Figurative Expression

In traditional analysis, words in figurative expressions connote additional layers of meaning, while words in literal expressions denote what they mean according to common or dictionary usage. When the human ear or eye receives the message, the mind must interpret the data to convert it into meaning.

What are Figuratives? On many occassions, the words may not convey the literal meaning of them. They may convey the indirect meanings which may be just the opposite to their literal meanings. Such symbolical and metaphorical meanings are called Figuratives. They contain the figure of speech.

Let us see few hundreds of such Figuratives here.The Figuratives have been arranged in the alphabetical order. Go to the list by clicking that particular page.

Let us see few examples of Figuratives to make the point clear.


The Phrase
Yellow Press does not give the literal meaning that the press which is in Yellow color.On the contrary, it conveys the meaning of The News Papers which publish sensational and unscrupulous stories about crime, sex etc...


The Phrase
In the same boat does not convey the literal meaning. It has the figurative meaning that in the same misfortune or circumstances.

Here is the list of Figurative Expressions beginning with


To gain ground – to make progress in any undertaking

To gain the upper hand – to have the advantage


To play to the gallery – to endeavor to gain cheap popularity


The game is up – All is lost; everything has failed

To have the game in one’s hand – to be certain of winning

To play the game – to act fairly and honorably


A gargantuan appetite – an enormous appetite (Francious Rabelais is his book “Gargantua and Pantagruel" narrates the adventures of two mythical giants. So great was Gargantua, that even when a baby a day old, 17913 cows were required to furnish him with milk.)


To take up the gauntlet – to accept the challenge

To throw down the gauntlet – to challenge

To run the gauntlet – to receive blows from all sides, to be criticized on all quarters


To give up the ghost – to die; to cease trying


Do not look a gift – horse in the mouth – Do not examine a gift too critically, do not criticize what is given for nothing, accept a gift for the sentiments which inspire it, and not for its value


Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones – people who do not live blameless lives should not find fault with others


To strain at a gnat and swallow a camel – to be over particular in small things and lax in more important issues


All that glisters is not gold – Things are not always as attractive as they appear


A good-for-nothing – a worthless person

A Good Samaritan – a friend in need


A wild-goose chase – a vain attempt

To kill the goose that laid the golden egg – to lose a valuable source of income through greed


To cut the Gordian knot – to solve a difficult problem by adopting bold or drastic measures


To grade up – to improve the stock by crossing with a better breed


He has a green eye – He is jealous


To bring grist to the mill – to bring profitable business or gain

Figurative Expressions Index

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