The Free Dictionary Blog > English Grammar and Spelling > Similes, Metaphors, Analogies, Allegories, and Alligators: Learn the Difference > Similes
You probably use similes every day without even thinking about it. It is one of the most common forms of comparison and one of the most simple to use. Fittingly, the word "simile" comes from a Latin word meaning "something similar."
What is a simile?
A simile is a figure of speech in which two essentially unlike things are compared, often in a phrase introduced by "like" or "as."
Because similes typically use "like" or "as," these comparisons are usually more explicit than in a metaphor.
Famous examples of similes
Robert Burns's poem "A Red Red Rose" contains two straightforward similes:
My love is like a red, red rose
That's newly sprung in June:
My love is like the melody
That's sweetly played in tune.
Shakespeare, of course, also made frequent, creative use of similes in his plays and poems, like in the classic lines "How like the winter hath my absence been" and "So are you to my thoughts as food to life."
But similes needn't be so formal or poetic. Think your roommate eats a lot? Just say, "You're like a bottomless pit," and you've created an effective simile.
Some similes have even become clichés:
As clear as crystal
As cool as a cucumber
As dry as a bone
As light as a feather
As quick as lightning
As slippery as an eel
As smooth as silk
As solid as a rock
As strong as an ox
As white as a ghost
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