A simile is a rhetorical figure expressing comparison or likeness that directly compares two things through some connective word such as like, as, so, than, or a verb such as resembles. Although similes and metaphors are generally seen as interchangeable, similes acknowledge the imperfections and limitations of the comparative relationship to a greater extent than metaphors. Similes also hedge/protect the author against outrageous, incomplete, or unfair comparison. Generally, metaphor is the stronger and more encompassing of the two forms of rhetorical analogies.
- "Curley was flopping like a fish on a line."
- "The very mist on the Essex marshes was like a gauzy and radiant fabric."
- "Why, man, they both bestride the narrow world like a Colossus."
- "But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile."Charles Dickens, in the opening to A Christmas Carol.
- "Vincent is as strong as a lion"
A simile can explicitly provide the basis of a comparison or leave this basis implicit. In the implicit case the simile leaves the audience to determine for themselves which features of the target are being predicated. It may be a type of sentence that uses 'as' or 'like' to connect the words being compared.
- She is like a candy so sweet.
- He is like a refiner's fire.
- Her eyes twinkled like stars.
- He fights like a lion.
- He runs like a cheetah.
- She is fragrant like a rose.
- Gareth is like a lion when he gets angry.
- “For hope grew round me, like the twining vine,” (Coleridge - Dejection)
- "And the executioner went off like an arrow." -Alice in Wonderland
The use of 'as' makes the simile more explicit.
- She walks as gracefully as a cat.
- He was as hungry as a lion.
- He was as mean as a bull.
- That spider was as fat as an elephant.
- Cute as a kitten.
- As busy as a bee.
- As snug as a bug in a rug.
- Eyes as big as dinner plates.
Without 'like' or 'as'
Sometimes similes are submerged, used without using comparative words ('like' or 'as').
- "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? / Thou art more lovely and more temperate:" William Shakespeare, Sonnet 18
- "I'm happier than a tornado in a trailer park!" Mater, Cars
- "How this Herculean Roman does become / The carriage of his chafe." William Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra' Act I, sc. 3.
|For a list of words relating to similes, see the English similes category of words in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- "On Substantiation Through Transitive Relations" is an Arabic manuscript from 1805 by Sayf al-Din al-Amidi which discusses similes