The human body


Metaphier and metaphrand

Jaynes described a metaphor as comprising of two parts. The metaphrand is the thing to be described or understood, and the metaphier is the more familiar thing with which it is compared. The human body is a very common metaphier; we speak of the head of a table, the foot of a mountain, the face and hands of a clock, and the mouth of a river.



Our oldest daughter had a barking cough last night, and her mother (the ICU nurse) immediately recognized it as false croup. Always thought it was weird to call it “false”, so I looked it up (after the coughing stopped).

According to Wikipedia, the early modern English verb to “croup” means “to cry hoarsely”. “Real” croup is caused by a diphtheria infection. False, or viral, croup produces a similar cough, but is not diphtheric, so the French called it “faux-croup” to tell them apart, and then the “false” bit just carried over with translation.