Welcome to the VU Amsterdam Metaphor Corpus Online!



  1. largest available corpus hand-annotated for all metaphorical language use, regardless of lexical field or source domain

  2. based on a systematic and explicit metaphor identification protocol – MIPVU

  3. covers about 190,000 lexical units from a subset of four broad registers from the BNC-Baby: academic texts, conversation, fiction, and news texts

  4. annotated for the following relations to metaphor: indirect metaphor, direct metaphor, implicit metaphor, borderline cases

  5. annotated for personification and metaphor signals

  6. Click here for details on the kinds of metaphor annotations in this corpus.

  7. Click here for background information on the annotated corpus.

For whom?

This online corpus is targeted at researchers as well as graduate students interested in metaphor annotation, metaphor variation across registers, and those exploring forms and functions of metaphors in authentic data.


A search tool allows you to explore metaphorical language use in the four registers of academic texts, news texts, fiction, and conversation through simple search forms.

You will be able to generate a tabular overview and raw counts as well as concordances for a range of different types of metaphorical language use as well as for metaphor signals and conceptual mappings of personification.


The corpus has been coded for metaphor by Gerard Steen, Lettie Dorst, Berenike Herrmann, Anna Kaal and Tina Krennmayr. It has been published as a downloadable XML file with OTA.

The annotation manual and a detailed documentation of the project have been published in Steen, G.J., Dorst, A.G., Herrmann, J.B., Kaal, A.A., Krennmayr, T. & Pasma, T. (2010). A method for linguistic metaphor identification. From MIP to MIPVU. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

The freely available online search tool and website have been created in the Metaphor Lab at The Faculty of Arts of VU University Amsterdam by Onno Huber and Tina Krennmayr.

Steen, G.J., Dorst A.G., Herrmann, J.B., Kaal, A.A., Krennmayr, T., Pasma, T. (2010). A method for linguistic metaphor identification. From MIP to MIPVU. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Referencing the corpus

If you use the Amsterdam Metaphor Corpus Online for your work, please name the following reference:

Funding body

Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO)