This paper discusses two problems in metaphor identification in knowledge management. It does so against the background of a sketch of the most important issues in linguistic metaphor research in relation to language, cognition and communication. This produces a background for the body of the paper, in which two issues are addressed: (1) What counts as a metaphor in language, including language about knowledge? (2) What counts as a metaphor in thought, including thought about knowledge? The answers to these questions capture some of the latest discussions in linguistic metaphor research, which can help increase the quality of further research on metaphor in knowledge management. © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.