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a. An area with definite or indefinite boundaries; a portion of space.
b. Room or space, especially adequate space: There is place for everyone at the back of the room.
a. The particular portion of space occupied by or allocated to a person or thing.
b. A building or an area set aside for a specified purpose: a place of worship.
a. A dwelling; a house: bought a place on the lake.
b. A business establishment or office.
c. A locality, such as a town or city: visited many places.
4. Abbr. Pl. A public square or street with houses in a town.
a. A space in which one person, such as a passenger or spectator, can sit or stand.
b. A setting for one person at a table.
6. A position regarded as belonging to someone or something else; stead: She was chosen in his place.
7. A particular point that one has reached, as in a book: I have lost my place.
8. A particular spot, as on the body: the place that hurts.
a. The proper or designated role or function: the place of the media in a free society.
b. The proper or customary position or order: These books are out of place.
c. A suitable setting or occasion: not the place to argue.
d. The appropriate right or duty: not her place to criticize.
10. Social station: He overstepped his place.
11. A particular situation or circumstance: Put yourself in my place.
12. High rank or status.
13. A job, post, or position: found a place in the company.
14. Relative position in a series; standing.
15. Games Second position for betting purposes, as in a horserace.
16. The specified stage in a list of points to be made, as in an argument: in the first place.
17. Mathematics A position in a numeral or series.
v. placed, plac·ing, plac·es
1. To put in or as if in a particular place or position; set.
2. To put in a specified relation or order: Place the words in alphabetical order.
3. To offer for consideration: placed the matter before the board.
4. To find accommodation or employment for.
5. To put into a particular condition: placed him under arrest.
6. To arrange for the publication or display of: place an advertisement in the newspaper.
7. To appoint to a post: placed her in a key position.
a. To rank in an order or sequence: I'd place him second best.
b. To estimate: placed the distance at 100 feet.
9. To identify or classify in a particular context: could not place that person's face.
a. To give an order for: place a bet.
b. To apply or arrange for: place an order.
c. To make or obtain a connection for (a telephone call).
11. To sell (a new issue of stock, bonds, or other securities).
12. To adjust (one's voice) for the best possible effects.
To be among those who finish a competition or race, especially to finish second.
Phrasal Verb:
place out
To qualify for a waiver of a requirement or prerequisite: placed out of a freshman composition class.
all over the place
In or to many locations; everywhere: Film is sold all over the place.
in place
1. In the appropriate or usual position or order: With everything in place, she started the slide show.
2. In the same spot; without moving forwards or backwards: While marching in place, the band played a popular tune.
in place of
Instead of.
keep/know (one's) place
To recognize one's social position and act according to traditional decorum.
place in the sun
A dominant or favorable position or situation.

[Middle English, from Old English plæce and Old French place, open space (from Medieval Latin placea, from Vulgar Latin *plattea), both from Latin platēa, broad street, from Greek plateia (hodos), broad (street), feminine of platus; see plat- in Indo-European roots.]

place′a·ble adj.
plac′er n.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


See also cities; houses; spaces.

the incorrect assignment of an event to a location; an error in geography.
the condition or state of being unusual or out of place. — anomaly, n.
Rare. an abnormal fear of returning to familiar places.
the innermost parts or deepest recesses of a place, thing, etc.
1. the holy of holies; a place of great holiness.
2. a most private place.
Rare. an abnormal fear of certain places. — topophobe, n.
the condition or quality of being in a place or being located or situated; whereness or ubication.
1. Obsolete, location or situation.
2. the state or quality of being located or situated; ubeity or whereness.
-Ologies & -Isms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.




  1. American cities are like badger holes ringed with trash —John Steinbeck
  2. The bargain basement [of store] where everything smelled musty and looked dull … as if a fine rain of dust fell constantly on the discounted merchandise —Joyce Reiser Kornblatt
  3. A boarding area in an airport is a little like a waiting room in a dentist’s office. Everyone tries to look unconcerned, but there’s really only one thing on their minds —Jonathan Valin
  4. Buckingham Palace … like an old prima donna facing the audience all in white —Virginia Woolf
  5. The Capitol buildings look like a version of St. Peter’s and the Vatican turned out by a modern firm —Shane Leslie
  6. Chicago … living there is like being married to a woman with a broken nose; there may be lovelier lovelies, but never a lovely so real —Nelson Algren
  7. (Some cities never sleep …) Cincinnati sleeps each night like it’s drugged —Jonathan Valin

    Cincinnati may sleep each night yet Valin manages to infuse plenty of action into his Cincinnati-based mystery novels.

  8. Cities, like cats, will reveal themselves at night —Rupert Brooke
  9. The city [San Francisco] acted in wartime [WWII] like an intelligent woman under siege. She gave what she couldn’t with safety withhold, and secured those things which lay in her reach —Maya Angelou
  10. The city [New York] is like poetry; it compresses all life, all races and breeds, into a small island and adds music and the accompaniment of internal engines —E. B. White
  11. The city spawned ugliness like a predatory insect spewing out blood-hungry larva —David Niven

    Niven’s simile from his autobiography The Moon’s a Balloon could probably be applied to any high-pressure place or industry.

  12. [London during the day] coated with crawling life, as a blossom with blight —Jerome K. Jerome
  13. Coming to New York from the muted mistiness of London … is like traveling from a monochrome antique shop to a Technicolor bazaar —Kenneth Tynan
  14. Compared to the city, the country looks like the world without its clothes on —Douglas Jerrold
  15. Comparing the Brooklyn that I know with Manhattan is like comparing a comfortable and complacent duenna to her more brilliant and neurotic sister —Carson McCullers
  16. Dallas, a city that treated conspicuous consumption like an art form —Peter Applebome, New York Times, April 6, 1986
  17. The danger and noise make it [New York or Chicago to a country person] seem like a permanent earthquake —William James
  18. Detroit, city of lost industrial dreams, floats around us like a mirage of some sane and glaciated life —Richard Ford
  19. Detroit lay across the river, a mile away, like a huge pincushion stuck full of lights —Eric Linklater
  20. Each thought, each day, each life lies here [in Moscow] as on a laboratory table —Walter Benjamin
  21. Fifth Avenue [at Christmas] shone like an enormous blue sugarplum revolving in a tutti-frutti rain of light —Hortense Calisher


  22. The gray cloud of Denver’s smog humped over the horizon like a whale’s back —James Crumley
  23. Hollywood without Spiegel is like Tahiti without Gauguin —Billy Wilder

    Wilder’s simile was coined in 1986 when Aaron Spiegel died.


  24. Ice hard as iron bands bound the streets of New York —Robert S. Silverberg
  25. I’m glad to be here in Pittsburgh because I feel a sense of kinship with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Like my candidacy, they were not given much chance in the spring —John F. Kennedy, on the campaign trail
  26. In great cities men are like a lot of stones thrown together in a bag; their jagged corners rubbed off till in the end they are smooth as marbles —W. Somerset Maugham
  27. Ireland is something like the bottom of an aquarium, with little people in crannies like prawns —D. H. Lawrence
  28. Italy is so tender, like cooked macaroni, yards and yards of soft tenderness, ravelled round everything —D. H. Lawrence
  29. Japan offers as much novelty perhaps as an excursion to another planet —Isabella Bird
  30. Leaving Los Angeles is like giving up heroin —David Puttnam
  31. Life in Russia is like life at an English public school but with politics taking the place of sex —Isaiah Berlin
  32. Like a resplendent chandelier, Paris in winter is made up of many parts —W. A. Poers
  33. Like many picturesque neighborhoods, it has a chilling uniformity of character, as if the householders propped sternly in their lawn chairs or gazing out from the black space of a porch have been chosen and supplied to ornament their homes —Jonathan Valin
  34. Living in England, provincial England, must be like being married to a stupid, but exquisitely beautiful wife —Margaret Halsey
  35. (Looking down the wing I could see) the buildings of Manhattan, as tidy and neatly defined as an architect’s model —Madison Smart Bell
  36. Moscow … a city landscape wanting neon and city life, as if square miles of squat buildings had been abandoned at the first November snows —George Feifer
  37. Most great cities (trail their own death around with them and) sleep, like John Donne, with one foot in the coffin —Jonathan Valin
  38. New York … a haven as cosy as toast, cool as an icebox and safe as skyscrapers —Dylan Thomas
  39. New York fit him [Nolan Ryan, pitcher for the Astros, formerly the Mets] like a cheap suit —Paul Daugherty, Newsday, October 9, 1986
  40. New York … looked like a pagan banner planted on a Christian rampart —Douglas Reed
  41. New York’s like a disco, but without the music —Elaine Stritch
  42. Omaha is a little like Newark, without Newark’s glamour —Joan Rivers
  43. Oaxaca sparkled like a matrix of platinum sequins laid over velvet —Richard Ford
  44. Paris was … all little and bright and far away like a picture seen through the wrong end of a field glass —John Dos Passos
  45. Places as magical and removed as toy towns under glass —Robert Dunn
  46. A public library, like a railway station, gets all kinds. They come in groups, like packaged tours —Helen Hudson
  47. Puerto Rico … it is a kind of lost love-child, born to the Spanish Empire and fostered by the United States —Nicholas Wollaston
  48. The Statue of Liberty [as seen from the sky] tiny but distinct, like a Japanese doll of herself —Richard Ford
  49. Sundays [in New York] the long asphalt looks like a dead beach —Edwin Denby
  50. Texas air is so rich you can nourish off it like it was food —Edna Ferber
  51. Thousands of funeral markers rise from the ground like dirty alabaster arms —Sin Ai

    The scene described in Sin Ai’s poem Two Brothers is Arlington National Cemetery.

  52. To be raised in Philadelphia is like being born with a big nose … you never get over it —Anon
  53. To walk along Broadway is like being a ticket in a lottery, a ticket in a glass barrel, being tossed about with all the other tickets —Maeve Brennan
  54. Transylvania without me will be like Bucharest on a Monday night —Dialogue in movie Love At First Bite by Count von Dracula
  55. The United Nations looked cool and pure, like its charter —Derek Lambert
  56. Venice … at once so stately and so materialist, like a proud ghost that has come back to remind men that he failed for a million —Rebecca West
  57. Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go —Truman Capote, November 26, 1961 news item
  58. Washington, D.C … .at times as cold as its marble facade —Maureen Dowd, New York Times, March 2, 1987
  59. Washington, D.C … .looks as if some giant had scattered a box of child’s toys at random on the ground —Captain Basil Hall
  60. Washington, D.C … .looks like a large straggling village reared in a drained swamp —George Combe
  61. Writing about most American cities is like writing a life of Chester A. Arthur. It can be done, but why do it? —Clifton Fadiman
Similes Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1988 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
Collins Multilingual Translator © HarperCollins Publishers 2009
References in classic literature ?
If we assume, as science normally does, the continuity of physical processes, we are forced to conclude that, at the place where the plate is, and at all places between it and a star which it photographs, SOMETHING is happening which is specially connected with that star.
The precipices on each side were often two and three hundred feet high, sometimes perpendicular, and sometimes overhanging, so that it was impossible, excepting in one or two places, to get down to the margin of the stream.
Lepers, cripples, the blind, and the idiotic, assail you on every hand, and they know but one word of but one language apparently--the eternal "bucksheesh." To see the numbers of maimed, malformed and diseased humanity that throng the holy places and obstruct the gates, one might suppose that the ancient days had come again, and that the angel of the Lord was expected to descend at any moment to stir the waters of Bethesda.
As the citizens in general are to eat at public tables in certain companies, and it is necessary that the walls should have bulwarks and towers in proper places and at proper distances, it is evident that it will be very necessary to have some of these in the towers; let the buildings for this purpose be made the ornaments of the walls.
SECURE as I tried to feel in my change of costume, my cropped hair, and my whiskerless cheeks, I kept well away from the coach-window, when the dinner at the inn was over and the passengers were called to take their places again.
Clements, I had thought it the strangest and most unaccountable of all places for Sir Percival to select for a clandestine meeting with the clerk's wife.
In busy places, where each man has an object of his own, and feels assured that every other man has his, his character and purpose are written broadly in his face.
In the little German watering-place to which the Shtcherbatskys had betaken themselves, as in all places indeed where people are gathered together, the usual process, as it were, of the crystallization of society went on, assigning to each member of that society a definite and unalterable place.
"Not five minutes since," she thought to herself, "I was longing to change places with you!
Next day the troops assembled in their appointed places in the evening and advanced during the night.
MEN in great place are thrice servants: servants of the sovereign or state; servants of fame; and servants of business.
There remains to-day but a very imperceptible vestige of the Place de Grève, such as it existed then; it consists in the charming little turret, which occupies the angle north of the Place, and which, already enshrouded in the ignoble plaster which fills with paste the delicate lines of its sculpture, would soon have disappeared, perhaps submerged by that flood of new houses which so rapidly devours all the ancient façades of Paris.