Useful Discussion on 'Simile'


Etymological Meaning

The word simile is from Latin origin (‘similis’) meaning ‘likeness’.


A Simile is a figure of speech in which an explicit comparison is made between two unallied or different things or ideas.

Some Salient Features of Simile

1) A comparison is made.

2) The comparison is made between two unlike or dissimilar objects.

3)The point of comparison is expressed or stated clearly.

4)There must have the use of word of comparison, ‘like’, ‘as’.

Some Common Examples

Use of ‘As’
as blind as a bat
completely blind
as cold as ice
very cold
as flat as a pancake
completely flat
as gentle as a lamb
very gentle
as light as a feather
very light
as old as the hills
very old
as sharp as a knife
very sharp
as strong as a bull
very strong
as white as snow
pure white
as wise as an owl
very wise
as slow as a snail
as cool as cucumber

Use of ‘Like’

like a rose
like a volcano
like garbage
like an animal
like spaghetti
like dewdrops
sweet and pure
like gold dust
like a tip
very untidy (tip = garbage dump

Literary Examples

1) Life is as tedious as a twice-told-tale.                              - Shakespeare


This is an example of figure based on similarity more specifically simile in which an open and explicit comparison is made between two unallied elements- ‘life’ and ‘tale’. The point of comparison is clear- ‘tediousness’. This is clearly shown by ‘as’.

2) “Glory is like a circle in water,

    Which never ceaseth to enlarge itself,

    Till by broad spreading , it disperses to nought.”                    – Shakespeare

3) “Drive my dead thoughts over the universe like withered leaves to quicken a new birth.”   - Shelley

4) “O my love’s like a red, red rose.”                                         - Burns

5) “The soul is like a star that dwelt apart.”              - Wordsworth

Popular songs, too, make use of simile

  • A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle - U2
  • Cheaper than a hot dog with no mustard - Beastie Boys
  • I must do what's right, as sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti - Toto
  • It's been a hard day's night, and I've been working like a dog - The Beatles
  • Like A Rolling Stone - Bob Dylan
  • Like a bat outta [out of] hell - Meat Loaf
  • My heart is like an open highway - Jon Bon Jovi
  • These are the seasons of emotion and like the winds they rise and fall - Led Zeppelin
  • Thick as a Brick - Jethro Tull
  • You are as subtle as a brick to the small of my back - Taking Back Sunday
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