves to the shore."
    In this case, the extension would then be the second two sentences, "The gales remained thereafter, only ceasing... and dying leaves to the shore."
  • Also, many fables and fairy tales are often extended metaphors.
    Such as short stories like "Where Have You Gone, Charming Billy" by Tim O'Brien

Extended metaphors break into two types: implicit and explicit. Implicit means that the poem doesn't state what one of the objects you are comparing is. Explicit means that the poem clearly state the two comparison items; e.g. "He is a pig."

Extended metaphor poems are generally categorized into three groups: of metaphors, is metaphors, and adjacent noun metaphors. An "of metaphor" is a metaphor consisting of the pattern "She is the love of my life". An "is metaphor" is more profound version of "of metaphors". These shorten the previous example to "She is love." An adjacent noun poem is a less common category. It uses two unrelated nouns to create a vivid image. Adjacent noun poems are usually light-hearted and entertaining.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Extended metaphor" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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