ATT-Meta Project Databank:

Examples of Usage of Metaphors of Mind

Concerning COPYRIGHT:

This databank must not be used for commercial purposes. Selected pages of it contain a copyright notice allowing the page to be freely copied (downloaded, printed, etc.) for non-commercial research/instructional use provided the copyright notice is included.

Such pages contain the databank compiler's original text and/or collections of excerpts from published or spoken material to which the compiler has added value by unique and original selection, coordination, expression, annotation, arrangement and classification.


The databank mainly contains real-discourse examples of metaphorical descriptions of mental states and processes. It also contains some examples of the use of metonymy in mental state descriptions.

Metaphors and Manifestations

In this databank, a metaphor is taken to be a conceptual view of some type of thing as some other type of thing, for example of the mind as a physical space. A metaphor is NOT a chunk of language (sentence, phrase, or whatever). Rather, a metaphor is ``manifested'' in a chunk of language.

Size of Databank

The databank currently contains about 1100 text examples and 65 or more (transcribed) speech examples. These numbers include repetitions arising when examples manifest more than one metaphor.

Overall Structure

The (metaphorical) examples in the databank are categorized according to the metaphors they manifest. Mostly, for a given metaphor, there is a page including examples of its use and a page describing the metaphor itself. (However, some metaphors are lumped together.)

There is also a page for examples of metonymy and a page describing metonymy.

Most examples have a link to a file identifying the source of the example and sometimes containing a fuller version of the example, or more context.

Some links can only be followed by people at our location. These include the ones where the link contains "<jab N>" or "<atmet N>" for some number N. If you wish to know the source and context in such a case, please contact me.

For more on the databank structure and its display conventions, click here.

Access to the Example and Description Pages

please go to the



The databank comes with no claims to completeness:

Questions, Comments and Offers of Examples

email (John Barnden).

                        Please do NOT use my department or university addresses (they end with

I am always on the lookout for new examples of the usage of metaphors of mind, and of the use of metonymy in describing mental states. If you would like to contribute some examples, I would be most grateful, and would of course acknowledge you in the databank unless you asked me not to.

Related Pages

Another metaphor databank that we compiled, not restricted to metaphors for mind.

ATT-Meta project

List of PAPERS on metaphor, including ATT-Meta project papers on mental states and metaphor

Home page for John Barnden

Origin and Acknowledgments

The databank is a product of the ATT-Meta project under the leadership of
John Barnden. That project has been at various times supported supported by grants IRI-9101354 and CDA-8914670 from the National Science Foundation (USA) and grants GR/M64208 and EP/C538943/1 from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (UK).


Lakoff, G.,  Espenson, J. & Schwartz, A. (1991).
   Master metaphor list. Draft 2nd Edition.
         Cognitive Linguistics Group, 
         University of California at Berkeley, CA.

Sommer, E. & Weiss, D. (1996).
   Metaphors Dictionary.
         Visible Ink Press: Detroit, Michigan.

Written by John Barnden

Last update 28 November 2022 (minor updates only; previous major update 18 Jan 2008)