Analogy: A kind of extended metaphor or long simile in which an explicit comparison is made between two things (events, ideas, people, etc.) for the purpose of furthering a line of reasoning or drawing an inference; a form of reasoning employing comparative or parallel cases.

To distinguish an analogy from its close rhetorical cousins metaphor and simile, the comparison is generally punctuated by an explicit inference or conclusion warranted by the two things being compared.

Ex 1: "Withdrawal of U.S. troops will become like salted peanuts to the American public; the more U.S. troops come home, the more will be demanded."

-- Henry Kissinger, Memo to President Richard Nixon, 10 September 1969.

Ex 2: "What would vigorous youth be without love? A long illness -- it would not be existence; it would be vegetating. Love is to our hearts what winds are to the sea. They grow into tempests, true; they are sometimes even the cause of shipwrecks. But the winds render the sea navigable, their constant agitation of its surface is the cause of its preservation, and if they are often dangerous, it is for the pilot to know how to navigate in safety."

-- Ninon de Lanclos, Letters to the Marquis de Sťvignť

Ex 3: "A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP (Live Long And Prosper)"

-- Leonard Nimoy

Ex 4: "Climbing is a journey and not a destination. Men do not conquer mountains any more than a flea conquers an elephant by climbing up its back."

-- Beck Weathers, On Surviving Mount Everest

Ex 5: "The further afield [constitutional] interpretation travels from its point of departure in the text, the greater the danger that constitutional adjudication will be like a picnic to which the framers bring the words and the judges the meaning."

-- Edwin Meese III, Speech to the D.C. Federalist Society

Further Examples

"I don't think there's anything certainly more unseemly than the sight of a rock star in academic robes. It's a bit like when people...put their King Charles spaniels in little tartan sweats and hats. It's...not natural, and it doesn't make the dog any smarter."

-- Bono, 2004 Commencement Address at The University of Pennsylvania

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"Jesus once said that the gate to the kingdom of heaven is narrow. But we are narrow in mathematics. We are narrow in chemistry. If we weren't narrow in chemistry, they'd be blowing the place up. We have to be narrow. We are narrow when we are flying a plane. I'm glad that pilots are not too broad-minded and just come in any way they want to. And why shouldn't we be narrow when it comes to spiritual dimensions and moral laws?"

-- Billy Graham, 1962 Address at The Harvard Law School Forum

"Remember this, ladies and gentlemen. It's an old phrase, basically anonymous -- that politicians are a lot like diapers: They should be changed frequently and for the same reason. Keep that in mind next time you vote. Good night."

-- delivered by Robin Williams (from the movie Man of the Year)

"I wanna say thank you to all the fans that voted for me and Owen [Wilson] for Wedding Crashers. And I feel a little guilty about winning the award 'cause it's not that hard of a thing to do. When you work with someone like Owen Wilson, I kind of feel like a jockey on the back of a great horse like Secretariat. My job is just to hold on."

-- Vince Vaughn acceptance address for 2006 Best On-Screen Team MTV Movie Award for Wedding Crashers

[Texas Rangers Announcer Eric Nadel's call of the final out for Chicago White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle's April 18th, 2007 no-hitter]

"I gotta e-mail from Michael. He goes, 'David, isn't...all the media coverage of a no-hitter against the Rangers the same as covering blue whales eating plankton? One fish is a big pro and the other is just food.' What in the world?! Oh, Michael."

-- David Smoak, On Air Radio Personality, KTBB, Tyler Texas (04/19/07)

"Our men in uniform are like the college football players. While the struggle is impending, they are observing the rules of training that they may be fit to fight. But when the game has been won, the temptation to break training and make up for the restraints of the past months and years will be a mighty one."

-- John D. Rockefeller, Jr., War Campaign Address

"I look at this [university] as being in the form of a house: and the students are the foundation, and the teachers are the walls, and the roof itself is the school. And we know that if you have a weak foundation, the walls and the roof can't be supported. Therefore, it crumbles."

-- Jason Madison, Northwestern State University student, Student's Should Come First'Address

Dr. Wilson: "The clot could explain the [bleeding] eye and the hallucinations. But what about the tumor? Tumors the size of an octopus wrapped around a little girl's heart are not just a coincidence."

Dr. Cameron: "She's not healthy. She's never been healthy."

Dr. Wilson: "What's the theory here? This girl's body's a lemon? Faulty manufacturing? Everything's falling apart?"

Dr. House: "The tumor is Afghanistan; the clot is Buffalo. Does that need more explanation? Okay, the tumor is Al Qaeda: the big bad guy with brains who went in, wiped it out -- but it had already sent out a splinter cell, a small team of low level terrorists quietly living in some suburb of Buffalo waiting to kill us all."

Dr. Foreman: "Whoa, whoa, you're trying to say that the tumor threw a clot before we removed it?"

Dr. House: "It was an excellent metaphor: Angio her brain before this clot straps on an explosive vest."

-- delivered by and Hugh Laurie, Robert Sean Leonard, Jennifer Morrison, and Omar Epps (from the TV drama House, M.D., Season 2, Episode entitled "Autopsy")

"By affirming the desirability of the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons, we have concentrated on the steps that are achievable and verifiable. My colleague, Sam Nunn, has described the effort as akin to climbing a mountain shrouded in clouds: We cannot describe the top to be certain that there may not be unforeseen, perhaps even insurmountable, obstacles. But we are prepared to undertake the journey in the belief that the summit will never come into view unless we begin the ascent and deal with the proliferation issues immediately before us, including the Iranian and North Korean programs."

-- Henry Kissinger, 45th Munich Security Conference

  "Don't worry about the future; or worry -- but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum."

-- Baz Luhrmann, Everybody's Free (to Wear Sunscreen)

"Dumb gorgeous people should not be allowed to use literature when competing in the pick-up pool. It's like bald people wearing hats."

-- delivered by Matt McGrath (from the movie Broken Hearts Club)

"Along with you and other members of this Committee, Mr. Chairman, I recognize that enduring success in Afghanistan will require the development of Afghan National Security Forces in sufficient numbers and sufficient quality. This is, of course, hugely important and hugely challenging. Indeed, helping to train and equip host nation forces in the midst of an insurgency is akin to building an advanced aircraft while it is in flight, while it is being designed, and while it is being shot at. There is nothing easy about it."

-- General David Petraeus, ISAF Confirmation Hearing Statement

"This is Orson Wells, ladies and gentlemen, out of character to assure you that the War of the Worlds has no further significance than as the holiday offering it was intended to be -- the Mercury Theater's own radio version of dressing up in a sheet and jumping out of a bush and saying 'boo.'"

-- Orson Wells, original radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds

Lt. Cmdr. Hunter: You know what's goin' on here?

Petty Officer Vossler: Yes, sir.

Lt. Cmdr. Hunter: No, I don't think you do. Let me explain it to you. If we launch and we're wrong, what's left of Russia is gonna launch at us. There will be a nuclear holocaust beyond imagination, so it's all about knowing, Mr. Vossler. We have to know whether or not our order to launch has been recalled or not. The only way we're gonna know is if you fix that radio. You understand me?

Petty Officer Vossler: Yes, sir.

Lt. Cmdr. Hunter: You ever watch Star Trek? Star know Star Trek, the USS Enterprise?

Petty Officer Vossler: Yeah....

Lt. Cmdr. Hunter: Alright. You remember when the Klingons were going to blow up the Enterprise and Captain Kirk calls down to Scotty? He says "Scotty, I gotta have more power --"

Petty Officer Vossler: He needs more, more warp speed....

Lt. Cmdr. Hunter: Warp speed, exactly.

Petty Officer Vossler: Yeah.

Lt. Cmdr. Hunter: Well I'm Captain Kirk. You're Scotty. I need more power. I'm telling you, if you do not get this radio up a billion people are going to die. Can you handle it? Scotty?

Petty Officer Vossler: Aye, Captain.

-- delivered by Denzel Washington and Lillo Brancato (from the movie Crimson Tide)

Note: In this case a comparison is made between the current situational crisis and a similar situation in Star Trek. The comparison is made to further the line of reasoning that a) the present situation is critical and b) Vossler (like Scotty) must get the job done or else....

"So, why do you write these strong women characters? Because equality is not a concept. Itís not something we should be striving for. Itís a necessity. Equality is like gravity: We need it to stand on this earth as men and women."

-- Joss Whedon, Equality Now Tribute Address

"In sum, if public universities and colleges donít reform themselves -- to contain costs and improve graduation rates -- federal and state governments will step in; and like the dinosaur, government has a heavy foot, a small brain, and no fine motor skills. Believe me, I know."

-- Robert Gates, 125th Meeting of the Association of Public Land Grant Universities



"Hello, everybody. I'm Ichiro Suzuki from the Miami Marlins. You might be expecting a speech. But, like home runs, speeches in English are not my game. Even so, I am very happy to be here  And, thank you for having me."

-- Ichiro Suzuki, 2016 Lou Gehrig Sports Award Dinner

"Even in 2017, our Air Force celebrates its 70th birthday. We pride ourselves on braking barriers -- barriers not only in the air and space, but culturally, beginning with race and gender. Many of these barriers were broken in response to, 'You canít.' It started because 'You canít' is incendiary. It's like the fuel that powers our jets and our rockets and our innovative spirit. 'You canít' is a highly flammable substance at odds with the fire that lives in the belly of our military members. And when you mix 'You canít' with this fire a storm takes shape and pressures build and as a result the tension needs an outlet; and what evolves are bold and innovative ways to make change and solve problems."

-- Stayce Harris, DOD Martin Luther King Annual Observance Day Address


"The Democracy Party and the Republican Party were just like the old patent medicine drummer that used to come around our country. He had two bottles of medicine. He'd play a banjo and he'd sell two bottles of medicine. One of those bottles of medicine was called Hipopalorum. And another one of those bottles of medicine was called Lopopahirum. Finally, somebody around there said, 'Is there any difference in these medicines?' 'Oh,' he said, 'considerable.' 'They're both good; but they're different.' He said, 'that Hipopalorum is made from the bark off the tree that we take from the top down. And that Lopopahirum is made from the bark that we take from the root up.' And the only difference that I have found between the Democratic leadership and the Republican leadership was that one of them was skinning from the ankle up and the other one from the ear down, when I got to Congress."

-- Huey P. Long, Campaign Address (from the Ken Burns Documentary, Huey P. Long)



John Tuld: "Please, just relax, stand up, tell us in a clear voice what is the nature of the problem."

Peter Sullivan: "Well, as you probably know, over the last 36 to 40 months the firm has begun packaging new MBS products that combine several different tranches of rating classification in one tradable security. Well, the firm is currently doing a considerable amount of this business everyday. Now, the problem is that it takes us, the firm, about month to layer these products correctly, thereby posing a challenge from a risk management standpoint.

John Tuld: And, Mr. Sullivan, that challenge is?

Peter Sullivan: Well, we have to hold these assets on our books longer than we might ideally like to. 

John Tuld: And, Mr. Sullivan, what does your model say that that means for us here?

Peter Sullivan: Well, sir, if those assets decrease by just 25% and remain on our books, that loss would be greater than the current market capitalization of this entire company.

John Tuld: So...what you're telling me is that the music is about to stop, and we're going to be left holding the biggest bag of odorous excrement ever assembled in the history of...capitalism.

Peter Sullivan: Sir, I'm not sure that I would put it that way, but let me clarify. Using your analogy, what this model shows is the "music," so to speak -- just slowing. If the music were to "stop," as you put it, then this model wouldn't be even close to that scenario. It would be...considerably worse.

-- delivered by Zachary Quinto and Jeremy Irons (from the movie Margin Call)

  "And a voice seemed to say to me, 'You are an old man and you have not said, "Thank you." You have not brought your gratitude back to the soil from which this fragrance arose.' And so I come here tonight to thank the soil and the soul of this people that has given me so much -- because I know just as an identity card is not a man, a credit rating is not a country."

-- Leonard Cohen, Prince of Asturias Awards Acceptance Address

"So, my brother and I learned to cast Presbyterian style -- on a metronome. He began each session with the same instruction: Casting is an art that is performed on a four-count rhythm between 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock. Had he had had his way nobody who did not know how to catch a fish would be allowed to disgrace a fish by catching it.  "

-- delivered by Robert Redford (from the movie A River Runs Through It)

Note: A suggestive, rather than explicit, analogy; namely, that learning to cast is like learning to play a musical instrument: both require a keenly developed sense of timing. Failing this developed sense disqualifies the learner from performing the art, be it fishing or music.

"Having a universal library on Capitol Hill at the dawn of the Information Age is rather like having the world's largest gold reserve sitting under the treasury as you go on the gold standard: You have to mine it; and America must mine more of the gold, for as we enter the time when we must increasingly live by our wits rather than just our power, it is a resource that is not just desirable but indispensable."

-- James Billington, Address to the National Press Club

"Keep in mind that Apple owns the entire commercial iOS ecosystem. They own the hardware. They own the software. They own the app store and the retail stores. That gives Apple access to competitively sensitive information, including who our customers are, our retail margins, our subscription take rates. And Apple's control over the ecosystem enables it to make changes to the OS with no meaningful advance consultation or notice to competitors to enable us to evaluate or prepare for impact. It's like playing a soccer game. You might be the best team in the league, but youíre playing against a team that owns the field, the ball, the stadium, and the entire league. And they can change the rules of the game in their own favor at any time."

-- Kirsten Daru, Remarks at a Congressional Hearing on Competition in Digital Markets

"We know from experience that the response to an outbreak of this magnitude [Ebola] has to be fast and it has to be sustained. Itís a marathon, but you have to run it like a sprint."

-- Barack Obama, UN Remarks on the Ebola Outbreak in West Africa

Analysis: A paradoxical analogy. At a rational level, a marathon cannot be navigated -- by definition -- as a sprint (otherwise it's not a marathon), but even if attempted as such would result in significant harm to the runner at best, or at worst lead to certain demise (as was allegedly the case with an early participant of the event, Philippides.) At this level, the analogy points to a venture of despair that opposes the audacious hope it seeks to project. However, at a second, aspirational level the analogy works by encapsulating the kind of determined commitment -- where significant energy is required in both the near and long terms -- best calculated to defeat a virulent disease's outbreak.

"As a technologist I know that we lack the technical capacity to keep large collections of user data safe over time. I worry that we're in [the] same position as the nuclear industry was in the early 50s: We have an amazing new technology, with real potential, but we are not being honest about the risks and our incapacity to store a wasteful and harmful byproduct for periods of time much longer than how long the companies storing them have existed."

-- Maciej Ceglowski, Opening Statement to Congress on Data Privacy Rights

Rhetorical Figures in Sound

Online Speech Bank

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