Research into figurative language in foreign language acquisition has primarily focused on the receptive skills, where there is strong evidence to suggest that encouraging students to reflect on the metaphorical origins of figurative expressions makes learning and recall of vocabulary demonstrably more effective. However, very little has been said about the effects of this strategy on students’ productive output. With some advanced learners’ dictionaries now also including information about conceptual metaphor, it is important that the utility of this feature be examined in more detail. This paper examines different types of figurative language produced by advanced learners of English at an Italian university. It highlights the extent to which conceptual meaning is dependent on collocation and phraseology, and suggests how this can be treated more effectively in monolingual and bilingual dictionaries.