What Is the Difference Between a Parable and a Metaphor?

Both parables and metaphors have hidden meanings. A parable is longer and uses a story to convey a deeper message. Metaphors are typically shorter and refer to one subject, while the actual subject is something else entirely. There are multiple examples of famous, well-known parables and metaphors.

Parables

Parables are short stories used to convey a moral message. Some of the most famous parables come from Christianity and are religious. There are also parables for children that use animals to convey messages.

Examples of Parables:

The Boy Who Cried Wolf

This children's story of a child left to tend sheep is a message to children about the dangers of lying.

The Good Samaritan

This biblical story is told to inspire people to be kind to others

Jack & Jill

This story of a brother and sister warned children from wandering away from home.

Metaphors

Metaphors are figures of speech meant to relate two things through comparison. We use metaphors daily in our speech and our writing to help shed meaning on subjects. Metaphors are often used in songs, such as "Love is a Battlefield" by Pat Benatar. In saying "love is a battlefield," the meaning is love is difficult and dangerous like being on a battlefield in war.

Examples of Metaphors:

Metaphors in Songwriting

In saying "love is a battlefield," the meaning is love is difficult and dangerous like being on a battlefield in war.

Metaphors in Everyday Speech

You are the apple of my eye

  • used to express fondness.

He is the black sheep of the family

  • used to describe someone who doesn't fit in with their family.

Don’t open that can of worms

  • used to state that doing something could cause trouble.

Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill

  • used as a warning not to exaggerate.