Metaphors We Live By

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Metaphors We Live By
Metaphors We Live By book cover.jpg
AuthorGeorge Lakoff and Mark Johnson
SubjectConceptual metaphor
PublisherUniversity of Chicago Press

Metaphors We Live By is a book by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson published in 1980.[1][2] The book suggests metaphor is a tool that enables people to use what they know about their direct physical and social experiences to understand more abstract things like work, time, mental activity and feelings.


Conceptual metaphor and a detailed examination of the underlying processes, was first extensively explored in this book. Since then, the field of metaphor studies within the larger discipline of cognitive linguistics has increasingly developed, with several, annual academic conferences, scholarly societies, and research labs contributing to the subject area. Some researchers, such as Gerard Steen, have worked to develop empirical investigative tools for metaphor research, including the metaphor identification procedure, or MIP.[3] In Psychology, Raymond W. Gibbs, Jr., has investigated conceptual metaphor and embodiment through a number of psychological experiments. Other cognitive scientists, for example Gilles Fauconnier, study subjects similar to conceptual metaphor under the labels "analogy", "conceptual blending" and "ideasthesia".

Conceptual metaphors are seen in language in our everyday lives. Conceptual metaphors shape not just our communication, but also shape the way we think and act. In George Lakoff and Mark Johnson's work, Metaphors We Live By (1980), we see how everyday language is filled with metaphors we may not always notice. An example of one of the commonly used conceptual metaphors is "argument is war".[4]


Since its publication, people have used the ideas Lakoff and Johnson proposed to comment on a wide range of topics, from the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States[5] to conspiracy theories.[6]


  • Experientialism
  • Metonymy – Figure of speech where a thing or concept is referred to indirectly by the name of something similar to it
  • Linguistic relativity – Linguistic hypothesis that suggests language affects how its speakers think
  • Objectivism – Philosophical system developed by Russian-American writer Ayn Rand
  • Synecdoche – Use of a term for a part of something to refer to the whole or vice versa
  • Subjectivism – Philosophical position according primacy to human mental activity, rather than shared or communal ones


  1. ^ "Review of "Metaphors We Live By". Retrieved 29 December 2018.
  2. ^ Arleo, Andy (1993). "George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, Metaphors we live by". Cahiers de l'APLIUT. 12 (3): 106–108. doi:10.3406/apliu.1993.2856. Retrieved 29 December 2018.
  3. ^ A method for linguistic metaphor identification : from MIP to MIPVU. Steen, Gerard. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Pub. Co. 2010. ISBN 9789027288158. OCLC 650090590.CS1 maint: others (link)
  4. ^ Lakoff and Johnson, Ch.1-3
  5. ^ Wise, Adina. "Military Metaphors Distort the Reality of COVID-19". Scientific American Blog Network. Retrieved 2020-07-12.
  6. ^ "Please, Please, Please Don't Mock Conspiracy Theories". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved 2020-07-12.