I assume no one liked me making up my own words and definitions. I didn't even like it. I apologize again, and I feel defensive.

But . . .

We needed to communicate. The current definitions weren't going to work.

The current definitions have four problems. First, when metaphor is contrasted to simile (see ), metaphor has one definition, the one I have used here.

A metaphor is a metaphorical saying literally that two things are the same.

A simile is a metaphorical saying literally that two things are similar or share features.

But metaphors and similes are so similar, a word is needed to talk about them together. The usual choice is, unfortunately, to re-use metaphor, giving that key word two different definitions.

That's an express line to confusion! So I coined the word metaphoricals and broadened the category to what I was interested in.

A metaphorical is anything describing one thing (object, event, situation) using a second thing.

Second, I had no sense that the definitions were built for the goals and needs of writers and giving writing advice. It's like rhetoriticians found figurative expressions, then labelled them and never thought about what they accomplished or why the figurtative expressions were being used.

Along with that problem, there is too much attention to surface (the words) and not enough to meaning. Call that the third problem.

For example, my definition of simile requires knowing intent. Sometimes we say two things are similar, just to make the point that they are similar. According to my definition, that's not a metaphorical. These were not meant to be metaphoricals:

So he's already intimidating me, just like last time.

We should have Mary and James work together, because they have similar work styles.

Whatever you think of lexaphor as a name, I suspect it's a very powerful concept.

A few types of metaphoricals didn't get mention in my advice. An allusion is an indirect reference to something else, like saying "It is finished." That has its normal meaning, but it's also famous as something Jesus said.

So it's going to create a resonance to Jesus on the cross and the meaning it had there.

My advice for allusions is, they're fine to use, maybe even really good, but don't count on them working.

Allegory is when you tell a story and then use it in a metaphorical. Most instances in fiction are longer than a metaphor and shorter than what you might expect from an allegory. That might create a problem in definition, but not in writing.

I get my Mom to take me clothes shopping at the mall. Guys are actually looking at me in school, so what I wear has suddenly become relevant.
I imagine a movie where the hero suddenly wakes up in a strange land with strange customs, and he doesn't know how he got there. And he's trying to get home, of course, but eventually he realizes he might be stuck in that strange land for a long time, maybe forever. So he starts trying to adapt. The new clothes look good on me.

That's an example of avoiding the obvious simile -- I simple don't explicitly state it. It's also an example of being boldly allegorical, by which I mean eliminating the clues for figurative usage and trusting the reader to understand.