Information Metaphor Glossary

This is a collection of metaphors I’ve been compiling which are used to describe information, focused (for now) on two categories; information as light, and information as liquid. I’ll add to and reorder this list over time, and bring in additional categories as appropriate, but for now it’s supporting the work of the TENETS project.

John V Willshire, 13th December 2020

Information as light

Sight, and its object light, appear to be universal metaphors in human language for intellectual apprehension or activity and its objects

Dorothy Tarrant

It was an age of enlightenment

She has a sparkling imagination

They were desperately seeking illumination

We need some clarity

A flash of inspiration struck her

He had the spark of ingenuity

It was a real lightbulb moment

What lights you up inside?

There’s a wide spectrum of possibilities

She’s one of our brightest and best

What has been brought to light?

What does it look like in the cold light of day?

The fog is lifting

We don’t want to be in the dark on this one

He has a dark side to watch out for

It’s like living in the dark ages

Focus your attention

We need to zoom in

Let’s zoom out

View the problem through a different lens

Is this in scope?

How can we shed light on this issue?

Let’s shine a light on this

How do we frame this?

We’ve got that market in our sights

Let’s pause for reflection

Have we got a line of sight?

It’s now a bit clearer

Work such as theirs will help to elucidate this matter

This seems a bit obscure

His intentions are a little opaque

There’s a lack of transparency

This is a murky business

This is pure speculation

It’s in our peripheral vision

What’s the big picture?

In retrospect, it wasn’t such a good idea

We need to face facts

Can we see the best way forward now?

What’s our North Star to follow?

From her new vantage point, all seemed clearer

He had a different way of looking at the world

It was a glaring omission

It dawned on me

She brought a fresh perspective

Do you have a view on this?

They produced the key insight

Nobody could have known, in hindsight

She seemingly had a natural gift of foresight

There’s light at the end of the tunnel

What’s the outlook?

Have we had a recent forecast?

Information as liquid

How do we improve idea flow?

How do we cascade this information?

Let’s have a brain storm

We’re drowning in data

He has a permanent reservoir of ideas

We’ve got it all stored in the cloud

We’ve got a good pool of ideas

How do we get value from the data lake?

Let’s allocate this in different buckets

Let’s start channelling these thoughts

We’re at the mercy of the currents

The situation is quite fluid

Our thinking is a bit stagnant

I’m just trying to soak all this up

What’s happening below the surface?

We’re going against the tide

She’s surfing the internet

It’s a stream of consciousness

Her works are imbued with a sense of purpose

He has a thirst for knowledge

Data is the new oil

There’s a firehose of data

She’s the fountain of knowledge in this area

The news has started to leak out

Their investments are hidden in dark pools

The country is facing a brain drain

We’ve stored it all in a data lake

This problem is like an iceberg on the horizon

Under a cloud of suspicion

I don’t have the foggiest idea

Think tank (ht @beh_zod)