This ‘Metaphor in the Curriculum’ (MetaphorIC) website contains teaching materials, metaphor quizzes and a version of the Metaphor Map, which gives an overview of metaphor across the whole of the English language. The website can be used alongside the MetaphorIC app, which is available for Android at Google Play and for Apple at the App Store. The app can be used offline and has all the features of the website other than the downloadable teaching materials.

The teaching materials were designed, with advice from teachers and other educational professionals, for secondary school teachers to use with their classes, in order to help pupils to identify and understand metaphor in English. They are intended to help users to recognise and understand the mental connections that are being made when we use metaphors, to identify the area of meaning that the metaphor has come from, and the area of meaning to which vocabulary has been transferred (e.g. ‘a bright child’ uses the word bright, which has been transferred from the area of LIGHT into the area of INTELLIGENCE). The materials have wider applications beyond schools – the creative writing exercises can spark off ideas in writers of any age and the introductory and non-fiction exercises show how to unpick the ways in which we are prompted, by language, to view the world around us.

The Metaphor Map of English shows the metaphorical links which have been identified between different areas of meaning. These links can be from the seventh century period right up to the present day so the map covers 1300 years of the English language. This allows us to track metaphorical ways of thinking and expressing ourselves over more than a millennium.

Metaphor in the Curriculum is a follow-on to the Mapping Metaphor with the Historical Thesaurus project. Both projects were completed by a team in English Language at the University of Glasgow and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The Metaphor Map is based on the Historical Thesaurus of English, which was published in 2009 by Oxford University Press as the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary.

Background images sourced from

Project Team
Principal Investigator: Dr Wendy Anderson
Researchers: Dr Ellen Bramwell and Dr Rachael Hamilton
Website and app developer: Brian Aitken
Project Assistant: Heather Valentine

With thanks to Victoria Shropshire for additional materials on creative writing, to Prof. James McGonigal for his comments on early drafts of materials, to the teachers and pupils of Beaconhurst School and Notre Dame High School, to David Byrne of Glasgow City Council, and to everyone else who has helped us during the project.