Collected by Crowd-Sourcing
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Jumbled Thoughts by Cara, Explore Metaphors
Our objective is to provide a resource for enriching the writings of students and teachers, authors and essayists worldwide. Accordingly, entries are not restricted to conventional metaphors. Heck, just about any expression can be appropriated and creatively revised to become a metaphor for embedding in text as an illustration or as entertainment.
September 6, 2021 marked the inclusion here of the 8,326th entry. The 48,392-word collection has steadily grown at more than 110 entries per month. The author (that would be me) started in 2015 with 1001 metaphors inspired by an unserious essay entitled Mixed Metaphors. The 'crowd-sourcing' effort has resulted in what surely must be considered a world-class resource comprising some twenty pairs of topical categories...
with Version 4.2, we find that about 610
entries have been high-lighted based on
a mishmash of selection criteria,
including originality or freshness,
elegance or colorfulness, irony or
humor, self-reference or play-on-words.
Ten Suggestions for Selecting and Editing Entries...
Original entries? Well, 300 of them have been selected for publication below...
My three favorite metaphors created by others are…
aboard a boatload of detonators in a lightning storm | accused of embezzling paper clips from office supplies | aerodynamic properties of a typewriter | after they get jammed up, rats traditionally wear a wire | any ocean on the planet makes the Everglades look like a backyard wading pool | applauding sagacious rats for disembarking an unseaworthy vessel | as bewildered as a third grader attending a seminar on string theory | as cool as the other side of the pillow | as tautological as a three-legged tripod | as welcome as mosquitos in a nudist colony attendees at a rally packed in an airless auditorium like a breeding barn with a PA system | attention-span of a first-grader on a sugar-high | autumn ‘leaf-lookers’ on the back roads alongside ‘shun-pikers’ | average voter has one testicle and one breast | awakening suddenly from a nightmare that features naked babies with wings | back when ‘chrome-to-chrome’ congestion was synonymous with ‘bumper-to-bumper’ | bar-car jigger with a hip-flask chaser | bedroom community at a superfund site | before personal computers, one’s laptop was a romantic place sit | being able to climb gum and chew stairs at the same time | being his brother’s keeper was the rôle sarcastically declined by the first murderer | being the strongest link in a weak chain | better to be a doozy than a doofus, better to drink brandy than shandy | biblical scholars are surprised to learn that men and women have the same number of ribs | big splash in the water hazard | bird species that produce droppings capable of denting the hood on a pick-up truck | bruising one’s chin on one’s necktie knot with both eyebrows seek refuge in one’s forelocks | building a sandcastle with the tide coming in | business model for the ‘reverse-pay toilet’: get in for free, pay to get out | busy as a one-armed paperhanger with a loaded moving van arriving in the driveway | campaign slogans on yard signs, bumper stickers, and urinal walls | capital investment limited to one wheelbarrow for the whole construction crew | carefully carrying around one’s own china-shop | cartwheeling during a sobriety test | chalking one’s stick, then running the table | chattering classes with snobbish opinions about yammering yokels | cheap-shot followed by a shit-eating grin | cheerleaders going on strike during half-time | chewing bubble-gum during a symphony | choosing the gerbil for a college mascot | classy as catsup bottles on a formal banquet table | clicking together one’s ruby slippers to make miracles happen | colorful speech features a basketful of juicy words decorating each mixed metaphor | company house organs feature snapshots of newborn babies and triumphant anglers | computerized axial tomography for reading one’s dirty thoughts | contortionists may not be the only people who can wipe their noses on their pants cuffs | convex cheek unmistakably distended by tongue | correction fluid went out with the typewriter | counting on one’s fingers or solving a Rubik’s cube wearing mittens | crowd sourcing, as shown here, may not require a crowd larger than one person | crying over spilled milk when thy cup runneth over | currency of appreciation in small denominations | deadlier than neutrons from the business end of a particle accelerator | derelict satellites plus other man-made debris can become the ruination of orbital missions | destination for the road of good intentions is a mighty well-dreaded place | difficulty keeping track of hopscotch celebrity matrimonies | disguising political boorishness as anti-correctness | distilling prison hooch using toilet paper and old sugar packages | distinction between a disk-jockey and a band leader | divorce leaves emotional scars barely less obvious than tattoo removal | dogs don’t know the difference between getting tripped over or being kicked | doing a dance in the end-zone while the ball is still barely inside the 10-yard line | doing one’s homework by oil lamp, writing on a shovel blade with charcoal | dominos clattering across the table, each then unable to rise up | don’t be alarmed, but wife-swapping may in fact be husband-swapping | dongle with the key for an application now replaced by a thumb-drive loaded with gigabytes | don't worry about the mules, just load the wagons | dove hunting with an assault rifle | drenching one’s defense in an ocean of excuses | drone combatants must think they are merely stepping on ants | eager candidates each pole-dancing for the nomination | early worm gets eaten by the early bird | embarrassed enough to mimic a ripe tomato | embroidery on bib overalls | empowering a subordinate into victimhood with just one tush-squeeze | end of bachelorhood in the sound of tin cans clattering from the bumper of the groom’s car | ending a cinematic narrative with a ‘rosebud’ enigma | envelopes with hand-written addresses get opened promptly by their recipients | essential as a screen door in a submarine | establish that observation as the gold standard for irrelevance if it doesn’t pan out | Eve’s leaves would conceal her navel, if only she had a navel to conceal | even as a polite metaphor, the expression ‘coming to a head’ refers to a boil on one’s butt | experience castrating hogs has qualified one candidate for the Senate Finance Committee | facts about the future do not exist and many opinions about the future never will either | fashion models in spiked heels striding along the boulevard like farm animals | fast as rumor speed or gossip speed, but as for enlightenment speed, not so fast | fast-food workers wear uniforms, but nuclear reactor operators do not | featherbedding reduces unemployment numbers according to labor leaders | featuring a split-screen montage of embarrassing contradictions in past pronouncements | fiberglass structures, first proven in surfboards, have now become essential for spacecraft | fickle as a day-trader in pork-belly futures | financial gluttony besmirching the reputation of pigs | finding one’s fly unzipped after speaking at Junior League banquet | firearms available for purchase in a gumball machine | flashing one’s high beams at an oncoming eighteen-wheeler | fleeing like a jittery shoplifter at the sound of a beeping barcode reader | flying is the reason that the bird has wings – not vice versa | forcing a frown to wipe the smirk from one’s face | free speech does allow for complaining on a crowded elevator about one’s oozing body sores | free-range chickens are the only ones that cross the road | French fries and toast, cuffs and coiffures – oh, and kisses | sincere expression from the bottom of one’s heart as recited off the top of one’s head | front-biting is more ethical but less effective than back-biting | getting saddled up to join the posse | giving the silent treatment to a passive-aggressive colleague | glaciers are still a metaphor for ‘slow’ no matter how fast they are melting | glad for the bell to ring for recess at the beginning of one’s recitation | going from bravado to bootlicking in the blink of an eye | going out to pasture but grazing too close to the freeway | going through changes in management like popcorn at the movies | grabbing a lineman’s faceguard is sure convenient but against the rules | granted an advanced degree in basket-weaving | grinning like a deacon with four queens and an ace kicker | groovy is in the ear of the listener | hacking the software in one’s drive-by-wire pollution controls | hanging one’s laundry in the Sistine Chapel whenever it rains | having a face that looks like it already wore out two bodies | having both hands full with the house-key at the bottom of a grocery bag | having more hairs growing out of either nostril than the strands atop the head of one’s rival | head-butting in competition with a mountain goat is best not done in rutting season | her cheeks may have been somewhat excessive but those on her face were perfect | high-heel shoes damage linoleum and asphalt tile, but guys sure like ‘em | hikers in nature take photographs only, leaving nothing behind but footprints | Holy Toledo is merely the ecclesiastical status of a city in Ohio | honesty may not be the best policy when one is obliged to think up a compliment | hypocrisy may actually be a lesser sin in government than incompetence | if the intelligent designer intended men to fly, He would have made their poop white | if you think anything is possible, try striking a match on an ice-cube | imagine a prisoner in his cell typing out poetry by Morse code on a toilet pipe | imagine hiring an astronaut who does not believe in gravity | impossible safety criteria: detect every threat but never issue a false alarm | in reality, electric motors are powered by burning coal at a distant power plant | in the land of the terse, people say ‘howdy’ and speak only in holophrastic words | intern in the circus walking behind the elephant carrying a shovel | invertebrates show more spine than some lawmakers | invincible ignorance tinctured with proud stupidity | jigsaw puzzle with missing pieces and no box-top picture | joining a militia for the middle-of-the-road view | journalists with subpoena envy | jumping overboard so fast the rats were left gaping | keeping one’s worst foot backward | keeping the basement or attic as one’s secret slum | kissing any frog and hoping for a prince | knowing beans with the lid off the pot, or not | lane-splitting the turnpike on a high-handled crotch rocket with an empty trophy-saddle | launching ballistic missiles every time one’s radar detects southbound flocks of geese | laundromat for filthy lucre | lawn-darts are not recommended as toys for tots | less promising than planting papayas in the Himalayas | let a good guy with a gun shoot a bad guy with a gun, or vice versa | letting trivialities obscure the bolder form: think trees and forest, here | life in limbo is regarded as worse than purgatory in death | lifting the lap-bar during a roller-coaster ride may be fun but foolish | lobbying for a matrimonial commitment on the first date | locks keep an honest man honest, thieves will break locks and steal | look him or her in the eye and tell him or her that his or her feet stink | looking up and seeing the first bird fly off the telephone wire followed by the whole flock | magnetic resonance imaging to display your innermost feelings | make friends with the alligators before swimming in the swamp | male dogs conserve their urine by marking posts where females agree to do their sniffing | managers look through frosted glass; the CEO is surrounded by mirrors | manually rolfing ball bearings during the angry search for those missing strawberries | many people believe that professional wrestling is real | many remember that comic-strip bully kicking sand in the eyes of a 97-pound weakling | maybe that’s not a big nose under the flap, but a huge camel is waiting outside the tent | meaningless job can maroon one’s career | monkeys in a row covering their eyes, ears, and mouth | more toxic than a creek flowing out of an arsenic mine | multiple radar blips for the same airplane cannot mean good news for that particular flight | mythological creatures include unicorns and welfare queens driving Cadillacs | natural selection means the holes pick the pegs, not vice versa | never mind using a scare-crow stratagem here; the crows are fearless | no mathematical correlation can be found in a scatter-gram that resembles an ink-sneeze | nobody ever asks why we holler ‘Geronimo’ before jumping out of the airplane door | not having learned how to wave goodbye until kindergarten seems electorally worrisome | not looking a gift horse in the mouth or any other orifice | nothing is less useful than a tripod with fewer than three legs | nuisances are like slalom flags | one can tell it’s an unfriendly neighborhood; every yard has a private swimming pool | one milligram of prevention equals a kilogram of cure | one swallow does not make a spring or prevent a burp | optimism with the glass half empty depends on what was in the glass when it was full | painting the walls while the plaster is still wet | passenger on one side has a crying child; on the other side sits a nervous leg-spreader | passengers on a sinking ship are not likely to praise the captain for hitting the iceberg | past may be prologue, but it’s nothing like what it used to be | people who live in glass houses shouldn’t take showers | photographic snapshot of a comedian who does not ever expect to run for public office | piling up a haystack to hide a needle in | pinch-hitter who must be willing to go to bat for a team-mate | piss-pants in courage | plagiarism by copy machine is made risky by search engines | planting tulips to tiptoe through |plump, maybe, but nevertheless he or she is winning a private struggle against bulimia | pocketing my jack-knife, scooping up my marbles, and pedaling home | pollution at sea is what smokestacks are for | poor kids splashing in potholes on the highway | porpoising the full length of the runway at the end of one’s otherwise perfect check-flight | precedence always guides politics; until it doesn’t | prize-winning canvas produced by gobs of acrylics tossed into an airplane’s prop wash | promising a chicken in every pot and a war on every continent | prosecuting for minor offenses like tearing off one’s mattress tags | proud figurehead carven on the bow of a rowboat | pulling for something generally works about as well as praying for it | pulling on a piece of yarn and unraveling the whole damn sweater | pushing pawns during the opening, in front of prancing ponies and bashing bishops | putting on one’s shoes and socks – not necessarily in that order | quite a difference between a close shave in a barbershop and one in the crosswalk outside | rare as beer in a bar | receiving a grift certificate for a passing grade in some get-rich-quick correspondence course | receiving a singing electrocardiogram for one’s birthday | rejected for a part in a community theater then landing a starring rôle in a Broadway hit | remembering when Bikini was just an atoll in the Pacific | removing a pebble from one shoe and later feeling a same-sized pebble in the other shoe | respective anatomies of Dorothy’s three friends in Oz: gutless, brainless, and heartless | reverse engineering of nature is another name for science | reviewing a tear-jerker script for an upcoming episode of a detergent drama | road rage on Sunday morning entering a church parking lot | rose by any other name will still have stickers | rounding up busloads of assisted-living residents for casino gambling | running out of cheeks to turn | saying that a husband must man-up might also consider saying his wife must butch-down | fund-raising seat on the dunking chair in a village carnival | seeing may be believing, but digging is appreciating | self-explanatory like the string on a teabag label | serving cocktails in that airliner floating out there on the Hudson river | shackles for your hackles – hey, put your dander down | shaving one’s head in solidarity with a chemo patient in the family | shooing a gratefully verbose Oscar-winner off the stage with a times-up musical refrain | signature with flutes above the melody line while the cello does its business in the bass | single-child policy means no siblings, cousins, nephews, nieces, aunts, uncles | sipping one’s martini while squinting down at farmland patterns in flyover country | skate to where the puck will be, not to where the puck has been | skeleton of a child’s kite dangling by its tail from a power line | slack-jawed, gob-smacked, hornswoggled, flabbergasted, and mind-boggled | smearing peanut-butter on the driver’s-side doorhandle of a double-parked pickup | smelling worse than a feedlot at a hog farm | smiling rage, frowning approval, tearful joy, and wet eyes at a shotgun wedding | smoke detector in the kitchen being used to ascertain when the bacon is done | smudge pots do not warm the orchard but produce atmospheric insulation above the trees | snake conserving venom by rattling its tail to ward off a threat that is too big to swallow | down South, “spittin’ image” is an unhygienic contraction of “spirit and image” | stainless steel for her fingernails and lipstick the color of dried blood | stampede of lemmings to the sea and the ostrich’s head in the sand – both are myths | stepping on the tines of a rake that is no longer lying flat in the grass | strolling in quicksand wearing bedroom slippers | struggling to compete for a mate with one’s antlers tangled in the lower branches | success in the office requires one to regard the boss’s secretary as always right | successful at selling yarmulkes to Muslims and rosaries to Baptists | such would be tantamount to stealing a person’s television remote | suggestions that simply reek of common sense | sure, we can just go for a stroll, but – hey, let’s boogie | swimwear fashions of today feature the codpiece and the camel toe | switching the barcode for a can of peas onto a sugar-cured ham | sword is mightier than the pen without ink | sycophantic adulation by a lickspittle lapdog | tattoos on a sailor’s forearm are long-lasting mementos of shore-leave drinking bouts | team getting confused by all those X’s and O’s on every page of the playbook | technology-rich retirement: polychromic bifocals, blue tooth hearing aids, and dental implants crafted on a 3D printer | teleportation technology must make a remote facsimile without destroying the original | television’s gifts include a flying nun and a talking horse | tethering one’s lifeboat to the sinking ship | some nail-salons offer discount manicures for amputees | that vehicle ahead on a long straight road having a continuously blinking turn signal | that’ll sure dampen your drawstrings | there’s a limit to how straight one’s lace can be | think of ‘brainwashing’ as ‘cerebral laundering’ | modesty of a pole-dancer at a bachelor party | third-finger greetings: vertical for you and horizontal for the horse you rode in on | those fanatic warriors found hiding in the jungle decades after the armistice | three out of four wheels are hanging over the edge of the cliff | time will eventually reveal what lies try to conceal | tossing rolls of paper towels into a room full of flood victims | towel-snapping and adolescent talk in the locker-room | tranquil as a colony of ants strolling through a spilled puddle of chardonnay | trickle-down prosperity is about as likely as Rumpelstiltskin turning straw into gold | trombone solo at a wedding | trusting anything said by a man wearing pantyhose, or not | twitchy suspicions metastasizing into full blown paranoia | typical Alaskan mosquito with a spot on his back about the size of a nickel | tyranny of urgency inflicted by that ringing damn telephone | unmistakable sound of chase-me-catch-me pumps on a hardwood floor | using a catch-and-kill publishing stratagem to suppress a tell-all manuscript | vacuum flasks must be artificially intelligent; they keep hot things hot and cold things cold | vending machines in economy class on a jumbo jet | waggling fingers aside one’s temples to simulate “scare quotes” | watch-out for buffalo turds in that watering hole | watching footage in a video technology that does not have footage | watching a schooner at sunset majestically capsizing in a squall | welcome as parental chaperones at the high-school senior prom | white eye-sockets from wearing sun-goggles in a tanning bed | wings are hardly redundant; every airplane needs both | win-win situations are intuitively preferable to lose-lose | years atop a tall stool, with green eyeshades and sleeve garters, bifocaling ledgers | you can tolerate anything so long as you can think of something worse | zombie on steroids