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For other uses, see Simile (disambiguation).

A simile (/ˈsɪməli/) is a rhetorical figure expressing comparison or likeness that directly compares two objects through some connective word such as like, as, so, than, or many other verbs 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.


In literature[edit]

  • "Curley was flopping like a fish on a line."[1] Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
  • "The very mist on the Essex marshes was like a gauzy and radiant fabric."[2]
  • "Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world like a Colossus."[3]
  • "But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile." Charles Dickens, in the opening to A Christmas Carol.

Using "like"[edit]

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 sweet like candy.
  • 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 bear when he gets angry.
  • "For hope grew round me, like the twining vine" (Coleridge - Dejection)
  • "And the executioner went off like an arrow."[4] Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll

Using "as"[edit]

The use of "as" makes the simile more explicit.

  • This is as pretty as Cinderella.
  • He runs as fast as lightning.
  • 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.
  • She has a face as pretty as an angel.

The song Everything at Once by Lenka is also notable for the use of 18 similes with "as" in every verse.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Steinbeck, John (1937), Of Mice and Men, Sprangler, ISBN 0-14-017739-6 .
  2. ^ Heart of Darknes = Conrad, Blackwood's Magazine, 1902 .
  3. ^ {{citation|title = [[Julius Caesar (play)|Julius Caesar] Act I Scene II]|first = William|last == William Shakespeare|year = 1623}}.
  4. ^ Carroll, Lewis (1865), Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Macmillan .
  5. ^

External links[edit]