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15 Famous Metaphor Examples That Every Writer Should Read


When it comes to making your writing more compelling, it is important that you know how to use metaphors. What are metaphors? A metaphor is a literary device that describes an action or object. While it is not really true, it still makes a comparison or explains the idea. Metaphors are very effective in evoking greater imagery in your writing. It could be a bit tricky to write at first though. Here are some famous metaphor examples that will inspire you to write better metaphors.

1. Bobby Holloway says my imagination is a three-hundred-ring circus. Currently I was in ring two hundred and ninety-nine, with elephants dancing and clowns cart wheeling and tigers leaping through rings of fire. The time had come to step back, leave the main tent, go buy some popcorn and a Coke, bliss out, cool down.

- Dean Koontz

2. Who had they been, all these mothers and sisters and wives? What were they now? Moons, blank and faceless, gleaming with borrowed light, each spinning loyally around a bigger sphere. ‘Invisible,’ said Faith under her breath. Women and girls were so often unseen, forgotten, afterthoughts. Faith herself had used it to good effect, hiding in plain sight and living a double life. But she had been blinded by exactly the same invisibility-of-the-mind, and was only just realizing it.

- Frances Hardinge

3. Using a metaphor in front of a man as unimaginative as Ridcully was the same as putting a red flag to a bu — the same as putting something very annoying in front of someone who was annoyed by it.

- Terry Pratchett

4. I watched a girl in a sundress kiss another girl on a park bench, and just as the sunlight spilled perfectly onto both of their hair, I thought to myself: How bravely beautiful it is, that sometimes, the sea wants the city, even when it has been told its entire life it was meant for the shore.

– Christopher Poindexter

5. All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind. Thinking is always the stumbling stone to poetry. A great singer is he who sings our silences. How can you sing if your mouth be filled with food? How shall your hand be raised in blessing if it is filled with gold? They say the nightingale pierces his bosom with a thorn when he sings his love song.

- Khalil Gibran

6. These poems do not live: it’s a sad diagnosis. They grew their toes and fingers well enough, Their little foreheads bulged with concentration. If they missed out on walking about like people It wasn’t for any lack of mother-love.

- Sylvia Plath

7. Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by / And that has made all the difference.

- Robert Frost

8. She must make him happy. She must be his favorite place in Minneapolis. You are a souvenir shop, where he goes to remember how much people miss him when he is gone.

- Sierra DeMulder

9. What’s this?” he inquired, none too pleasantly. “A circus?” “No, Julius. It’s the end of the circus.” “I see. And these are the clowns?” Foaly’s head poked through the doorway. “Pardon me for interrupting your extended circus metaphor, but what the hell is that?”

- Eoin Colfer

10. Delia was an overbearing cake with condescending frosting, and frankly, I was on a diet.

- Maggie Stiefvater

11. He could hear Beatty’s voice. ‘Sit down, Montag. Watch. Delicately, like the petals of a flower. Light the first page, light the second page. Each becomes a black butterfly. Beautiful, eh? Light the third page from the second and so on, chainsmoking, chapter by chapter, all the silly things the words mean, all the false promises, all the second-hand notions and time-worn philosophies.

- Ray Bradbury

12. “The sun in the west was a drop of burning gold that slid near and nearer the sill of the world.”

- William Golding

13. “’I am a shark, Cassie,’ he says slowly, drawing the words out, as if he might be speaking to me for the last time. Looking into my eyes with tears in his, as if he’s seeing me for the last time. “A shark who dreamed he was a man.

- Rick Yancey

14. Hope is the thing with feathers / That perches in the soul / And sings the tune without the words / And never stops at all.

- Emily Dickinson

15. Marriage is not a house or even a tent it is before that, and colder: the edge of the forest, the edge of the desert the edge of the receding glacier where painfully and with wonder at having survived even this far we are learning to make fire

- Margaret Atwood


If you want to improve your writing, it is imperative that you learn how to use metaphors. These writing tools, are capable of giving your writing a sense of flair and substance. With these examples of famous metaphors, you will be able to write great metaphors of your very own.

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