Similes — Definition and Examples
What is a simile?
A simile is a figure of speech that compares two things using "like" or "as." The compared items are different enough that a literal connection is unlikely. Similes are one of the most common forms of figurative language and are used to make writing more imaginative and memorable.
Consider the following simile:
He is as strong as an ox.
While a person and an ox can both be strong, there is no literal similarity between the two. However, it paints a picture of the strength of the individual.
Some famous and popular examples of common similes used in everyday speech include the following:
American as apple pie
Dry as a bone
Fit as a fiddle
Slow as molasses
Blind as a bat
Cool as a cucumber
Quick as lightning
Growing like a weed
Cold as ice
Life is like a box of chocolates
Sharp as a tack
Snug as a bug in a rug
Examples sentences with similes using "like":
After stepping barefoot on the black pavement, he moved like a lizard on hot sand.
Once he stretched out the new shoes, they fit like a glove.
Sleeping on the new bed felt like sleeping on a bed of rocks.
Examples sentences with similes "as":
Even though the child tried sneaking downstairs, she was as noisy as a bowling alley.
When she found out her dad was home, she ran as fast as a cheetah to greet him.
The worker was as busy as a bee trying to finish his work before the weekend.
Simile examples in literature
Due to their role in helping create a mental image, readers can find examples of similes in many major literary works:
|Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare||“Is love a tender thing? It is too rough, / too rude, too boisterous, and it pricks like / thorn.”||Love to a thorn|
|A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens||"Old Marley was dead as a doornail."||Marley to a doornail|
|To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee||"The Radley Place fascinated Dill. In spite of our warnings and explanations it drew him as the moon draws water, but drew him no nearer than the light-pole on the corner, a safe distance from the Radley gate."||Dill's fascination to the moon drawing water (tide)|
Simile poem examples
Many poets use similes to add imagery and depth without increasing length.
A famous simile example is found in the poem "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" by Jan Taylor. In this poem, the star is said to be "...like a diamond in the sky," comparing the star to a diamond.
Another example is in "A Red, Red Rose" by Robert Burns. The line "O my Luve is like a read, red rose" is an obvious simile comparing his love to a red rose.
Simile and Metaphor
Simile and metaphors are similar. A metaphor is a literary device authors use either to make a direct comparison between two objects, ideas, or actions or to imply a similarity between the two. While a simile also provides a comparison, it uses the words "like" or "as."
Metaphor: The ballerina was a swan, gliding across the stage.
Simile: The ballerina was like a swan, gliding across the stage.