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For other uses, see Simile (disambiguation).

A simile is a rhetorical figure expressing comparison or likeness that directly compares two objects 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.


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]