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.

What is a simile

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.

Simile examples

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

Simile examples

Simile sentences

Examples sentences with similes using "like":

  1. After stepping barefoot on the black pavement, he moved like a lizard on hot sand.
  2. Once he stretched out the new shoes, they fit like a glove.
  3. Sleeping on the new bed felt like sleeping on a bed of rocks.

Examples sentences with similes "as":

  1. Even though the child tried sneaking downstairs, she was as noisy as a bowling alley.
  2. When she found out her dad was home, she ran as fast as a cheetah to greet him.
  3. 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:

Famous examples of similes in literature
Literature Simile Comparison
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.

An 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 found 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."

Difference between similes and metaphors

  • Metaphor: The ballerina was a swan, gliding across the stage.
  • Simile: The ballerina was like a swan, gliding across the stage.

Learn more about the difference between a metaphor, simile, and analogy.

What you learned:

After working your way through this lesson and video, you have learned:

  • What a simile is
  • Examples of similes in literature and poems
  • How similes differe from metaphors
Instructor: Malcolm M.
Malcolm has a Master's Degree in education and holds four teaching certificates. He has been a public school teacher for 27 years, including 15 years as a mathematics teacher.

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