Historic metaphors

The Beijing Olympics have been described as China’s “moon landing.”
A crushing defeat is referred to as a “waterloo.”
And of course many scandals have been called a “. . . -gate.”
And I imagine some future terrorist attack may be described as “another 9/11.”

What other historical events have become (or may become) common metaphors? I don’t mean events that are known by already-existing words (like the Depression or the Holocaust), but where the events themselves have become metaphors.

Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra.


I’ve heard traitors referred to as Benedict Arnolds.

And Quislings.

Witch hunts and the Spanish Inquisition.

Good one. I forgot about that.

“Crossing the Rubicon” was always one of my favorites.

Didn’t expect that.

pyrrhic victories

[Hijack] What are they going to call it when the Chinese actually land on the moon in 2020? [/Hijack]

A fake, of course. Nobody can make it to the moon. They’ll make a movie about the hoax called Rat One.
“Trojan Horse” seems very popular these days. I just cleared three from my computer.

Unless they can do it three years early. Then the movie will be Cock One.

Pearl Harbor and Munich are two common ones.

NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquistion. The one main thing about the Spanish Inquisition is surprise…and terror… TWO things about the …

“Going down like the Titanic.”

In the same vein as “witch hunts,” the term “McCarthyism” is often used to describe threats to freedom of thought and speech.

There are a lot of love-based ones from famous couples. I guess they’re mostly similes: “like Antony and Cleopatra,” for example.

Stalingrad has become synonymous with brutal urban warfare, as we saw in commentaries during the invasion of Iraq.

As well as the related “like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic” used to describe actions pointless in the face of disaster.

I thought it was “going down like Paris Hilton.” :smiley:

“Donnybrook” was in use at one time. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/donnybrook