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See more synonyms for simile on Thesaurus.com
  1. a figure of speech in which two unlike things are explicitly compared, as in “she is like a rose.”Compare metaphor.
  2. an instance of such a figure of speech or a use of words exemplifying it.
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Origin of simile

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin: image, likeness, comparison, noun use of neuter of similis similar
Can be confusedmetaphor simile
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

similitude, metaphor, analogy

Examples from the Web for simile

Historical Examples

  • The simile of an Indian fight returned to Dick with increased force.

    The Rock of Chickamauga

    Joseph A. Altsheler

  • There is no other simile that will express his state of mind.

  • I feel the rage of simile upon me; I can't talk to you in any other way.

    The Contrast

    Royall Tyler

  • He laughed at this simile, and continued: 'I shall be all new again.

  • Blanche, who was extremely dainty as to what she touched, quite appreciated this simile.

    Clare Avery

    Emily Sarah Holt

British Dictionary definitions for simile


  1. a figure of speech that expresses the resemblance of one thing to another of a different category, usually introduced by as or likeCompare metaphor
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Word Origin

C14: from Latin simile something similar, from similis like
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for simile


late 14c., from Latin simile "a like thing; a comparison, likeness, parallel," neuter of similis "like" (see similar). Both things must be mentioned and the comparison directly stated. To Johnson, "A simile, to be perfect, must both illustrate and ennoble the subject."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

simile in Culture



A common figure of speech that explicitly compares two things usually considered different. Most similes are introduced by like or as: “The realization hit me like a bucket of cold water.” (Compare metaphor.)

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Some similes, such as “sleeping like a log,” have become clichés.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.