Encyclopedia of Gerontology and Population Aging

Living Edition
| Editors: Danan Gu, Matthew E. Dupre

Dementia as Cultural Metaphor

  • Hannah ZeiligEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-69892-2_263-1


The word metaphor comes from the Greek metaphora and refers to a set of linguistic processes whereby aspects of one object are carried over or transferred to another object. In a metaphor, there is a sense of relationship created between two objects or concepts. The etymological origins of the word indicate the connection that “metaphor” has to speech and also to thought. A metaphor works by making implicit comparison between two unlike things; thus, what is unfamiliar is described by something that is familiar. Thus, metaphors can render emotions and concepts, like love, tangible; they are often visual in nature. The importance of metaphor for poetry or indeed most artistic endeavor is undeniable, and the complex role that metaphors play within our culture has also been acknowledged (Ricoeur 1977).

The word “dementia” comes from the Latin de mentis– out of the mind. It was used before the eighteenth century and seems to have come into recognized usage sometime after 1670...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.London College of FashionUniversity of the Arts, London (UAL)LondonUK
  2. 2.University of East AngliaNorwichUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Sarah Falcus
    • 1
  1. 1.University of HuddersfieldHuddersfieldUK