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Analogy vs. Analogical: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Updated on October 9, 2023
Analogy is a similarity between like features of two things; Analogical is an adjective describing a form of reasoning or an expression involving analogy.

Key Differences

Analogy and Analogical, while closely related, serve different functions in language. An analogy is a figure of speech that establishes a relationship based on similarities between two concepts or ideas. It helps in conveying an idea, or an argument, with the help of an illustrative situation, drawing a comparison to make the concept more clear and understandable. Analogical, on the other hand, serves as an adjective to describe something that is analogous or similar to something else, often used to refer to a type of reasoning or argumentation based on analogy.
By creating an analogy, a person can imply that if two things (A and B) are alike in one way, they are alike in other ways as well. It helps to clarify, illustrate, or extrapolate unknown aspects of a concept based on the known aspects of another concept. The term analogical is used to characterize the relations of likeness or similarity between two objects or ideas, often denoting a form of logical inference or an illustrative comparison between two entities.
An analogy is more about the actual content, providing a way to convey ideas, clarify concepts, and understand the unknown, based on what is already known. It often uses a simple and concrete domain to describe a more complex and abstract domain. Analogical refers more to the form or method, defining the way in which two different things are compared or the reasoning that is used to compare them, rather than the content of the comparison itself.
While analogy serves as a powerful tool for explanation and understanding, especially when trying to explain complex subjects, analogical reasoning is a method used to solve problems, make decisions, and evaluate ideas. An analogy can be a written or spoken expression, whereas analogical is typically used to describe the nature of a comparison or the type of reasoning being used to make a logical argument.

Comparison Chart

Part of Speech



Establishes a relationship based on similarities
Describes a form of reasoning or expression involving analogy


Content, conveying ideas and clarifying concepts
Form or method, defining the way two different things are compared


Can be a written or spoken expression
Used to describe the nature of a comparison or the type of reasoning


Explanation and understanding of complex subjects
Solving problems, making decisions, and evaluating ideas

Analogy and Analogical Definitions


A relationship between words based on resemblance of their meanings.
He constructed a linguistic analogy to illustrate the word's origin.


Pertaining to or expressing analogy.
The analogical representation helped students understand the concept.


A comparison between two things for clarification.
The analogy between the heart and a pump made the function clear.


Involving a form of reasoning based on the perceived resemblance.
Analogical thinking is crucial for solving complex problems.


A symbolic representation of a correspondence between two sets.
The mathematician created an analogy between the two equations.


Similar or comparable in certain respects.
The systems are analogical in their hierarchical organization.


A form of reasoning aiming to understand one thing by likening it to another.
He explained the cell's function using an analogy to a factory.


Having analogy or expressing a correspondence.
The structure's design is analogical to a bee’s honeycomb.


A correspondence between two things based on structural similarity.
The teacher drew an analogy between the human brain and a computer.


Relating to the logical inference of similarities between two relations.
Analogical reasoning was used to draw a conclusion between the two cases.


A similarity in some respects between things that are otherwise dissimilar
Sees an analogy between viral infection and the spread of ideas.


Of, expressing, composed of, or based on an analogy
The analogical use of a metaphor.


A comparison based on such similarity
Made an analogy between love and a fever.


Of, pertaining to, based on, or composed of an analogy.


(Biology) Correspondence in function or position between organs of dissimilar evolutionary origin or structure.


Founded on, or of the nature of, analogy; expressing or implying analogy.
When a country which has sent out colonies is termed the mother country, the expression is analogical.


A form of reasoning based on the assumption that if two things are known to be alike in some respects, then they are probably alike in other respects.


Having analogy; analogous.


(Linguistics) The process by which words or morphemes are re-formed or created on the model of existing grammatical patterns in a language, often leading to greater regularity in paradigms, as evidenced by helped replacing holp and holpen as the past tense and past participle of help on the model of verbs such as yelp, yelped, yelped.


Expressing, composed of, or based on an analogy;
The analogical use of a metaphor


A relationship of resemblance or equivalence between two situations, people, or objects, especially when used as a basis for explanation or extrapolation.


(geometry) The proportion or the equality of ratios.


(grammar) The correspondence of a word or phrase with the genius of a language, as learned from the manner in which its words and phrases are ordinarily formed; similarity of derivative or inflectional processes.


A resemblance of relations; an agreement or likeness between things in some circumstances or effects, when the things are otherwise entirely different. Thus, learning enlightens the mind, because it is to the mind what light is to the eye, enabling it to discover things before hidden.


A relation or correspondence in function, between organs or parts which are decidedly different.


Proportion; equality of ratios.


Conformity of words to the genius, structure, or general rules of a language; similarity of origin, inflection, or principle of pronunciation, and the like, as opposed to anomaly.


An inference that if things agree in some respects they probably agree in others


Drawing a comparison in order to show a similarity in some respect;
The operation of a computer presents and interesting analogy to the working of the brain
The models show by analogy how matter is built up


The religious belief that between creature and creator no similarity can be found so great but that the dissimilarity is always greater; language can point in the right direction but any analogy between God and humans will always be inadequate


Is an analogy always explicit?

No, some analogies are implicit, requiring interpretation.

Is an analogy different from a metaphor?

Yes, while both draw comparisons, metaphors imply direct equivalence, whereas analogies highlight resemblances.

Can analogies be used in everyday language?

Yes, analogies are often used to clarify ideas in everyday conversation.

Is analogical synonymous with comparative?

Not exactly, while both relate to making comparisons, analogical specifically involves comparisons based on analogy.

Can analogical reasoning be flawed?

Yes, if the compared entities have significant differences, analogical reasoning can be misleading.

Is analogical used to describe relationships?

Yes, it describes relationships based on analogy or resemblance.

Can an analogy be visual?

Yes, visual analogies compare visual elements or structures.

Is analogical structure based on specific or general similarities?

It can be based on either specific resemblances or a general likeness.

Does creating an analogy require creativity?

Yes, forming meaningful analogies often involves creative thinking.

Are all analogies educative?

No, while many serve to educate, some may be used for humor or other purposes.

Is analogical reasoning common in scientific research?

Yes, it's often used to hypothesize about unobserved phenomena based on observed similarities.

Can analogies be harmful?

If misused or based on flawed logic, they can lead to misunderstandings and misinformation.

Can analogical comparisons be quantitative?

Yes, they can compare quantities or degrees of similarity.

Can analogies be between dissimilar things?

They often compare seemingly dissimilar things based on a shared feature or relationship.

Does analogical apply to only visual representations?

No, it applies to any form of representation or reasoning involving analogy.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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