Green Chameleon, Unsplash
Similes are one of the more popular elements of figurative language, ones we use in both our writing and everyday speech. If you’ve ever compared someone to something else, you’ve probably used a simile — whether you thought your strong roommate was like a lion or your child’s smile was as bright as the sun.
Similes are a great way to highlight a person’s, place’s, or thing’s characteristics and draw similarities to something else. They bring vivid descriptions to our speech and writing and provide a more exciting way of comparison.
A simile is a figure of speech and literary device that compares two things. It functions to draw connections and similarities between two conventionally different things. A simile is unique in its phrasing; all similes use either the term “like” or “as” in their comparison.
Something is either considered “like” something else — the roommate was “like” a lion — or something is considered “as” big, smart, exciting, or whatever adjective “as” something else —the smile was “as” bright “as” the sun.
Because similes and metaphors are both used for comparison, they’re often confused. Yet while they both function to compare distinct items, the function of their comparison is different. Similes use the words “like” and “as” to compare; metaphors do not.
Instead, metaphors make direct comparisons by saying that one thing is literally something else. If you’re using a metaphor, you might say something like, “my life is an open book” or “he is a shining star.”
1. “The very mystery of him excited her curiosity like a door that had neither lock or key.” –“Gone with the Wind” by Margaret Mitchell
2. “The café was like a battleship stripped for action” – “The Sun Also Rises” by Ernest Hemingway
3. “The late afternoon sky bloomed in the window for a moment like the blue honey of the Mediterranean” – “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald
4. “His face was deathly pale, and the lines of it were like hard wires” – “Dracula” by Bram Stoker
5. “I had no choice but to hobble like an off-balance giraffe one my one flat, one four-inch heel arrangement” – “The Devil Wears Prada” by Lauren Weisberger
6. “She tried to get rid of the kitchen which has scrambled up her back and stuck like a burr just out of reach” – “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott
7. “Holmes’s eyes, as he gazed at him, contracted and lightened until they were two menacing points of steel” – “The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
8. “Is love a tender thing? It is too rough, too rude, too boisterous, and it pricks like thorn” – “Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare
9. “The unhappy Hoo was as impotent as he was damp, and he fell forward like a cut flower” – “Peter Pan” by J.M. Barrie
10. “A hot wind was blowing around my head, the strands of my hair lifting and swirling in it, like ink spilled in water” – “The Blind Assassin” by Margaret Atwood
11. “I was choking in the crowd / Living my brain up in the cloud / Falling like ashes to the ground” – “Believer” by Imagine Dragons
12. “I don’t sweat it on the mic / ‘Cause I’m cool as ice” – Vanilla Ice by“Cool as Ice (Everybody Get Loose)
13. “Just like a moth drawn to a flame / Oh, you lured me in, I couldn’t sense the pain” – “Stiches” by Shawn Mendes
14. “Somethin’ ‘bout you makes me feel like a dangerous woman” – “Dangerous Woman” by Ariana Grande
15. “No one can be just like me any way / Just like magic, I’ll be flying free” – “Just Like Fire” by Pink
16. “Ex’s and the oh, oh, oh’s they haunt me / Like ghosts they want me” – “Ex’s & Oh’s” by Elle King
17. “Yo, I’ll be be back at 11, you just act like a peasant” – “Get on Your Knees,” Nicki Minaji and Ariana Grande
18. “But lately, her ace seems slowly sinking, wasting, crumbling like pastries” – Ed Sheeran, “The A Team”
19. “We’re just simple like a six string / The way this world was meant to be” – “Simple” by Florida Georgia Line
20. “I’m just like my country / I’m young, scrappy and hungry” – “My Shot,” from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton”
21. Fighting like cats and dogs
22. As cute as a kitten
23. As strong as an ox
24. As happy as a clam
25. Slept like a log
26. Cheeks as bright as roses
27. As cool as a cucumber
28. Fits like a glove
29. As tall as a giraffe
30. As white as a ghost
31. As innocent as a lamb
32. Love as deep as the ocean
33. As quiet as a mouse
34. Working like a dog
35. Sharp as a tack
Similes are a great way to compare two things with vivid description, whether they're being used in a novel, a casual discussion or a board meeting. Using similes in your writing or everyday speech will no doubt improve your communication skills, making you a better writer, speaker and communicator.
Zoë Kaplan is an English major at Wesleyan University in the class of 2020. She writes about women, theater, sports, and everything in between. Read more of Zoë’s work at www.zoëkaplan.com.
© 2022 Fairygodboss