One and for all: What (the hell) is the the difference between an analogy and a metaphor?


There were answers but no one of them really answer the questions (or not clearly enough).

Can you eventually save my life?

Edit: “Once and for all”, apologize me, I’m Italian.

In: 0

Analogy is when you compare two things that have a common link. For example they share a property like being a fruit or being sweet. “The candy was sweet like the finest Georgia peach” both the candy and the fruit are sweet, which makes the statement an analogy.

A metaphor likens something to another thing with no commonality “her hair flowed over her shoulders like a crashing wave” her hair and waves 🌊 have nothing in common but the writer is trying to evoke a mental image by using this metaphor.

Analogy = Alike

Methaphor = not alike

On a very simple level (because you can write a book or two about these things):

An analogy attempts to simplify a concept by explaining it with a similar, but perhaps more familiar or less abstract concept. It does not have to be an explanation in the strictest sense btw. Some engineers would argue that prototypes or model testing are analogies as well: take something very complex, break it down, ease it up and make it more understandable.

> *”You have no idea what an account with attached licenses are and what you need to pay? Let me explain it to you with this example of a garage with two cars in it … you have to pay insurance and gas for both, even if they are in a single garage*.

A metaphor takes a concept and compares it so another concept, drawing comparisons.

> *”Love is a battlefield.”*

No, yo don´t kill anyone for love. But it is still an emotional rollercoaster, full of conquest, losses, win conditions and resource attrition.


An analogy is a story that is meant to explain a concept. Example: climbing the top of this mountain is similar to winning a game. You have to work hard to reach the peak, but it’s worth it in the end.

A metaphor is a direct comparison to a totally unrelated object, existing to visualize or support the original claim. Example: “your eyes are diamonds”. You’re comparing the brightness or shine of a person’s eyes to an object, but unlike an analogy, you aren’t trying to explain or demonstrate a concept, you’re just drawing a direct comparison to edify your claim.

My 2c: a really good analogy is comparing air pressure systems with electronic circuits, you can just swap air flow for electrical current and so on, you’ll yield the same equations (up to some point).
A good example I can think of for a metaphor is actually from House MD: they probed some organ (cut out a small amount of tissue for analysis) and the test was negative, but someone unconvinced said „if you get a bucket full of water out of the ocean and there are zero fish in it, does that mean there are none in the ocean?“

More examples always help more than complex explanations when you’re struggling imo

A metaphor is a comparison between two things. Basically, you use a common trait.

An analogy is also a comparison, but in this case you try to “create a story” to highlight several common traits.

In a broad sense, a metaphor is poetic. An analogy tries to explain something in simpler terms.

For instance, if you say “a country is a family”, that’s a metaphor. But if you say “a country is a family: grandpa is our history, the parents are the working force, and the children is the future”, that’s an analogy, because you try to relate several comparisons about the same thing.

Guarda, lascia stare gli altri commenti perché analogy e analogia hanno significati diversi.

La metafora accosta due immagini che hanno un rapporto di somiglianza tra di loro, quindi ad esempio “tornare al proprio nido” è una metafora, perché sostituisce “casa” con “nido”, ma c’è comunque un nesso logico perché il nido è la casa degli uccelli.

L’analogia è più audace invece, connette due immagini che apparentemente non hanno nulla a che fare tra di loro.

Ungaretti ad esempio scrive “Tornano in alto ad ardere le favole”, e “favole” richiama l’immagine delle stelle, che normalmente ardono nel cielo.

Pascoli invece scrive
“…E’ l’alba: si chiudono i petali
un poco gualciti; si cova,
dentro l’urna molle e segreta
non so che felicità nuova.”
Qua l’analogia è tra il gelsomino che germoglia di notte e l’unione dei due sposi nella loro prima notte.

Quindi nell’analogia il nesso è meno evidente che nella metafora perché non c’è un rapporto logico.