Glossary of Linguistic Terms

Orientational Metaphor


An orientational metaphor is a metaphor in which concepts are spatially related to each other, as in the following ways:

  • Up or down
  • In or out
  • Front or back
  • On or off
  • Deep or shallow
  • Central or peripheral

The following sentences express the happy-as-up and the sad-as-down metaphors:

  • I'm feeling up.
  • That boosted my spirits.
  • Thinking about her always gives me a lift.
  • I'm feeling down.
  • I fell into a depression.