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The subject to which a metaphorical expression is applied. In a metaphor like the ship of state, the state is the tenor, while the metaphorical term ship is called the ‘vehicle’. This distinction between tenor and vehicle was formulated by the critic I. A. Richards in The Philosophy of Rhetoric (1936), where he argues that the total meaning of a metaphor is the product of a complex interaction between them.

Subjects: Literature.

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