A simile () is a figure of speech that directly ''compares'' two things. Similes differ from other metaphors by highlighting the similarities between two things using comparison words such as "like", "as", "so", or "than", while other metaphors create an implicit comparison (i.e. saying something "''is''" something else). This distinction is evident in the etymology of the words: simile derives from the Latin word ''similis'' ("similar, like"), while metaphor derives from the Greek word ''metapherein'' ("to transfer"). Like in the case of metaphors, the thing that is being compared is called the tenor, and the thing it is being compared to is called the vehicle. Author and lexicographer Frank J. Wilstach compiled a dictionary of similes in 1916, with a second edition in 1924.


In literature

* "O My like a red, red rose." " A Red, Red Rose," by Robert Burns. * John Milton, ''
Paradise Lost ''Paradise Lost'' is an epic poem in blank verse by the 17th-century English poet John Milton (1608–1674). The first version, published in 1667, consists of ten books with over ten thousand lines of verse (poetry), verse. A second edition fo ...
'', a Homeric simile:
::As when a prowling Wolf, ::Whom hunger drives to seek new haunt for prey, ::Watching where Shepherds pen their Flocks at eve ::In hurdl'd Cotes amid the field secure, ::Leaps o'er the fence with ease into the Fold: ::. . . . . . . ::So clomb this first grand Thief into God's Fold
William Shakespeare William Shakespeare ( 26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English playwright, poet and actor. He is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's nation ...
, '' The Merchant of Venice'':
::How far that little candle throws his beams! ::So shines a good deed in a naughty world.

In comedy

Similes are used extensively in British comedy, notably in the slapstick era of the 1960s and 1970s. In comedy, the simile is often used in negative style: "he was as daft as a brush." They are also used in comedic context where a sensitive subject is broached, and the comedian will test the audience with response to subtle implicit simile before going deeper. The sitcom '' Blackadder'' featured the use of extended similes, normally said by the title character. For example: ::Baldrick: I have a plan, sir. ::Blackadder: Really, Baldrick? A cunning and subtle one? ::Baldrick: Yes, sir. ::Blackadder: As cunning as a fox who's just been appointed Professor of Cunning at Oxford University?

In business

::Business opportunities are like buses, there's always another one coming. * Richard Branson

In languages other than English

Given that similes emphasize affinities between different objects, they occur in many cultures and languages.


Sayf al-Din al-Amidi discussed Arabic similes in 1805
"On Substantiation Through Transitive Relations"


Thuy Nga Nguyen and Ghil'ad Zuckermann (2012) classify Vietnamese similes into two types: Meaning Similes and Rhyming Similes. The following is an example: Whereas the above Vietnamese example is of a rhyming simile, the English simile "(as) poor as a church mouse" is only a semantic simile.See p. 98 in Thuy Nga Nguyen and Ghil'ad Zuckermann (2012), "Stupid as a Coin: Meaning and Rhyming Similes in Vietnamese", ''International Journal of Language Studies'' 6 (4), pp. 97-118.


In telugu, simile is known as upamaalankaaramu ( ఉపమాలంకారము). Based on the components of the sentence in which the comparison is made, they are classified into complete (పూర్ణోపమాలంకారము- puurnopamaalankaaramu) and incomplete ( లుప్తోపమాలంకారము- lupthopamaalankaaramu) similes. The classic example of a complete simile is: ఆమె ముఖము చంద్రబింబము వలెనున్నది (Her face looks like a moon).

See also

* Alliteration * Analogy * Description * Figure of speech * Homeric simile * Hyperbole * Hypocatastasis * Like (as a preposition used in comparisons) * Metaphor * Metonymy * Personification * Phono-semantic matching * Tautology (language) * Simile aria



External Links

Examples of Simile in Literature
Rhetorical techniques Figures of speech Narrative techniques Descriptive technique Comparisons