Yesterday I talked about metaphors that literally referred to themselves. Alas, in the spirit of humor, I cheated a bit. Most of my examples were truly autophorical, but one was faking it.
Or as Sally might put it, it’s only autophorical if X=“X”.
For example, the following was legit:
“I went out on a limb to rescue your cat from that tree.”
because the speaker really did go out on a limb, both literally and metaphorically.
In fact, my first five examples were all properly autophorical. But the last one wasn’t really kosher:
“The editor cut my novel to five pages, to make a long story short.”
The problem here is that the speaker is not using the idiom “to make a long story short”, to talk about the meaning of the sentence (what the editor did), but rather to reference his/her own statement.
In fact this last example is kind of a cousin to Tom Swifties, which depend on a more traditional idea of punning:
“I have a skin infection,” Tom said rashly.