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Metaphor

  • By: Salvatore Attardo
  • In: Encyclopedia of Humor Studies
  • Edited by: Salvatore Attardo
  • Subject:General Media, Communication & Cultural Studies, Sociology of Culture

The focus of this entry is on a subset of verbal metaphors, those that happen to be humorous. As such, discussion of metaphors in and of themselves is presented only marginally and as relevant to the subject. It is common to use the terms source and target of a metaphor. In the metaphor “an argument is war,” the source domain is the conceptual domain from which the “comparison” is drawn (war), whereas the target is the concept being metaphorized (argument). So in the example “Mary won that argument,” “winning” is drawn from the source conceptual domain of war (wars can be won or lost), whereas the target of the metaphor is “argument.” This entry discusses some explanations for why metaphors can be humorous.

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