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

Know any more?

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