A dead metaphor is a figure of speech which has lost the original imagery of its meaning due to extensive, repetitive, and popular usage. Because dead metaphors have a conventional meaning that differs from the original, they can be understood without knowing their earlier connotation. Dead metaphors are generally the result of a semantic shift in the evolution of a language, a process called the literalization of a metaphor. A distinction is often made between those dead metaphors whose origins are entirely unknown to the majority of people using them (such as the expression "to kick the bucket") and those whose source is widely known or symbolism easily understood but not often thought about (the idea of "falling in love").
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1. a metaphor that has occurred so often that it has become a new meaning of the expression (e.g., `he is a snake' may once have been a metaphor but after years of use it has died and become a new sense of the word `snake')
(synonym) frozen metaphor
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