• synonyms


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.
Show More

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 for similes

similitude, metaphor, analogy

Examples from the Web for similes

Historical Examples of similes

  • Speaking of similes reminds us that there is one on Broadway.

    Punchinello, Vol. 1, No. 3, April 16, 1870


  • And in the similes, what pictures from animal life and manners!

  • The current similes, if not absolutely counterfeit, are quite worn out.


    Benjamin Disraeli

  • We spoke of Homer's similes as illustrative of the Ionic feelings about war.

  • Other similes seemed to have the habit of living in discord.

British Dictionary definitions for similes


  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
Show More

Word Origin for simile

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 similes



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."

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

similes 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.)

Show More


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.