why do we saystage of a journeyobody of an essay, if neither the trips nor the samples have body parts? Why do we call "the day a thing wins" alast termwhen no one dies when your homework is a day late? Many expressions in English are so common that we don't even think about what they mean anymore. we called themdead metaphors, and they weren't always so crazy; in fact, they used to make perfect sense.
A dead metaphor is aPhraseit is no longer connected to its original images. Also know asfrozenohistoricMetaphor, a dead metaphor is an expression so old that, unlike ametaphor, you have no idea what you are comparing, even if you know exactly what it means. If you think too much about a dead metaphor, you can become even more confused as to what it means.
For example, calling someone "annoying" means that person is behaving in a way that deserves to be ridiculed. you don't need to know anythingmedievalPunishment that locks someone in action and exposes them to public ridicule, even when that is exactly what they are doing.scoffcomes from.
Examples of dead metaphors
There are more dead metaphors in your vocabulary than you think. Have you ever wondered whatfads put on a sockotake it easyreally meant? (Admit it: you do.)
batten down the hatches
originally anautical terminusModern idiom is securing the hatches of a ship in preparation for a storm, and in modern jargon it is more about preparing for an upcoming crisis or challenge.
Example:batten down the hatches; The boss is coming.
body of an essay
In the past, writers have compared the structure of an essay to human anatomy, and therefore the "body" of an essay is the body of an essay.main part of the essay. Most people don't think of the human form when talking about the body of an essay.
Example: Be sure to add evidencebody of your letter.
Brandneudoes not come from the concept ofmercado. This dead metaphor comes from a fire or ember, a piece of wood that has just been taken out of the fire. The image of pulling a new idea or affiliation straight out of the fire may fade over time, but it's still a great mental image.
Example: You are the proud owner of aBrandneu¡Auto!
i can't hold a candle
Today, when you say that you don't compare yourself to anyone, you are saying that you are far inferior to that person in ability or talent. The original metaphor referred to apprentices holding up candles so their masters could see what they were working on. If you're not good enough to hold the sail, you're not in the same league.
Example: Marciai can't hold a candleto the last person who had your job.
Sometimes misspelled as "chewon time", whichriding languagerefers to the "bit" that is placed in a horse's mouth during horse racing. A restless, impatient or anxious horse may chew its bit before a race, although few people imagine a horse biting that expression.
Example: children arenot a bit of champingto see the new superhero movie.
limit your expenses
the common languagereduce your expensesmeans to control or limit spending. It is derived from the strap called a curb, which goes under a horse's lower jaw and works with the bit to hold the horse down.
Example: If you want enough money for your vacation, you have to do itcurb your spending.
While everyone understands when something is due, a deadline originally referred to the line around a prison's perimeter, beyond which a prisoner would be shot.
Example: Thelast termfor your book report it is Friday at noon.
to get out of control
if someone isget out of hand, means that they have lost control of themselves, like an ax head falling off the hilt (its original meaning). Today the metaphor describes someone who has lost their composure.
Example: I said I'm sorry, there's no reasonto lose controlIn Myself.
A business that haslocoit failed and closed forever. The term derives from what happens when a fish dies, turns over, and swims to the surface.
Example: Despite all our hard work, our companybelly up.
While a shovel digging up dirt is literally breaking up the ground to start a construction project, the death metaphor is also used figuratively to describe something that has never been done before (ainnovativeIdea). We don't always have the image of digging in the ground when we hear this phrase.
Example: In Ainnovativeresearch study, scientists have discovered just how effective antibiotics can be.
Take it easy
Figuratively,take it easymeans "stop" or "wait". While you may not immediately think of bridging (stopping) a team of horses when you use this expression, that's where it comes from.
Example:Take it easy— We need more time to think about this decision.
part of a trip
While this also seems to be related to the human body, the original term comes from the context of surfing. Each "leg" was a voyage made by a ship on a single tack. Trip segments are most commonly used today for flights and other parts of a trip.
Example: After that laststage of the journeyWe are finally in the camp.
put a sock on top
An informal way of saying "Please stop talking" (or, less politely, "Shut up"),put on a sockIt dates from the beginning of the 20th century. Refers to the practice of muting the volume of aturntableB. with a rolled up sock and then apply the same process to a loud person's mouth. Fortunately it is no longer literal.
Example:Put on a sock!I'm trying to study!
time is running out
If you say sotime is running out, it means that you hardly have enough time to do what you have to do. The original metaphor referred to the sand in an hourglass, so time (as measured by the sand) literally flowed from the top bulb to the bottom.
Example: You better start doing your homework;time is running out.
If these metaphors seem too old-fashioned for you, we have bad news: some dead metaphors are newer than you think.
When someone behaves like abroken recordThey repeat the same thing over and over again. Unless you were born in the second half of the 20th century, you may not know that a broken record is a real thing. On a record player, a scratched record would skip and repeat the same second of audio over and over.
Example: Stop talking to me about the plumbing. you sound like abroken record.
"You are a copy of your mother!" it means you look and/or act exactly like your mother. Butcarbon copybefore the days of digital documents it meant something else entirely. When he wrote on carbon paper, his writing went through multiple layers, creating carbon copies that looked exactly like the top layer of paper.
Example: Although the twins were watchingcarbon copiesThey acted very differently.
Hang up the phone
When was the last time you turned off your phone? Have you not pressed the circle on your smartphone? When was the last time you literally hung a phone on the wall? Regardless of your landline experienceturn off the phone(oslap someone in the face) is still an idiomatic way of saying "end a call".
Example: I don't believe youhanging onin the middle of a sentence!
If you want someone to be waiting for an upcoming announcement, you can say "Stay tuned!" The phrase dates back to 20th century television and radio stations that encouraged their viewers to do so.stay tuned- literally on the channel that their radios or televisions tuned to. Today, viewers are much more familiar with streaming their favorite shows than they are with a live broadcast.
Examples:stay tunedfor important news about our wedding!
Have you ever wondered why we describe video asvideo material? Early filmmakers used rolls of film to create their work, which was measured by the foot, thereforevideo material. Keep that connection in mind the next time you hear about video footage being recorded on a smartphone and uploaded to the cloud.
Example: the police discovered that the suspect was watchingVideo recordingfrom the store's security camera.
Enter the metaphor verse
Metaphors are so ingrained in our language that it often takes a long time to think about them. same as withimplicit metaphors, which express one part of a metaphor without mentioning the other, dead metaphors are an important part of being truly fluent in English. (and they are nothorriblehow they sound).