Glossary of Linguistic Terms

Mixed Metaphors

Definition: 

Mixed metaphors are different metaphors occurring in the same utterance, especially the same sentence, that are used to express the same concept.

Mixed metaphors often, but not always, result in a conflict of concepts.

Examples: 

(English)

The following sentences illustrate a mixture of the argument-as-journey and argument-as-container metaphors. The first three sentences are acceptable; the last two are marginally acceptable.

  • At this point our argument doesn’t have much content.
  • In what we’ve done so far, we have provided the core of our argument.
  • If we keep going the way we’re going, we’ll fit all the facts in.
  • ??We can now follow the path of the core of the argument.
  • ??The content of the argument proceeds as follows …
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