MetaNet Metaphor Wiki

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The MetaNet Metaphor Wiki is a large structured repository of conceptual metaphors, which draws on many years of research in Conceptual Metaphor Theory. It includes many well-studied metaphor systems, such as the Location Event Structure Metaphor system, with metaphors at varying levels of specificity (e.g. States Are Locations, Difficulties Are Impediments to Movement, Life Is A Journey). It also includes metaphors related to a variety of social and political issues (e.g. Poverty Is A Disease , Taxation Is A Burden, Government Regulation Is A Physical Constraint).

This Wiki has been created as part of the MetaNet Project, whose ongoing objective is to systematize metaphor analysis in a computational way. As part of this work, MetaNet has developed formal representations of metaphors as mappings from one domain (the Source domain) to another (the Target domain). Both the Source and Target domains are represented as frames, which are schematic representations of different kinds of experiences, objects, and events. Frame-to-frame and metaphor-to-metaphor relations serve to link individual frames and metaphors, thus effectively defining larger frame and metaphor networks.

This wiki currently contains over 650 metaphor pages, and over 550 pages for the semantic frames that act as source and target domains of metaphors. The current, publicly-available wiki supports analysis of metaphors in English; in the future, we plan to make wikis developed for other languages available as well.


As an illustration of the contents of this wiki, consider the metaphor expressed in sentences such as Poverty is the world's deadliest disease, and The country is plagued by poverty. Specific examples such as these are analyzed by MetaNet as expressions of the more general conceptual metaphor, Poverty Is A Disease. As shown in the 'Source Frame' and 'Target frame' fields, this metaphor maps the source frame of Disease to the target frame of Poverty.

Each of these frames includes a list of lexical units that evoke that frame. The Poverty frame includes, for instance, poverty, destitution, indigence, and other related words, while the Disease frame includes terms such as disease, infection, illness, and symptom. Thus, an individual metaphor page represents a conceptual metaphor that can potentially be expressed via many different combinations of lexical items (e.g. Poverty is infecting our country, the symptoms of poverty, etc.).

Individual metaphors and frames specify relations to other metaphors and frames. For instance, the metaphor Poverty Is A Disease is a subcase of the more general metaphor Social Problems Are Diseases. Additionally, the frames that serve as the source and target of this metaphor are related to other frames: Poverty is defined as a subcase Social problems, and Disease is a subcase of the more general Physical affliction frame. Via metaphor-to-metaphor and frame-to-frame relations such as these, individual metaphors and frames form larger networks of metaphors and frames.


This MetaNet wiki contains a searchable, publicly-accessible subset of the full MetaNet metaphor and frame repository; this beta-version will be revised and expanded on an ongoing basis.

  • The list of metaphors can be found here: Metaphors
  • The list of frames can be found here: Frames
  • Definitions of commonly used terms, and descriptions of the different fields found on the metaphor and frame pages can be found here: Glossary

By selecting an individual frame or metaphor from this list, you can view its internal structure, along with its specified relations to other frames and metaphors within the network. Because this is only a subset of the full repository, some of the links on these pages (links in red) are not live links.

Making Comments

While none of the wiki pages can be edited by the public, viewers are invited to leave comments using the 'Discussion' tab for a given page.

To leave a comment, please do the following:

  • Click on the 'Discussion' tab at the top of the specific frame or metaphor page you wish to comment upon.
  • Enter your comments, and hit 'Save page' when done.
  • As a security measure, this will bring up a screen with a question that you will need to answer. After answering this question, hit 'Save page' again to save your comments.

Further information

The MetaNet Metaphor Wiki is currently housed at the International Computer Science Institute in Berkeley, California.

Further information about the MetaNet project, as well as links to selected publications can be accessed via the MetaNet webpage: