Created By: Seiryu on August 23, 2011

Metaphor Or Not?

"You were being metaphorical, right?"

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Occasionally, people use hyperbole, metaphor, and exaggerations in their everyday speech. But every now and then, someone hears them use verbal figures of speech, and have a moment where they need to clarify that they are, in fact, figures of speech. This is usually because the person in question has an extraordinarily odd life, or has been in a particular business.

Usually accompanied by a Double Take, a Beat, and a Face Palm.


  • In Buffy, Buffy takes a test, and achieves very high scores.
    Buffy: She saw these scores and her head spun around and exploded.
    Giles: I've been on the Hellmouth too long. That was metaphorical, yes?
  • In The Dresden Files, in one of the books, Harry encounters Molly while trying to see if anyone is home. They get into a conversation, and somehow the phrase "I got visited by the boob fairy" comes up. It takes poor Harry a few seconds to realize that, no, she is not talking about an actual fairy.

Community Feedback Replies: 11
  • August 23, 2011
    Some reference to Literal Metaphor would be appropriate.
  • August 23, 2011
    It's just a piece of dialog. We're about tropes.
  • August 23, 2011
    ^Dialog can also be a trope. There's a whole section on it here.
  • August 23, 2011
    I think Fast Eddie is talking about the title sounding like dialog, which has becomes something of a no-no, so you're going to have to think of a better name for this trope.
  • August 23, 2011
    Eddie is not always the most eloquent for explaining guidelines, whether to newbs or not.
  • August 23, 2011
    I don't think it's possible to divorce this trope from being a dialogue trope. It will always end with "You were being metaphorical, right?" If you can take this stock phrase and rework it until it fits the definition of a Trope, then go for it. Eddie didn't discard the whole page, so maybe it would be possible.

    Misleading Metaphors?
  • August 24, 2011
    Maybe Figurative Maybe Descriptive?

    I think this should be expanded to include times when the audience is uncertain of whether a turn of phrase was being used literally. Such as a reader of greek myth reading "then night fell" and wondering for a second if Nyx had scraped her knee. Just to get it away from being "just a piece of dialog"
  • August 24, 2011
    In the film The 51st State (also known as Formula 51), a British crime boss tells his underlings to "take care" of someone, meaning treat him well. Too bad that they assume it is a metaphor for killing him.
  • August 25, 2011
    That sort of happens in an episode of The Simpsons too.
    Tony: Take care of the good doctor.
    Legs: Do you mean "take care of him" or "Take Care Of Him?"
    Tony: Take care of him.
    Legs (to Johnny Tight Lips): Aw, jeez. I don't know what he means. I can't ask him or he'll think I'm stupid.
  • August 25, 2011
    It may be worth noting in the description that the occurrence of this trope usually serves to underscore for the audience just how unusual/strange the life of the person in question actually is.
  • August 25, 2011
    "It's just a piece of dialogue. We're about tropes."

    ...the circle is now complete.