pronounced: SIM-i-lee

It's been a hard day's night,
and I've been working like a dog The Beatles

A simile is a figure of speech that says that one thing is like another different thing. We can use similes to make descriptions more emphatic or vivid.

We often use the words and like with similes.

Common patterns for similes, with example sentences, are:

* stative verb: be, feel, smell, taste etc
** action verb

Here are some more examples of well known similes:

[is] AS adjective AS something meaning
as blind as a bat completely blind
as cold as ice very cold
as flat as a pancake completely flat
as gentle as a lamb very gentle
as light as a feather very light
as old as the hills very old
as sharp as a knife very sharp
as strong as a bull very strong
as white as snow pure white
as wise as an owl very wise

Longer list of AS...AS similes

[is] LIKE something possible meaning (depending on context)
like a rose beautiful
like a volcano explosive
like garbage disgusting
like an animal inhuman
like spaghetti entangled
like dewdrops sweet and pure
like golddust precious
like a tip very untidy (tip = garbage dump)
like a dream wonderful, incredible
like stars bright and beautiful
[does] LIKE something meaning
to drink like a fish to drink a lot
to eat like a bird to eat very little
to eat like a horse to eat a lot
to eat like a pig to eat impolitely
to fight like cats and dogs to fight fiercely
to sing like an angel to sing beautifully
to sleep like a log to sleep well and soundly
to smoke like a chimney to smoke heavily, all the time
to soar like an eagle to fly high and free
to work like a dog to work very hard

Note that with the AS...AS pattern, the first AS is sometimes suppressed, for example:

The above patterns of simile are the most common, but there are others made with adverbs or words such as than and as if, for example:

Similes can include other figures of speech. For example, "He ran like greased lightning" is a simile that includes hyperbole (greased lightning).

Similes often make use of irony or sarcasm. In such cases they may even mean the opposite of the adjective used. Look at these examples:

Similes are often found (and they sometimes originate) in poetry and other literature. Here are a few examples:

Popular songs, too, make use of simile:

Many similes are clichés (phrases that are overused and betray a lack of original thought). You should use well-known similes with care; but it is certainly useful to learn them so that you can understand language containing them.
Play these fun matching similes games to help your comprehension.