Metaphors Dictionary

The Metaphors Dictionary is a platform that translate common cultural analogies into their literal meaning via text and images. Focused on enabling people with autism the ability to expand their vocabulary.


Metaphors are reported as one of the most confusing thing for autistic kids (and In my opinion for a foreigner adult too). I wanted to create the metaphor dictionary so people can quickly and easily understand some of these terms. if you think about it how can someone know that when you say “she was on a roller coaster of emotions” you mean that she had a lot of ups and downs, when encountering the term for the first time. if you look at any of these terms, I’m sure you’ll start seeing where it could get confusing, specially for people who tend to think in a very visual way.

The snow is a white blanket  – should I use it for cover?.
Maria is a chicken – are we going to have her for dinner?.
At five o’clock, the interstate was a parking lot – they used the interstate to park cars.
Jamal was a pig at dinner – Jamal became a pig?.
My big brother is a couch potato – what is a couch potato, a potato that been left on the couch?.
Feeling blue – you must ate something that got you sick?.
Time is a thief – Time stills things from us?.
He is the apple of my eye – what, you have an apple in your eye?.

What really is really interesting about the metaphors dictionary, is that the ability of computer to understand these terms is similar or even less from autistic people. any natural language processing expert will tell you that while there are many ways to tokenize words and for computer to get a general idea of a sentence, but a metaphor from any of these kind can become very confusing. therefor the idea behind the metaphor dictionary  isn’t just to build a website, but a database of metaphors and their meaning for a computer to understand as well. so when a computer reads a sentence like “My big brother is a couch potato” they’ll know to identify the term “couch potato” with laziness.  

Visual thinking 

One of the key elements in the metaphors dictionary is to provide an actual visual translation to support the real meaning of the term, while if someone encountering the term “night owl” they will most likely think about the owl as an animal,  with images – even if they include a real owl (or a carton) it is easier to create association with the situation we describe.