List of Figuratives

Here is The List of Figuratives. 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 split hairs – to argue about trifles


From hand to hand – from one person to another

To take a person in hand – to undertake to correct a person of his faults; to discipline

To live from hand to mouth – to spend all one’s earnings; to make no provision for the future


Hard and fast rules – strict rules

Hard of hearing – almost deaf

A die-hard – one who yields a point only after a struggle


To run with the hare and hunt with the hounds – to act treacherously; to play both sides


Back in harness – to resume work after a holiday

To die in harness – to continue at one’s occupation until death


To harp on the same string – to refer repeatedly to the same subject


More haste less speed – Work done hurriedly is apt to be badly done, necessitating the job being done all over again. The overall time spent in usually more than if the job had been carefully done from the start.


To hand up one’s hat – to make oneself comfortable in another person’s home


Make hay while the sun shines – Take advantage of all opportunities

To seek a needle in a haystack – to expend a great deal of energy over something trifling


To keep one’s head on – to remain calm

To lose one’s head – to be carried away by excitement

Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown – rulers and other people in authority have no easy time – their responsibilities weigh heavily upon them


To have one’s heart in one’s mouth – to be afraid

His heart is in his boots – he is a coward


To hector a person – to bully someone


To show a clean pair of heels – to run at a great speed

To take to one’s heels – to run at great speed

Hermetically sealed:

Hermetically sealed – sealed closely and perfectly so as to exclude air


To out-Herod Herod – to outdo someone in a quality for which he is noted


On one’s high horse – arrogant; affecting superiority

With a high hand – in a dictatorial or arbitrary manner

High – flown language – bombastic language


To pick holes in – to find fault with


To show the cloven hoof – to reveal one’s evil intentions


By hook or crook – by fair means or foul


To flog a dead horse – to attempt to put life into a movement this is past all hopes of resuscitation, to make fruitless efforts


To be in hot water- to be in trouble or difficulty


At the eleventh hour – at the last moment

The darkest hour is nearest the dawn – Relief is often just around the corner when things appear at their blackest


To eat humble pie – to submit oneself to humiliation and insult; to apologies Humbly, to take an inferior place

Figurative Expressions Index

From List of Figuratives to HOME PAGE