The Mind is a Metaphor “is an evolving work of reference, an ever more interactive, more solidly constructed collection of mental metaphorics.” From the About page:

This collection of eighteenth-century metaphors of mind serves as the basis for a scholarly study of the metaphors and root-images appealed to by the novelists, poets, dramatists, essayists, philosophers, belle-lettrists, preachers, and pamphleteers of the long eighteenth century. While the database does include metaphors from classical sources, from Shakespeare and Milton, from the King James Bible, and from more recent texts, it does not pretend to any depth or density of coverage in literature other than that of the British eighteenth century.

☞ The database was assembled and taxonomized and is maintained by Brad Pasanek

Even with the restriction to the British eighteenth century, it’s a neat idea and a valuable resource.


  1. Much as I like Sheets and Kelly, I have to say this is a stinker:
    “He has his Summer, when luxuriously / Spring’s honied cud of youthful thought he loves / To ruminate”.
    Cud? Really? He wants me to start thinking about multiple stomachs and contemplative kye? I can’t blame Keats for the image of a modern yoof, dimly chewing gum, but it doesn’t help either.

  2. ‘it’s a neat idea and a valuable resource’
    Agreed. In a brief post about this database a couple of months back, I wrote that even on a brief visit it’s rewarding to browse, with every page offering a wealth of images. The faceted browsing feature is useful, too.

  3. I have to say this is a stinker
    I have to agree.
    a brief post about this database a couple of months back
    Yeah, that’s probably where I got the link, which has been sitting around for a while.

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