30 Metaphors for Fear + Quiz


Fear, a universal emotion, often eludes direct description. That’s where metaphors come in handy, offering us a way to articulate the otherwise indescribable.

So, buckle up as we explore some of the most evocative metaphors for fear, unpacking their meanings and seeing them come to life in sentences.

metaphors for fear

What is a Metaphor for Fear

Before we jump into our list, let’s clear up what a metaphor actually is. In the simplest terms, a metaphor is a figure of speech where we describe one thing in terms of another to highlight their similarities.

When it comes to fear, metaphors help us visualize and feel this complex emotion in a more tangible way. They’re like linguistic bridges, connecting the abstract world of emotions to the concrete world around us.


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Created by Dr. Julia Rossi

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1 / 20

What is a simile?

2 / 20

Identify the simile in the following sentence: “She swims like a fish.”

3 / 20

What is a metaphor?

4 / 20

Which of the following is a metaphor?

5 / 20

What is an idiom?

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What does the idiom “break the ice” mean?

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What is an adjective?

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Choose the adjective in the following sentence: “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”

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What is an abbreviation?

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What does the abbreviation “e.g.” stand for?

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What is a verb?

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Identify the verb in the following sentence: “The cat sleeps on the sofa.”

13 / 20

“Out of the frying pan into the fire” is an example of:

14 / 20

Which of the following is an adjective?

15 / 20

The abbreviation “NASA” stands for:

16 / 20

Choose the metaphor in the following sentence: “Time is a thief.”

17 / 20

What does the idiom “hit the books” mean?

18 / 20

Which of the following sentences contains a simile?

19 / 20

“LOL” is an abbreviation for:

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Identify the verb in this sentence: “They whispered secrets into the night.”

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MetaphorMeaningExample in a Sentence
Fear is a dark shadow.Fear as an ever-present, looming presence.Fear was a dark shadow trailing his every step.
Fear is a chilling breeze.Fear likened to an unexpected, unsettling cold wind.Fear was a chilling breeze sweeping through her thoughts.
Fear is a monster under the bed.Fear as an irrational but terrifying entity in hidden places.Fear was a monster under the bed, waiting in silence.
Fear is a sinking ship.Fear depicted as a disastrous situation leading to downfall.His career felt like a sinking ship, with fear flooding every part.
Fear is a stormy sea.Fear compared to the unpredictable, turbulent nature of the ocean.She felt like a small boat in a stormy sea of fear.
Fear is a venomous snake.Fear as a dangerous, lurking threat that can strike unexpectedly.Fear was a venomous snake, coiled and ready to strike in his mind.
Fear is a ticking time bomb.Fear as a pending, inevitable explosion of emotions.Fear was a ticking time bomb in his heart.
Fear is a maze with no exit.Fear as a confusing, endless cycle from which escape seems impossible.Fear was a maze with no exit, trapping her in endless worry.
Fear is a heavy burden.Fear depicted as a weight that burdens life.Fear was a heavy burden, bending his shoulders under its weight.
Fear is a relentless enemy.Fear personified as a persistent adversary.Fear was a relentless enemy, always lurking in doubt’s shadows.
Fear is a prison cell.Fear confining and restricting freedom, like being trapped in a cell.For her, fear was a prison cell, locking her away from opportunities.
Fear is a looming specter.Fear as a haunting, ghostly presence overshadowing life.Fear was a looming specter, haunting his every waking moment.
Fear is a sharp blade.Fear as something potentially harmful and piercing.Every criticism felt like fear was a sharp blade cutting his confidence.
Fear is a bottomless pit.Fear as an endless, deep chasm, symbolizing its overwhelming nature.She felt as though falling into a bottomless pit of fear.
Fear is a suffocating blanket.Fear as something that stifles and envelops, leaving no room to breathe.His worries wrapped around him like a suffocating blanket of fear.
Fear is a raging wildfire.Fear likened to an uncontrollable, destructive force.Fear was a raging wildfire, consuming all rational thought.
Fear is a frozen heart.Fear as something that immobilizes and numbs emotions.His dreams were held captive by a frozen heart of fear.
Fear is a ghostly whisper.Fear as a subtle, eerie voice instilling doubt and unease.Fear was a ghostly whisper, echoing her deepest insecurities.
Fear is a trembling leaf.Fear compared to fragility and the inability to remain composed.He felt like a trembling leaf, with fear shaking his resolve.
Fear is a tightrope walk.Fear as a precarious, high-stakes balancing act.Navigating his role felt like a tightrope walk of fear.
Fear is a thundering storm.Fear likened to the overwhelming power of a storm.Fear was a thundering storm in her mind.
Fear is a shrouded mystery.Fear as something enigmatic and difficult to understand.His fear was a shrouded mystery, cloaked in confusion.
Fear is a slippery slope.Fear leading to a gradual descent into worse situations.Fear was a slippery slope towards failure.
Fear is a poison in the veins.Fear compared to a toxic substance that corrupts thoughts.Fear was like poison in his veins, corrupting every thought.
Fear is a thorny thicket.Fear as a dense, painful barrier difficult to pass through.Fear was a thorny thicket, bristling with painful memories.
Fear is a swarm of bees.Fear likened to an aggressive, overwhelming mass.His mind became a swarm of bees, each thought stinging with fear.
Fear is a broken mirror.Fear as something that distorts reality.His expectations were a broken mirror, fractured by shards of fear.
Fear is a haunting nightmare.Fear as a recurring, disturbing dream.His sleep was disrupted by a haunting nightmare of fear.
Fear is a weight on the chest.Fear as a physical sensation of oppressive force.A weight on her chest grew heavier, a manifestation of fear.
Fear is a darkness closing in.Fear as encroaching darkness, creating a sense of entrapment.The future appeared as a darkness closing in, an abyss of fear.

This table encapsulates the varied and vivid metaphors for fear, each providing a unique lens through which we can understand this complex emotion.

Fear is like a shadow, lurking in the corners of your mind, ready to engulf you in darkness. You can discover more comparisons like this in a list of similes for fear here: Similes for Fear. And when it comes to expressions about fear and the emotions it evokes, there are idioms that capture the intensity and challenges of dealing with fear, which you can explore in this collection: Idioms for Fear.

Metaphors for Fear

  1. Fear is a dark shadow.
    • Meaning: This metaphor suggests fear as an ever-present, looming presence that follows and overshadows life.
    • In a Sentence: As he walked down the deserted alley, fear was a dark shadow trailing his every step.
  2. Fear is a chilling breeze.
    • Meaning: Here, fear is likened to an unexpected, unsettling cold wind that makes one shiver.
    • In a Sentence: Whenever she thought about the upcoming speech, fear was a chilling breeze sweeping through her thoughts.
  3. Fear is a monster under the bed.
    • Meaning: This classic metaphor portrays fear as an irrational but terrifying entity lurking in hidden places.
    • In a Sentence: For the young boy, nighttime wasn’t just about darkness; fear was a monster under the bed, waiting in silence.
  4. Fear is a sinking ship.
    • Meaning: Fear is depicted as a disastrous situation leading to inevitable downfall.
    • In a Sentence: As the scandal unfolded, his career felt like a sinking ship, with fear flooding every compartment of his life.
  5. Fear is a stormy sea.
    • Meaning: This metaphor compares fear to the unpredictable, turbulent, and overwhelming nature of a tempestuous ocean.
    • In a Sentence: Facing her fears, she felt like a small boat tossed about in a stormy sea.
  6. Fear is a venomous snake.
    • Meaning: Fear is likened to a dangerous, lurking threat that can strike unexpectedly.
    • In a Sentence: In the dark forest of his mind, fear was a venomous snake, coiled and ready to strike.
  7. Fear is a ticking time bomb.
    • Meaning: This metaphor suggests that fear is a pending, inevitable explosion of emotions.
    • In a Sentence: With each passing day, his anxiety grew; fear was a ticking time bomb in his heart.
  8. Fear is a maze with no exit.
    • Meaning: Fear is portrayed as a confusing, endless cycle from which escape seems impossible.
    • In a Sentence: Lost in her thoughts, she felt fear was a maze with no exit, trapping her in endless worry.
  9. Fear is a heavy burden.
    • Meaning: This metaphor depicts fear as a weight that one carries, making every task more difficult.
    • In a Sentence: He walked through life with fear as a heavy burden, bending his shoulders under its invisible weight.
  10. Fear is a relentless enemy.
    • Meaning: Fear is personified as a persistent adversary that is difficult to overcome.
    • In a Sentence: In his quest for success, fear was a relentless enemy, always lurking in the shadows of doubt.
  11. Fear is a prison cell.
    • Meaning: This metaphor suggests that fear confines and restricts freedom, like being trapped in a cell.
    • In a Sentence: For her, fear was a prison cell, locking her away from the world of opportunities outside.
  12. Fear is a looming specter.
    • Meaning: Fear is described as a haunting, ghostly presence that overshadows life.
    • In a Sentence: As the deadline approached, fear was a looming specter, haunting his every waking moment.
  13. Fear is a sharp blade.
    • Meaning: This metaphor portrays fear as something potentially harmful and piercing.
    • In a Sentence: Every criticism felt like fear was a sharp blade, cutting deep into his confidence.
  14. Fear is a bottomless pit.
    • Meaning: Fear is depicted as an endless, deep chasm, symbolizing its overwhelming and consuming nature.
    • In a Sentence: Caught in a cycle of anxiety, she felt as though she was falling into a bottomless pit of fear.
  15. Fear is a suffocating blanket.
    • Meaning: This metaphor conveys fear as something that envelops and stifles, leaving no room to breathe.
    • In a Sentence: Lying awake at night, his worries wrapped around him like a suffocating blanket of fear.
  16. Fear is a raging wildfire.
    • Meaning: Fear is likened to an uncontrollable, destructive force that spreads rapidly.
    • In a Sentence: In the heat of the moment, fear was a raging wildfire, consuming all rational thought.
  17. Fear is a frozen heart.
    • Meaning: This metaphor suggests fear as something that immobilizes and numbs emotions.
    • In a Sentence: Paralyzed by doubt, his dreams were held captive by a frozen heart of fear.
  18. Fear is a ghostly whisper.
    • Meaning: Fear is portrayed as a subtle, eerie voice that instills doubt and unease.
    • In a Sentence: In the quiet of the night, fear was a ghostly whisper, echoing her deepest insecurities.
  19. Fear is a trembling leaf.
    • Meaning: This metaphor compares fear to fragility and the inability to remain still or composed.
    • In a Sentence: As he faced the crowd, he felt like a trembling leaf, with fear shaking his resolve.
  20. Fear is a tightrope walk.
    • Meaning: Fear is depicted as a precarious, high-stakes balancing act.
    • In a Sentence: Navigating his new role felt like a tightrope walk, with fear as the ever-present risk of falling.
  21. Fear is a thundering storm.
    • Meaning: This metaphor likens fear to the overwhelming and intimidating power of a storm.
    • In a Sentence: Confronted with the unexpected challenge, fear was a thundering storm in her mind.
  22. Fear is a shrouded mystery.
    • Meaning: Fear is depicted as something enigmatic, obscure, and difficult to understand.
    • In a Sentence: Even to himself, his fear was a shrouded mystery, cloaked in layers of confusion.
  23. Fear is a slippery slope.
    • Meaning: This metaphor suggests that fear leads to a gradual but inevitable descent into worse situations.
    • In a Sentence: Hesitating at the start of his journey, he realized fear was a slippery slope towards failure.
  24. Fear is a poison in the veins.
    • Meaning: Fear is compared to a toxic substance that spreads throughout the body and mind.
    • In a Sentence: As paranoia took hold, fear was like a poison in his veins, corrupting every thought.
  25. Fear is a thorny thicket.
    • Meaning: This metaphor portrays fear as a dense, painful barrier that is difficult to pass through.
    • In a Sentence: Trying to overcome her past, she found fear was a thorny thicket, bristling with painful memories.
  26. Fear is a swarm of bees.
    • Meaning: Fear is likened to an aggressive, buzzing mass that attacks and overwhelms.
    • In a Sentence: As panic set in, his mind became a swarm of bees, each thought stinging with fear.
  27. Fear is a broken mirror.
    • Meaning: This metaphor suggests that fear distorts reality, much like a shattered mirror alters reflections.
    • In a Sentence: Looking into the future, his expectations were a broken mirror, fractured by the shards of fear.
  28. Fear is a haunting nightmare.
    • Meaning: Fear is depicted as a terrifying, recurring dream that disturbs and unsettles.
    • In a Sentence: Night after night, his sleep was disrupted by a haunting nightmare of fear.
  29. Fear is a weight on the chest.
    • Meaning: This metaphor conveys the physical sensation of fear as a heavy, oppressive force.
    • In a Sentence: As the room grew silent, a weight on her chest grew heavier, a tangible manifestation of fear.
  30. Fear is a darkness closing in.
    • Meaning: Fear is portrayed as an encroaching darkness, limiting visibility and creating a sense of entrapment.
    • In a Sentence: In his moments of doubt, the future appeared as darkness closing in, an abyss filled with fear.

Here are 10 quiz questions based on the metaphors for fear discussed in the article:

  1. Multiple Choice: What does the metaphor “Fear is a dark shadow” imply?
    • A) Fear brightens your path.
    • B) Fear follows you like a persistent shadow.
    • C) Fear makes everything more visible.
    • D) Fear is a source of light.
    • Correct Answer: B) Fear follows you like a persistent shadow.
  2. True or False: The metaphor “Fear is a chilling breeze” suggests that fear is comforting and warm.
    • Correct Answer: False
  3. Fill in the Blank: “Fear is a _________ under the bed,” a metaphor that suggests fear as an irrational but terrifying entity lurking in hidden places.
    • Correct Answer: monster
  4. Multiple Choice: What does “Fear is a sinking ship” metaphorically represent?
    • A) Fear as a source of adventure.
    • B) Fear as a disastrous situation leading to downfall.
    • C) Fear as a means of transportation.
    • D) Fear as a life-saving device.
    • Correct Answer: B) Fear as a disastrous situation leading to downfall.
  5. True or False: The metaphor “Fear is a venomous snake” likens fear to a cuddly and harmless animal.
    • Correct Answer: False
  6. Matching: Match the metaphor with its meaning.
    1. Fear is a heavy burden.
  7. Multiple Choice: The metaphor “Fear is a ghostly whisper” suggests that fear is:
    • A) Loud and clear.
    • B) Non-existent.
    • C) Subtle and eerie.
    • D) Musical and soothing.
    • Correct Answer: C) Subtle and eerie.
  8. True or False: “Fear is a tightrope walk” implies that fear is a stable and secure feeling.
    • Correct Answer: False
  9. Fill in the Blank: “Fear is a _________ storm,” a metaphor that compares fear to the overwhelming and intimidating power of a storm.
    • Correct Answer: thundering
  10. Multiple Choice: What does “Fear is a thorny thicket” metaphorically imply?
  • A) Fear is a smooth and easy path.
  • B) Fear as a dense, painful barrier difficult to pass through.
  • C) Fear as a beautiful garden.
  • D) Fear as a comfortable resting place.
  • Correct Answer: B) Fear as a dense, painful barrier difficult to pass through.

These quiz questions cover various aspects of the metaphors used to describe fear and can help reinforce understanding of these concepts.

Conclusion

And there you have it – 30 vivid metaphors for fear, each painting a unique picture of this complex emotion. Through these metaphors, we see fear as a shadow that lurks, a storm that rages, and a burden that weighs heavily.

They serve not just as literary devices, but as windows into the human psyche, revealing how fear can shape, challenge, and sometimes, unfortunately, define our experiences.

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