Analogy Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How To Use It

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Have you ever heard someone say that one thing is like another, and you’re not sure what they mean? They might be using an analogy

An exciting part of language, an analogy is a way to draw comparisons between two things without using the words “like” or “as.” To do this, however, you need to make sure your analogy meaning is clear, so everyone understands your comparison. 

Using these literary devices can make you sound really smart if you do it right… and a little confusing if you do it wrong. Knowing the definition of analogy is incredibly important if you want to start incorporating new and exciting language uses into your daily conversations! 

Here is everything you need to know about a good analogy, how to use them properly, and some good analogy examples you might already know!

What Is the Definition of the Word Analogy? 

Analogy (əˈnælədʒi) is a figure of speech that explains one thing in terms of another. It’s the comparison between two things that are not alike in every way. 

In other words, it’s a type of metaphor (another familiar figure of speech) that uses similar features to explain something unfamiliar by comparing it to something familiar. For example, you might say, “The sky is blue like the ocean.” This would be an analogy because you’re comparing the color blue with water and using them both as ways to describe the sky. 

Analogy comes from the Greek analogia (ἀναλογία) and Latin analogia, which mean “proportion.” This is translated easily in American English because it demonstrates how two things can relate and have an “analogous relationship.” 

Analogies can make complex ideas easier to understand because they help us regularly relate new information with concepts we already know about or experience. They can also help us communicate our ideas clearly and effectively by making them more relatable for others who may not understand what we’re trying to share about ourselves or our world as well as we do ourselves! 

One possible analogy is comparing your brain to a computer because they both have hard drives and RAM. This makes analogies helpful when explaining new concepts or ideas (like artificial intelligence) but makes them easy for humans to interpret because we’ve been conditioned since birth to understand analogies!

If you were to look in a dictionary or thesaurus of the English language for word lists of synonyms for analogy, you would likely find words including: 

  • Similitude
  • Inflection
  • Parallel
  • Resemblance
  • Correlation
  • Likeness
  • Analogos
  • Homology

Analogies as Literary Devices

While the analogy is a literary device, it’s not quite as formal as metaphor or simile. In fact, it’s much more informal — an analogy can be used in casual conversation with friends and family members.

Writers use an analogy to:

  • Help readers understand a concept
  • Make a point
  • Help readers remember something
  • Compare two things (literal and figurative)
  • Make a joke

It’s important to note that the purpose of analogy is not simply to create an interesting comparison between two ideas or things (like comparing living in New York City to living in a war zone). 

Instead, it helps us understand something by relating it to another concept we already know about (such as comparing going to college with entering adulthood).

Analogy vs. Metaphor vs. Simile

When comparing different things in the context of literature and written works, it’s essential to understand the differences between two other similar literary devices — metaphor and simile. 

  • An analogy is the use of comparison to show how two things are similar. You will often see analogies in literature, as they help us better understand an idea by relating it to something else we already know.
  • A simile is a comparison between two things that are alike in many ways. Unlike metaphors and analogies, similes use the words “like,” “as,” or “than.”
  • A metaphor is a comparison between two things that are alike in some ways but not others. Unlike analogies and similes, metaphors do not use synonyms for “like” or “as”; instead, they rely on context to clarify the connection.

In one sense, metaphors and similes are like different types of analogy. They have derivation in equivalence, which makes it easy to confuse them with each other. But with enough analogy, you’ll be able to tell the difference between them quickly! 

Examples of Analogies

An analogy is often used in business, science, and academia to explain complex ideas. We can also use them for entertainment and artistic purposes to convey meanings to people in a way that might take them far beyond their average ability to comprehend more profound concepts. 

Here are some analogies that you might have already heard and understood, just so that you can understand how equivalence works in metaphors: 

  • “Life is like a box of chocolates.” (Forrest Gump)
  • “Time is money.” (Benjamin Franklin)
  • “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” (Alexandre Dumas père)
  • “It is the east and Juliet is the sun.” (Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare)
  • Plato’s Analogy of the Cave


In summary, an analogy is a comparison between two unrelated things that have similar characteristics. An analogy is often used to help explain a concept or idea by comparing it to something more relatable, like chocolate cake or a good book. 

In written works and speech, analogies are commonly used as metaphors. They can also be used as similes, direct comparisons using “like” or “as.” If you’re looking for creative ways to express yourself in writing or speech, using analogies can be just the tool you need!

Check out our blog here at The Word Counter if you haven’t already. We’ll be updating it with new articles regularly, and there’s a wealth of information just waiting to be discovered by you. The sky’s the limit when it comes to the ways that you can improve your communication skills. It all starts here!


Analogy – Definition, Meaning & Synonyms |

Analogy definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary

ANALOGY | Cambridge English Dictionary