A figure of speech in which a word or phrase that ordinarily designates one thing is used to designate another, thus making an implicit comparison, as in "a sea of troubles” or "All the world's a stage” ( Shakespeare).
One thing conceived as representing another; a symbol: "Hollywood has always been an irresistible, prefabricated metaphor for the crass, the materialistic, the shallow, and the craven” ( Neal Gabler).
American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.