Definition of analogy in English:



  • 1A comparison between one thing and another, typically for the purpose of explanation or clarification:

    ‘an analogy between the workings of nature and those of human societies’
    [mass noun] ‘he interprets logical functions by analogy with machines’
    • ‘Between the taboo of ‘eating the dead’ and that of eating domestic animals, the analogy between relatives and animals is clear.’
    • ‘A friend of mine takes the moral analogy between the aftermath of the Civil War and the current situation in Iraq one step further.’
    • ‘One might draw an analogy between Johnson's approach and President Bush's reliance on faith-based initiatives.’
    • ‘The steering wheel isn't the only possible basis for Cowan's analogy.’
    • ‘By analogy with the rock and the feather, think of a heavy warhead and a very light balloon that is inflated in the shape of a warhead; they would also travel along together in space.’
    • ‘So what are we doing here; drawing an analogy between the power-law curve of small-campaign news coverage and of small-weblog traffic?’
    • ‘In other words, the roller-coaster analogy is limited, and these limitations may weaken Pinedo's account.’
    • ‘Victor Davis Hanson makes an analogy between where we are now and where Lincoln was in 1864, as his first presidential term was ending.’
    • ‘Even so, a rough analogy between the two periods is possible.’
    • ‘Coleman drew an analogy between Cheney and my favorite historical figure, Ulysses Grant.’
    • ‘There is a limited analogy between the relation of theology to religious discourse and the relation of logic to language.’
    • ‘The left is always throwing that word around and, like the Bush / Hitler analogy, it really shows an ignorance of history.’
    • ‘He was always falling in love, and I want to see an analogy between his falling in love so desperately, so intensely, and his fascination with tigers.’
    • ‘Another illustration that he gives is an analogy between words and pieces in a chess game.’
    • ‘To the extent that there is any analogy between Moveon and anything that happened half a century ago, the analogy should be to organized labor more generally.’
    • ‘It is little wonder that this week, some Bulgarians began to quip about the analogy between the game and the challenges lying ahead of the Stanishev Cabinet.’
    • ‘The analogy between Russia on the eve of the Bolshevik Revolution and the 1997/98 situation was also popular with many political scientists.’
    • ‘However, I'm also reminded of an analogy between blogs and old-style soapbox speakers in City parks.’
    • ‘The analogy between outlawing gay marriage and interracial marriage won't withstand scrutiny.’
    • ‘With the aforementioned reasons, the analogy between Aceh and the southern provinces of Thailand is way off the mark and not based on complete facts.’
    1. 1.1 A correspondence or partial similarity:
      ‘the syndrome is called deep dysgraphia because of its analogy to deep dyslexia’
      • ‘But the analogy to the price system is badly strained.’
      • ‘He pointed out the analogy between algebraic symbols and those that represent logical forms.’
      • ‘If there is any likeness at all between the machine and its embodied precursor, the closest analogy to that relationship might be between adults and the babies they once were.’
      • ‘The analogy to the late Carter administration is quite apt.’
      • ‘Perhaps the progression of colour throughout the film could serve as an analogy to the growth of Hughes' own achievements, alongside the escalation of his mental illness.’
      • ‘I think the closer analogy to me, just perhaps because I was there, was Lebanon, where the Americans were greeted with open arms.’
      • ‘How can Kerry possibly see an analogy to terrorism?’
      • ‘I would draw an analogy to the 8th Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishments.’
      • ‘I fail to see the analogy between banning a behavior that is being repressed by violence and banning a behavior that is being enforced by violence.’
      • ‘That is, is there an analogy between the Lebanese Christians, who went from a majority to only 40 percent during the past century, and the Jews in Israel?’
      • ‘And that is the closer analogy to what's happening in Iraq.’
      • ‘The proper analogy to many blogs is opinion magazines.’
      • ‘If there is an analogy between our own age and the Restoration it is perhaps that for us what has been ‘restored’ is capitalist Liberal Democracy.’
      • ‘Incidentally, while this naturally brings up an analogy to the constitutional right to an abortion, the analogy is complex.’
      • ‘The analogy to the McFarlane case is, admittedly, not exact.’
      • ‘By letting British activists rather than Palestinians take the lead, they weakened the analogy to South Africa, their supposed inspiration.’
      • ‘Can you see an analogy to the events of September 11?’
      • ‘In fact - as a percentage of the population - there's basically a direct analogy between the number of gay tax-payers and the number of gay students.’
      • ‘Yet there's a striking analogy between Smith and the man who is possibly the world's most influential CEO, Warren Buffett.’
      • ‘The analogy to Gaiman isn't perfect, of course.’
      link, relationship, relation, relatedness, interrelation, interrelatedness, interconnection, interdependence, association, attachment, bond, tie, tie-in, correspondence, parallel
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    2. 1.2 A thing which is comparable to something else in significant respects:
      ‘works of art were seen as an analogy for works of nature’
      • ‘But is preventive medicine really the proper analogy to contraception?’
      • ‘But for a closer analogy to the DFD situation, we have to move overseas.’
      • ‘The game of chess is not a good analogy for protein sequences.’
      • ‘It now occurs to me that the best analogy for Google hits as a measurement term is not hertz or joules or pascals, but degrees Celsius.’
      • ‘The copy machine is an analogy for the process of transcription.’
      • ‘The synoptic view of the value of one's moral life has rarely found a more striking analogy.’
      • ‘Perhaps an even better analogy than the math one - computer programming.’
      • ‘The artist, in other words, creates by analogy with God, not through copying God's creation.’
      • ‘The problem with standardized tests is that they do not measure a student's willingness to do work and to succeed, and this makes a timed test a poor analogy to life.’
      • ‘The real analogy behind natural selection is the work of the natural historian.’
      • ‘Crimes not specifically identified in the Sharia are defined on the basis of analogy and often are punished by prison sentences.’
      • ‘My apartment is an analogy for my mind.’
      • ‘But Germany and Japan make poor analogies with respect to the contemporary Middle East.’
      • ‘If the virtue of a function is to perform it well, the analogy of ‘rational activity’ makes clear that there is a plurality of virtues.’
      • ‘Husserl insists that the talk of intuition here is no mere analogy.’
      • ‘I'm not sure, either, that genre in music is a good analogy, especially when talking about literature, which… well… has genres, too.’
      • ‘There is also Plato's idea of the state as an analogy for the soul.’
    3. 1.3Logic [mass noun] A process of arguing from similarity in known respects to similarity in other respects:
      ‘argument from analogy’
      • ‘This is the source of scepticism about other minds: how, given that the argument from analogy does not work, can I claim to be justified in believing that there are any minds other than my own in the universe?’
      • ‘As a law professor, I help train people to argue from analogy and to distinguish among different cases.’
      • ‘I see about me living human beings, and the argument from analogy is supposed to allow me to infer that these are persons like myself.’
      • ‘If they are going to argue from analogy, then human's design things which are less complicated than themselves.’
      • ‘Attributing mental states to other people seems to depend on a shaky argument from analogy only because we are tempted to suppose that such states are directly accessible only to the person whose states they are.’
      similarity, parallel, parallelism, correspondence, likeness, resemblance, correlation, relation, kinship, equivalence, similitude, symmetry, homology
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    4. 1.4Linguistics [mass noun] A process by which new words and inflections are created on the basis of regularities in the form of existing ones.
      • ‘Another source of change in pronoun systems is analogy of various kinds.’
      • ‘Processes of analogy have created coinages like petrodollar, psycho-warfare, microwave on such models as petrochemical, psychology, microscope.’
      • ‘They are created in accordance with a schema - by analogy, as it were, with existing forms.’
      • ‘Far from being proof of children's linguistic inadequacy, analogy is a demonstration of their mastery of the core rules of English morphology.’
      • ‘I suspect that the band Phish may have been inspired to use the same f to ph substitution by the same analogy, but I haven't been able to confirm this.’
    5. 1.5Biology [mass noun] The resemblance of function between organs that have a different evolutionary origin.
      • ‘From his vaguely defined methodological stance, Snooks criticizes Darwin's use of analogy.’
      • ‘In drawing this analogy Darwin goes beyond denying the simultaneous creation of all species and calls into question the idea of classification as a whole.’
      • ‘Finally, I think that Wright, who has written a good deal about evolution, is missing a basic evolutionary analogy.’
      • ‘Abp1 (and by analogy cortactin) also might function to attenuate stronger NPFs in vivo.’
      • ‘Indeed, if Darwin's analogy proves anything, it shows the need for intelligent intervention to produce new life forms.’


Late Middle English (in the sense ‘appropriateness, correspondence’): from French analogie, Latin analogia proportion, from Greek, from analogos proportionate.