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Simile

Simile

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A simile is a figure of speech in which the subject is compared to another subject. Frequently, similes are marked by use of the words like or as or so. "The snow was like a blanket". However, "The snow blanketed the earth" is also a simile and not a metaphor because the verb blanketed is a shortened form of the phrase covered like a blanket. A few other examples are "The deer ran like the wind", "The raindrops sounded as popcorn kernels popping", and "the lullaby was like the hush of the winter."

Similes are composed of two parts: comparandum, the thing to be compared, and the comparatum, the thing to which the comparison is made. For example in the simile "The snow was like a blanket", "the snow" is the comparandum while "a blanket" is the comparatum.

The phrase "The snow was a blanket over the earth" is the metaphor in this case. Metaphors differ from similes in that the two objects are not compared, but treated as identical, "We are but a moment's sunlight, fading in the grass." Note: Some would argue that a simile is actually a specific type of metaphor. See Joseph Kelly's The Seagull Reader (2005), pages 377-379.

See also tertium comparationis.


Simile is an Italian musical term meaning "similarly"; it indicates that the performer should continue to apply the preceding directive, whatever it was. For example, a series of dynamic changes to be repeated in many measures would make the music crowded and harder to read if written out in full, so the engraver might insert a simile directive after the first measure of the changes. The performer would then know to continue the dynamic pattern in the following measures.

Examples of Similes from Literary Works

Examples of Similes from Songs

Examples of Similes

There are countless examples of similies used in everyday speech. Below is a list of examples, but not by any means an exhaustive account, as there are too many examples to list.

  • busy as a bee
  • clear as a bell
  • cold as ice
  • cute as a button
  • dry as a bone
  • dead as a doornail
  • dumb as a post
  • easy as pie
  • fast as greased lightning
  • fine as a fox
  • fit as a fiddle
  • free as a bird
  • happy as a clam
  • high as a kite
  • larger than life
  • light as a feather
  • mad as hell
  • plain as day
  • proud as a peacock
  • as loyal as a dog
  • quick as a wink
  • quiet as a mouse
  • right as rain
  • sharp as a tack
  • sick as a dog
  • smooth as silk
  • snug as a bug in a rug
  • solid as a rock
  • sure as eggs
  • tough as nails
  • white as snow
  • working like a dog
  • hot as the sun
  • as hot as hell
  • as dumb as a rockcy:Cymhariaeth

de:Vergleich (Literatur) es:Comparación eo:Komparo fr:Comparaison he:דימוי no:Similie

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