dead metaphor


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dead metaphor

n.
A figure of speech whose metaphorical meaning has become so familiar over time that its literal meaning is forgotten or goes unnoticed, as in arrive at a conclusion or cast a glance.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.dead metaphor - a metaphor that has occurred so often that it has become a new meaning of the expression (e.g., `he is a snake' may once have been a metaphor but after years of use it has died and become a new sense of the word `snake')
metaphor - a figure of speech in which an expression is used to refer to something that it does not literally denote in order to suggest a similarity
References in periodicals archive ?
There are seven sections, beginning with "Adrenaline," which opens with "Massacre," in which "Massacre is a dead metaphor that is eating my friends, eating them without salt.
This ad hoc variation on [ROBUST.sub.1], entering into common parlance about wine and food, becomes a dead metaphor and thus a secondary sense of the lexeme.
(13) In A Tale of Two Cities the idiom "shaking in one's shoes" for "being afraid" is literalized when the road mender is said to be shaking "in his wooden shoes" out of fear of Madame Defarge (180), his footgear, ominously contrasting with the elegant shoes made by Doctor Manette in captivity and foreshadowing a combination of dead metaphor and hypallage--when after the outbreak of the Revolutionary terror, the synecdochic Monseigneur "[takes] to his noble heels" (243).
Indeed, experts in metaphor will no doubt cringe at my use of the term "dead metaphor." While I am persuaded that dead metaphors are actually alive in so far as "what is deeply entrenched, hardly noticed, and thus effortlessly used is most active in our thought" (Kovesces 2010, xi) (if 'most active' is here taken to mean something like "most commonly activated," and not "most effectual," as in "active ingredient"), the term will be readily understood by my intended audience and is apposite in a context of gradual diachronic obsolescence.
The Body/Politic in its traditional sense has lost its appeal--it has become a dead metaphor" (2010: 253).
Discussing the new, unpredictable meanings generated by metaphoric activity, which eventually become domesticated as "dead metaphor" and thus need to be re-estranged, he explains that the "health of a culture in this way depends upon its being continually made a stranger to itself, and the source of that estrangement can come from anywhere" (51).
Right at the outset of Fahey's penultimate chapter, "'Ears of Flesh and Blood': Dead Metaphors and Ghostly Figures in Hamlet," she says her reading of poison in the king's ear as a dead metaphor will not be demonstrated by uncontestable proof (140).
With Crane's work, Young identifies "an intrinsic connection between the fictional figure of the Frankenstein monster and the literary figure of the dead metaphor, outlining this connection generally and then in historical relation to late-nineteenth-century American accounts of metaphor" (68-69).
Blair also acknowledges that the prevalence of the heart in Victorian poetry means that it 'now might seem like a dead metaphor or a sentimental commonplace' (p.
Like Shakespeare, she is master of puns, from the bawdy to the sublime dualism of her cosmology, built on the pun of Cloud and Law, both Old English words for "Hill." Built, too, on the dead metaphor in the simple word cloud--"that hill in the sky." In Moonwise, so much depends on the pun "Wood=forest" and "Wood=Mad."
Perhaps my favorite subject in Don's talks with journalists is the dead metaphor. A dead metaphor is a word we use, often a verb and usually for the sake of colorful writing, that no longer calls to mind the word's actual meaning.
Coming upon a dead metaphor, lying on the ground like a thunderstruck mooncalf, most literary critics--it is in our training and nature--will be apt to give it at least a gentle prod with the toe of a boot.