VIDEO FOR SIMILE
This Or That: Simile vs. Metaphor
Simile vs. metaphor ... it’s the age-old question that none of us can keep straight. So, let’s try looking at it a different way ...
Origin of simile
WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH similemetaphor, simile
Words nearby simile
MORE ABOUT SIMILE
What is a simile?
A simile is a figure of speech in which two unrelated things are compared to each other, as in Jose was as clever as a fox.
Similes compare two things that seemingly have nothing to do with each other but actually share a trait or characteristic, at least according to the user of the simile. In the simile above, Jose is implied to be wily or sly just like a fox that steals chickens from farmers. Similes often use like or as in the comparison, as in Tom’s insults cut like a knife.
A simile is very similar to a metaphor, another figure of speech. A metaphor also compares two seemingly unrelated things but, unlike a simile, a metaphor says that something is something else. Often, the difference between a metaphor and simile is a single word. Her life was like an open book is a simile, while Her life was an open book is a metaphor.
Similes and metaphors can be used to accomplish the same thing, and it is ultimately up to the writer or speaker which one they’d prefer to use.
Why is simile important?
The first records of the word simile come from around 1350. It ultimately comes from Latin, in which it means “an image” or “a likeness.” A simile says that two things share a likeness or have something in common.
Similes have been used since the beginning of poetry, and even the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle theorized about them. Some of the most common imagery used in similes include things from nature, such as animals, plants, and the weather. Similes also frequently make comparisons based on sensory experiences, such as smells, tastes, and sounds.
Did you know … ?
Similes are still very common in popular culture today and many writers, musicians, and artists use them. Here are a few examples from some modern popular songs:
- “I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies” (“Take Me to Church” by Hozier)
- “I came in like a wrecking ball” (“Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus)
- “And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast” (“Let It Go” by Idina Menzel)
What are real-life examples of simile?
This video gives an example of how common similes are in the songs we listen to and movies we watch:
Similes are a very popular figure of speech that many people like to use.
I love similes. They're, like, the best.
— Josh Gondelman (@joshgondelman) April 17, 2015
Goal of the day: to only use similes that make no sense. It's going to be as funny as corn.
— Tooter McStabbin (@notseriouslyamy) January 23, 2015
Is the following sentence an example of a simile?
I am going to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.
How to use simile in a sentence
It called for him to write a poem using a simile or metaphor.
He surprises readers with similes that are sobering, in the middle of laughter.
The matron expressed her entire concurrence in this intelligible simile, and the beadle went on.Oliver Twist, Vol. II (of 3)|Charles Dickens
The modern simile is that of a donkey between two bundles of hay.Chaucer's Works, Volume 1 (of 7) -- Romaunt of the Rose; Minor Poems|Geoffrey Chaucer
No one can say to himself, “I will now make a good simile,” and straightway fulfill his promise.
A simile is an expressed comparison between unlike things that have some common quality.
Here the simile seems to be as unlike as possible, for the lot could fall only upon one.
British Dictionary definitions for simile
Word Origin for simile
Cultural definitions for simile
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.)