About Metaphors Be With You: An A to Z Dictionary of History's Greatest Metaphorical Quotations

Metaphors Be With You
Hardcover edition: 2016
Publisher: Harper

For more than 3,000 years, great thinkers and writers have relied on the device of metaphor to articulate profound thoughts, give voice to powerful emotions, and creatively explain complex ideas. But metaphorical language is not the sole province of poets, philosophers, and playwrights. If you've ever tried to describe what it's like to have a broken heart, a thankless child, or a glorious triumph, you know how valuable—and compelling—the perfect metaphor can be.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines metaphor as "A figure of speech in which a word or phrase that ordinarily designates one thing is used to designate another … as in 'a sea of troubles' or 'All the world's a stage.'" This definition, however, fails to capture the essence—or the significance—of metaphor. In a 1980 book on the subject, George Lakoff and Mark Johnson came much closer when they wrote:

The essence of metaphor is understanding and experiencing one kind of thing in terms of another.

Metaphor is the single most effective method we have for gaining a deeper understanding of ourselves and our journey through life. Metaphor is also the chief means we have of grasping the meaning of abstract concepts. Life and love and time, for example, are not real things, they are ideas. An idea is not a tangible thing—like a cup or a tree—that you can see or touch. So how do we gain an understanding of intangible, abstract concepts? By relating them to things that are familiar. That is, by metaphor.

Time, for example, doesn't literally fly, as a bird does, or flow, like a river, but we better understand the concept by thinking of it in these terms. And when we say time is money we know that it is technically false, but it so perfectly captures our experience of time that we say it is figuratively—as opposed to literally—true.

Likewise, when people say that the world is a stage, that life is a journey, that love is a flame, or that the truth shall set you free, something similar is happening with other abstract concepts. The writer Cynthia Ozick expressed the thought this way:

Metaphor relies on what has been experienced before; it transforms the strange into the familiar.

In Metaphors Be With You, I move from my traditional role as quotation anthologist to that of quotation curator, selecting what I regard as "The Ten Best Things Ever Said" on 250 topics of deep human interest (2,500 quotations in all). All of the usual suspects have been rounded up, including, courage, life, love, money, time, and sex. But you will also find many that often fail to appear in quotation anthologies, like automobiles, bookstores, cats & dogs, gossip, kisses & kissing, and jazz.

In putting this book together, I estimate that I have examined more than five million quotations from literature, politics, philosophy, religion, history, pop culture, current events, and more. And, unlike many popular quotation anthologies, all of quotations in the book have been authenticated and verified.

If your favorite quotation on a topic didn't make my ten-best list, not a problem! Each of the 250 major topics in the book is digitally linked by a QR Code to its corresponding section of Dr. Mardy's Dictionary of Metaphorical Quotations (DMDMQ), the world's largest online database of metaphorical quotations, with nearly 30,000 entries. You will very likely find your favorite quotation in DMDMQ, along with detailed source information for all quotations, countless quotation backstories, innumerable "Error Alerts" about erroneous quotations and mistaken attributions, and much, much more.

QR Codes have been around for a few decades, but this is the very first time they've been used in a published quotation anthology. They've also never been used as extensively as I use them—or with such a singular motivation to serve the interests of curious readers. I think you will discover that this groundbreaking digital integration of book and website has succeeded in connecting the offline and online worlds in a most remarkable way.

Praise for the Book

Prior to the publication of Metaphors Be With You, we received some heartwarming advance praise from a number of people. The very first that came in was from one of the most respected people in the "word and language" community:

Dr. Mardy Grothe has established himself with his previous books as one of the most profound and popular quotation-book authors of all time. Now he has topped himself with the delightful Metaphors Be With You. Anyone who enjoys language, thought, culture, humor—in short, everyone on the planet—should devour this convenient volume. Dr. Mardy uses metaphor as a window through which we can view the world.

—Fred Shapiro, editor of the Yale Book of Quotations

And here, in alphabetical order, are some other "blurbs" for the book:

In addition to being one of the most interesting books of quotations ever published,�Metaphors Be With You�is a groundbreaking innovation for a digital age. The extensive use of QR Codes transforms pages on paper into an interactive gateway to thousands of other quotations on the monumental, annotated online database,�"Dr. Mardy's Dictionary of Metaphorical Quotations" (DMDMQ). Pure genius!

—Robert Deis, editor of ThisDayinQuotes.com and QuoteCounterQuote.com

Mardy Grothe has been wandering on the shores of the English language collecting quotations his whole life. There's an ocean of quotations out there and he has picked the best in this delightful new book.

—Anu Garg, founder of Wordsmith.org and author of A Word A Day

Mardy Grothe describes Metaphors Be With You as 'a museum of quotations' but, thanks to his innovative use of QR codes linked to an online database, the book is a living, breathing museum of metaphorical masterpieces all language lovers will want to explore.

—James Geary, author of I Is an Other: The Secret Life of Metaphor

Language is metaphor, and the English language never metaphor it didn't like. In Metaphors Be With You, renowned quotation hunter-gatherer Dr. Mardy Grothe displays the brightest metaphors ever created.

—Richard Lederer, celebrated wordsmith and author of Anguished English

Metaphors Be With You is a head-smacking, jaw-dropping compendium of shimmering gems of thought that not only energized, inspired, and entertained me, but powerfully displayed the richness, variety, and strength of metaphor in human discourse. Reading the book, and using the QR Codes, is the equivalent of a mini-liberal-arts education. An engaging read, this book will delight anyone who has ever been moved by a metaphor.

—Rosalie Maggio, author of How to Say It and creator of QuotationsbyWomen.com

Dr. Mardy Grothe's multi-decade, wide-ranging search has produced a magnificent collection of vivid quotations employing the most expressive figurative language. The topic-based organization is perfect for writers and speakers who require a hilarious barb, a coruscating insight, or a tender thought for an article or speech. Grothe's encyclopedic knowledge and curatorial eye assure that every page contains well-chosen statements with carefully researched ascriptions that even quotation aficionados have not seen before. In addition, the book innovatively uses QR codes to provide links to a valuable companion website. I am happy to give this book my highest recommendation.

—Garson O'Toole, founder of QuoteInvestigator.com and author of Hemingway Didn't Say That