Glossary of Linguistic Terms

Ontological Metaphor


An ontological metaphor is a metaphor in which an abstraction, such as an activity, emotion, or idea, is represented as something concrete, such as an object, substance, container, or person.


The following sentences express the activity-as-container metaphor:

  • How did Jerry get out of washing the windows?
  • Outside of washing the windows, what else did you do?
  • How did you get into window-washing as a profession?
  • put a lot of energy into washing the windows.
  • get a lot of satisfaction out of washing windows.