50 Easy & Hard Metaphor Examples

A metaphor is a comparison between two unlike things not using the word “like” or “as” to make the comparison. Metaphors can be powerful, but they can also be tricky to identify at times. This page contains 100 metaphor examples. I have separated the metaphors on this page into two lists. The first list contains metaphors that are easier to comprehend and identify. We will call these “easy metaphors,” though they may not be easy to understand. The second list contains fifty metaphors that are more difficult to comprehend. We will call these “hard metaphors.” Another way to consider this would be as a list of metaphors for kids and adults. Without further preamble, here is the list of easy metaphors:

Metaphor Examples for Intermediate Readers

The slashes indicate line breaks.

  1. The detective listened to her tales with a wooden face.
  2. She was fairly certain that life was a fashion show.
  3. The typical teenage boy’s room is a disaster area.
  4. What storms then shook the ocean of my sleep.
  5. The children were roses grown in concrete gardens, beautiful and forlorn.
  6. Kisses are the flowers of love in bloom.
  7. His cotton candy words did not appeal to her taste.
  8. Kathy arrived at the grocery store with an army of children.
  9. Her eyes were fireflies.
  10. He wanted to set sail on the ocean of love but he just wasted away in the desert.
  11. I was lost in a sea of nameless faces.
  12. John’s answer to the problem was just a Band-Aid, not a solution.
  13. The cast on Michael’s broken leg was a plaster shackle.
  14. Cameron always had a taste for the fruit of knowledge.
  15. The promise between us was a delicate flower.
  16. He’s a rolling stone, and it’s bred in the bone.
  17. He pleaded for her forgiveness but Janet’s heart was cold iron.
  18. She was just a trophy to Ricardo, another object to possess.
  19. The path of resentment is easier to travel than the road to forgiveness.
  20. Katie’s plan to get into college was a house of cards on a crooked table.
  21. The wheels of justice turn slowly.
  22. Hope shines–a pebble in the gloom.
  23. She cut him down with her words.
  24. The job interview was a rope ladder dropped from heaven.
  25. Her hair was a flowing golden river streaming down her shoulders.
  26. The computer in the classroom was an old dinosaur.
  27. Laughter is the music of the soul.
  28. David is a worm for what he did to Shelia.
  29. The teacher planted the seeds of wisdom.
  30. Phyllis, ah, Phyllis, my life is a gray day
  31. Each blade of grass was a tiny bayonet pointed firmly at our bare feet.
  32. The daggers of heat pierced through his black t-shirt.
  33. Let your eyes drink up that milkshake sky.
  34. The drums of time have rolled and ceased.
  35. Her hope was a fragile seed.
  36. When Ninja Robot Squad came on TV, the boys were glued in their seats.
  37. Words are the weapons with which we wound.
  38. She let such beautiful pearls of wisdom slip from her mouth without even knowing.
  39. Scars are the roadmap to the soul.
  40. The quarterback was throwing nothing but rockets and bombs in the field.
  41. We are all shadows on the wall of time.
  42. My heart swelled with a sea of tears.
  43. When the teacher leaves her litte realm, she breaks her wand of power apart.
  44. The Moo Cow’s tail is a piece of rope all raveled out where it grows.
  45. My dreams are flowers to which you are a bee.
  46. The clouds sailed across the sky.
  47. Each flame of the fire is a precious stone belonging to all who gaze upon it.
  48. And therefore I went forth with hope and fear into the wintry forest of our life.
  49. My words are chains of lead.
  50. But into her face there came a flame; / I wonder could she have been thinking the same?

Metaphor Examples for Advanced Readers

Here are fifty more challenging examples of metaphors. The slashes indicate line breaks.

    1. The light flows into the bowl of the midnight sky, violet, amber and rose.
    2. Men court not death when there are sweets still left in life to taste.
    3. In capitalism, money is the life blood of society but charity is the soul.
    4. Whose world is but the trembling of a flare, / And heaven but as the highway for a shell,
    5. Fame is the fragrance of heroic deeds, / Of flowers of chivalry and not of weeds!
    6. So I sit spinning still, round this decaying form, the fine threads of rare and subtle thought.
    7. And swish of rope and ring of chain /
      Are music to men who sail the main.
    8. Still sits the school-house by the road, a ragged beggar sunning.
    9. The child was our lone prayer to an empty sky.
    10. Blind fools of fate and slaves of circumstance, / Life is a fiddler, and we all must dance.
    11. Grind the gentle spirit of our meek reviews into a powdery foam of salt abuse.
    12. Laugh a drink from the deep blue cup of sky.
    13. Think now: history has many cunning passages and contrived corridors.
    14. You are now in London, that great sea whose ebb and flow at once is deaf and loud,
    15. His fine wit makes such a wound that the knife is lost in it.
    16. Waves of spam emails inundated his inbox.
    17. In my heart’s temple I suspend to thee these votive wreaths of withered memory.
    18. He cast a net of words in garish colours wrought to catch the idle buzzers of the day.
    19. This job is the cancer of my dreams and aspirations.
    20. This song shall be thy rose, soft, fragrant, and with no thorn left to wound thy bosom.
    21. There, one whose voice was venomed melody.
    22. A sweetness seems to last amid the dregs of past sorrows.
    23. So in this dimmer room which we call life,
    24. Life is the night with its dream-visions teeming, / Death is the waking at day.
    25. Then the lips relax their tension
      and the pipe begins to slide, /
      Till in little clouds of ashes,
      it falls softly at his side.
    26. The olden days: when thy smile to me was wine, golden wine thy word of praise.
    27. Thy tones are silver melted into sound.
    28. Under us the brown earth / Ancient and strong, / The best bed for wanderers;
    29. Love is a guest that comes, unbidden, / But, having come, asserts his right;
    30. My House of Life is weather-stained with years.
    31. See the sun, far off, a shrivelled orange in a sky gone black;
    32. Three pines strained darkly, runners in a race unseen by any.
    33. But the rare herb, Forgetfulness, it hides away from me.
    34. The field of cornflower yellow is a scarf at the neck of the copper sunburned woman
    35. Life: a lighted window and a closed door.
    36. Some days my thoughts are just cocoons hanging from dripping branches in the grey woods of my mind.
    37. Men and women pass in the street glad of the shining sapphire weather.
    38. The swan existing is a song with an accompaniment.
    39. At night the lake is a wide silence, without imagination.
    40. The cherry-trees are seas of bloom and soft perfume and sweet perfume.
    41. The great gold apples of light hang from the street’s long bough, dripping their light on the faces that drift below, on the faces that drift and blow.
    42. From its blue vase the rose of evening drops.
    43. When in the mines of dark and silent thought / Sometimes I delve and find strange fancies there,
    44. The twigs were set beneath a veil of willows.
    45. He clutched and hacked at ropes, at rags of sail, / Thinking that comfort was a fairy tale,
    46. O Moon, your light is failing and you are nothing now but a bow.
    47. Life is a dream in the night, a fear among fears, / A naked runner lost in a storm of spears.
    48. This world of life is a garden ravaged.
    49. And therefore I went forth, with hope and fear / Into the wintry forest of our life;
    50. My soul was a lampless sea and she was the tempest.

Well known metaphors

All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances.
William Shakespeare

Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.
Pablo Picasso

I am the good shepherd, … and I lay down my life for the sheep.
The Bible, John 10:14-15

All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree.
Albert Einstein

Chaos is a friend of mine.
Bob Dylan

All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind.
Khalil Gibran

If you want a love message to be heard, it has got to be sent out. To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.
Mother Teresa

America has tossed its cap over the wall of space.
John F. Kennedy

A hospital bed is a parked taxi with the meter running.
Groucho Marx

A good conscience is a continual Christmas.
Benjamin Franklin

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.
Marcel Proust

And your very flesh shall be a great poem.
Walt Whitman

Advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket.
George Orwell

Dying is a wild night and a new road.
Emily Dickinson

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.
William Wordsworth

Conscience is a man’s compass.
Vincent Van Gogh

Metaphor Examples


If you spend time around young children, you know they are full of questions. Why is the sky blue? How many clouds are there? What is he doing? Adults spend a lot of time teaching children about the world around them. They are always learning new things about the world and how it works. Parenting is an art that we are always learning more about.

Good parenting changes and evolves as our children grow. One of the best ways to teach a child something new is to use a metaphor. Simple metaphors help kids make connections and understand new things. The next time your child asks you a question try explaining the answer with one of these metaphor examples for kids. 

It’s easier for a child to understand a metaphor because it gives them a strong visual picture of what you are trying to explain. This is perfect when they have never encountered the thing they are asking you about. You can relate it back to something they know more about. Even after we grow up we continue to use metaphors in our daily lives. Learning to use and understand metaphors is an important part of growing up and being able to communicate effectively.

What is a Metaphor?

If your child asks what a metaphor is, here is how you can explain it. A metaphor is a comparison between two things that share a common characteristic. One thing is equal to another because it has this characteristic. For example, “You are my sunshine,” just like the sun brings warmth and happiness to someone’s day; you do the same, by bringing happiness to someone’s day. You are sunshine because you share the characteristic of making someone happy. A metaphor is a stronger image than a simile; and makes the reader feel or see something to help them understand it. It states that something is equal to something else; it is not just a comparison between two things.

Simile Vs Metaphor

When talking about metaphors you might come up with some that are actually similes. A simile is a comparison of two different things. They usually involve the words, like, as, or than. While a simile may seem like a metaphor it actually allows two things to be compared while remaining distinct. A metaphor suggests that one thing is something else.

  • Example of a metaphor – After they broke up, his heart was broken.
  • Example of a simile – His heart felt like breaking after they broke up.

It is important to remember that these two things are different, especially when writing or creating a poem. Using metaphors will allow people to understand and feel what you want them to much better than using similes. Remember there are also different levels of metaphors. Some are easy to understand and will be perfect when talking to your child. Others will be very complex and hard to understand. They may even require you to think about and decode them. These are more commonly found in poetry, however be careful that you are not using a metaphor that is too complex for your child to understand. They will not be able to process the information correctly if it is.

The Purpose of Metaphors

Metaphors should create an impact on the reader. They are used to inspire and help people understand the importance of something. For example, “Max is a pig when he eats,” gives the reader a strong visual of how messy Max is when he eats. This is very important not only in a story or poem, but in everyday conversation. If someone says that his stomach is a black hole you know it is important to have plenty of food at your event. If he had just said that his stomach is big or can hold a lot you wouldn’t think you needed as much food. If his stomach truly were a black hole you would need a never ending supply of food.

It is important to understand how a metaphor works and know when you have heard one. They are meant to create a vivid picture, or be a profound saying. The stronger the metaphor is, the better your intent will be received. Using metaphors to explain something to a child helps them by giving them a more visual picture.

Simple Metaphor Examples For Kids

Here is a list of simple metaphor examples you can use to help teach your child about new things.

  1. Max is a pig when he eats.
  2. You are my sunshine.
  3. It’s raining cats and dogs.
  4. Even a child could carry my dog around for hours. He is a feather.
  5. He is the Tiger Woods of his golf team.
  6. Mary’s hair was a fierce lion’s main; always sticking out in wild directions.
  7. He tried to help but his legs were rubber.
  8. Her eyes were fireflies.
  9. I was lost in a sea of nameless faces.
  10. My teacher is a dragon.
  11. Their home was a prison.
  12. Life is a rollercoaster.
  13. America is a melting pot.
  14. His eyes were ice.
  15. The world is a stage.
  16. Life is a fashion show.
  17. My kid’s room is a disaster.
  18. The alligator’s teeth are white daggers.
  19. Time is money.
  20. The wheels of justice turn slowly.
  21. She cut him down with her words.
  22. The teacher planted the seed of wisdom.
  23. The clouds sailed across the sky.
  24. Laughter is the music of the soul.
  25. He is a chicken.
  26. The peaceful lake was a mirror.
  27. Your brain is a computer.
  28. He is a night owl.
  29. The car was a furnace in the son.
  30. A blanket of snow covered the ground.
  31. The park was a lake after the rain.
  32. The lawn is a green carpet.
  33. The kids were monkeys on the jungle gym.
  34. The stars are sparkling diamonds.
  35. My brother is a couch potato.
  36. The clouds are balls of cotton.
  37. His stomach is a black hole.
  38. His heart is a rock.
  39. She is fishing for more.
  40. He was feeling blue.
  41. She is on a roller coaster of emotions.
  42. He has a broken heart.
  43. She has a bubbly personality.
  44. She is a shining star.
  45. The interstate was a parking lot at rush hour.
  46. Books are the keys to your imagination.
  47. The ballerina was a swan, gliding across the stage.
  48. Her angry words were bullets to him.
  49. The thunder was a lion.
  50. The road was a ribbon stretching across the desert.

If you are interested in learning more about metaphors and writing you should understand romantic poetry. You could even try to write some simple metaphor books to help your child learn about them. It’s also a perfect weekend craft you can do together! Not only will they learn more about metaphors they will be spending more time with you and practicing valuable skills. If you find that you really enjoy writing these metaphors for your child try brushing up on your grammar so that you are able to continue to help them throughout school. Children love learning new things from their parents.

Now that you have a full library of metaphors, you are prepared to answer your child’s next question assault. As well as using metaphors to help teach your children new things, it’s important to know about using them in your adult interactions as well. Many adults use about 6 metaphors a minute when engaged in conversation. Learning how to catch these metaphors and how to interpret them can help you in your everyday interactions with people. You may be able to use the information to help persuade them to do something, or just be able to understand more about what they are really thinking.

Learn more about yourself to really get conversations going with other adults. Discovering who you are as a person is an important communication tool that will also allow you to understand others better. Understanding what your child means when they say something and being able to answer their question is an important part of being the best parent you can. Many parents want to know how to avoid screwing up their kids. One of the best tools is communication. Keep the lines of communication open and use these metaphor examples for kids to help answer their many questions. Remember teachers are students as well! We are always learning and sharing new things as people!