- The English language is like an enormous bank account —Robert Claiborne
- The great man’s word is like the elephant’s tusk [i.e. not to be concealed or withdrawn] —Hindu saying
- Long words, like long beards, are often the badge of charlatans —F. L. Lucas
- Pithy sentences are like sharp nails which force the truth upon our memories —Denis Diderot
- Technical terms … are like red, white and blue poker chips. They stand for whatever the players agree upon —John B. Kerfoot
- A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver —The Holy Bible/Proverbs
- A word is not a crystal transparent and unchanged; it is the skin of a living thought and may vary greatly in color and content according to the circumstances and the time in which it is used —Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
- Words are like bodies, and meanings like souls —Abraham Ibn Ezra
- Words are like labels, or coins, or better, like swarming bees —Anne Sexton
- Words are like leaves, some wither every year —Horace
Alexander Pope’s variation of this reads as follows: “Words are like leaves and where they most abound, much fruit of sense beneath is rarely found.”
- Words are like money, not the worse for being common, but … it is the stamp of custom alone that gives them circulation or value —William Hazlitt
- Words are like money; there is nothing so useless, unless when in actual use —Samuel Butler
- Words are like money, a medium of exchange; and the sureness with which they can be used varies not only with the character of the coins themselves, but also with the character of the things they buy, and that of the men who tender and receive them —Allen Upward
- Words are like money; and when the current value of them is generally understood, no man is cheated by them —Sir Richard Steele
This and the next three entries rely on what follows the basic simile for individuality.
- Words are loaded pistols —Jean-Paul Sartre
- Words … a syllable which sounds like a bumblebee breaking wind —Hortense Calisher
- Words, like cavalry horses answering the bugle, group themselves automatically into familiar dreary patterns —George Orwell
Orwell’s simile was used to urge against re-using any phrase once it appears in print. Anyone following his advice would use this book strictly as a guide to phrase elimination.
- The words of a man’s mouth are as deep waters, and the wellsprings of wisdom as a flowing brook —The Holy Bible /Proverbs
- A word without thought is like a foot without sinew —Moses Ibn Ezra