He was speaking metaphorically when he referred to being mugged by reality.
a figure of speech in which a similarity between two things is highlighted by using a word to refer to something that it does not literally denote — as when Shakespeare wrote, "All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players." Shakespeare is not saying the world is really a stage and all people are actors, but there are similarities he wants us to recognize.
While metaphors and similes are both techniques of figurative language. The distinction is that a simile explicitly shows that a comparison is being made, by using words such as "like" or "as". A metaphor simply substitutes words assuming the reader will understand the meaning should not be take literally. "She is like a diamond in the rough" is a simile; while "She is a diamond in the rough" is a metaphor.
He was speaking metaphorically when he referred to being mugged by reality.
It was falling so hard that it looked like white sparks (and this is a simile, too, not a metaphor).
Mark Haddon -- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
And I don’t mean "kill" as in "metaphor."
Sherman Alexie -- The Absolutlely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
"the bad guy is always a black-hearted villain. ... The tones of black and white have the greatest amount of contrast between them, therefore writers and poets, who have always dealt with extremes in passion and people, use black and white to create those images of contrast. Can you think of any other example where color is used as a metaphor to express an idea?"
Sharon M. Draper -- Tears of a Tiger
The trance happens when you don’t focus on anything, and the whole big picture swallows and moves around you. She said it was usually metaphoric, but for people who should never do acid again, it was literal.
Stephen Chbosky -- The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Nothing happens to the Dutch Tulip Man. He isn’t a con man or not a con man; he’s God. He’s an obvious and unambiguous metaphorical representation of God, and asking what becomes of him is the intellectual equivalent of asking what becomes of the disembodied eyes of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg in Gatsby.
John Green -- The Fault in Our Stars
Forget the hashed metaphor.
O. Henry -- The Gift of the Maji
I spoke metaphorically.
Oscar Wilde -- The Importance of Being Earnest
"Baseball metaphors don’t work with me."
Laurie Halse Anderson -- The Impossible Knife of Memory
…coffee shop we were holding hands and her phone number was in MN brand-new cell phone, and she liked to take me for walks on the lakeshore, where we’d watch the waves crashing against the rocks on the shoreline, and she said there was only one metaphor, and that the metaphor was water beating against rocks—because, she said, both the water and the rocks ended up worse off in the bargain, and then when she dumped me in the same coffee shop where we’d met three months before, she said…
John Green -- An Abundance of Katherines
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"They’re a metaphor for acceptance; they’ve sworn to protect a world that hates and fears them."
Rainbow Rowell -- Eleanor & Park
It was just a metaphor.
Rick Yancey -- The 5th Wave
My five-year-old brother waving around an empty gun; there’s a metaphor for you.
Rick Yancey -- The Infinite Sea
Bailey paused, as if to allow the two of them to soak in the apt and tidy metaphor he’d conjured.
Dave Eggers -- The Circle
My grandfather was literal minded, not a man who traded in metaphor or suggestion.
Ransom Riggs -- Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
They like their demons metaphorical.
Patrick Rothfuss -- The Name of the Wind
Or that (and this I draw mostly from the side notes, scribbled in several hands) he is making fitful passage, in a metaphorical sense, through the epic "seasons" of life.
Chang-rae Lee -- A Gesture Life
The anonymous poets returned again and again to the same metaphors.
Michael Ondaatje -- Running in the Family
I found it strange that Meg, a street urchin and Dumpster warrior, would relate so well to garden metaphors, but Chiron was an excellent teacher.
Rick Riordan -- The Trials of Apollo
Dell thinks that he’s going to take me right back to Jamison, but Mai puts her foot down, metaphorically speaking.
Holly Goldberg Sloan -- Counting by 7s
I think of these qualities as metaphorical, you know?
Christina Baker Kline -- Orphan Train
There are a thousand metaphors and all of them are inadequate: forty bombs per aircraft, four hundred and eighty altogether, seventy-two thousand pounds of explosives.
Anthony Doerr -- All the Light We Cannot See
Was he being metaphorical?
Colleen Hoover -- Hopeless
We’re obviously veering into sports metaphor territory.
Katja Millay -- The Sea of Tranquility
Evidently, crow-eating had connotations on the island which were literal as well as metaphorical.
Pat Conroy -- The Water is Wide
"A narrow escape," said Farrell later, reinforcing my metaphor with unconscious precision.
William Styron -- Sophie’s Choice
He had used this metaphor since middle school.
Dave Eggers -- A Hologram for the King
Here I was looking for symbolism and metaphors and, urn …. sometimes a duck is just a duck!
R.J. Palacio -- Wonder
Though I tried not to think of the Austrian man who had kept the woman locked in a basement for twenty years, it was unfortunately the metaphor that came to mind.
Donna Tartt -- The Goldfinch
Metaphorically," she added with an easier smile than she’d expected to pull off.
Nora Roberts -- Dark Witch
But still, we are forced to admit that in this woeful world, there exist objects with an almost palpable energy of menace …. spatulas that seem cursed, couches that contain literal and metaphorical stains of the past, houses that seem to perpetually groan and moan for the sins contained in their environs.
Kate DiCamillo -- Flora & Ulysses
Crazy Cat becomes a metaphor for my situation.
Suzanne Collins -- Mockingjay
"A metaphor, or simply a figure of speech?" he says, also frowning.
Veronica Roth -- Insurgent
She remembered reading them in Mr. Pierce’s seventh-grade English class, talking about symbolism, metaphors, and denouement.
Sara Shepard -- Pretty Little Liars
A metaphoric unity was broken.
Tim O’Brien -- The Things They Carried
One Sunday night, lost in fruity metaphors and florid diction, Judge Taylor’s attention was wrenched from the page by an irritating scratching noise.
Harper Lee -- To Kill a Mockingbird
Does it fit into a larger, more hidden, metaphor?
Jay Asher -- Thirteen Reasons Why
Our friends were not poetical, and the sight suggested to them no metaphors of human destiny; they thought only of the wonderful efficiency of it all.
Upton Sinclair -- The Jungle
There was, of course, the matter of forty million people I picked up by the time the whole thing was finished, but that’s getting all metaphoric.
Markus Zusak -- The Book Thief
Are you telling me things I don’t know, or is this just in the nature of letting off steam—do forgive the mixed metaphor—on my shoulder?
Ayn Rand -- The Fountainhead
Or perhaps the meaning is more metaphorical: Did Paul and Silas reconcile the man’s doubts?
Barbara Kingsolver -- The Poisonwood Bible
Magdalene’s story has been shouted from the rooftops for centuries in all kinds of metaphors and languages.
Dan Brown -- The Da Vinci Code
Ford leaped to his rescue, hazarding "… counterpoint the surrealism of the underlying metaphor of the … er …" He floundered too, but Arthur was ready again.
Douglas Adams -- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Quincey’s head is level at times, but most so when there is to hunt, metaphor be more dishonour to science than wolves be of danger to man.
Bram Stoker -- Dracula
He draws his metaphors from the clouds, the seasons, the birds, the beasts, and the vegetable world.
James Fenimore Cooper -- The Last of the Mohicans
I mean no metaphor!
Edmond Rostand -- Cyrano de Bergerac
I don’t fully reject the customer-service model, but I think it’s important to use the right industry metaphor.
Randy Pausch -- The Last Lecture
Even if she wasn’t completely sure where Nana came up with her metaphors.
Nicholas Sparks -- The Lucky One
Arnold contended, only half jokingly, that the entire world was increasingly described by the metaphor of the theme park.