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  • life coach - An advisor who helps people with problems, decisions, and goal attainment in daily life.
  • empathy, sympathy - Empathy denotes a deep emotional understanding of another's feelings or problems, while sympathy is more general and can apply to small annoyances or setbacks.
  • gravity - Comes from Latin gravitas, from gravis, "heavy, important"—and it can apply to situations and problems as well as to people.
  • insoluble - Can be applied to problems that cannot be solved as well as substances that will not dissolve in liquids.
Farlex Trivia Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.


  1. As rust eats iron, so care eats the heart —Auguste Ricard
  2. Being a new employee … it’s like picking up a screenplay and starting to act your part, only it’s Act Three and you have not been in Acts One or Two —Carol Clark, New York Times, July 28, 1986
  3. Burdensome as a secret —French proverb
  4. Carry your problems with you from place to place like a Santa Claus sack —George Garrett
  5. Ceased to be an apparent problem … the way crumbs swept under a rug cease to be an apparent problem —Rick Borsten
  6. Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body —Seneca, The Elder
  7. (Doubt … ) dug at his peace of mind like a broken fingernail —F. van Wyck Mason
  8. (The electronics-crammed production booth is beginning to) resemble the bridge of a destroyer under air attack —Michael Cieply, writing about taping of a Bill Cosby television segment that ran into problems, Wall Street Journal, September 26, 1986
  9. Face a problem with all the joy of a team preparing for a game it expects to lose. —Anon
  10. Felt speaking about one’s personal problems was rather like talking about one’s surgery scars … a subject of consuming interest only to one’s self —C.D.B. Bryan
  11. Heading toward disaster, as certainly as a four-year-old behind the wheels of a Maserati —Vincent Canby, New York Times, February 28, 1986
  12. He was like a mathematician with an abstruse problem, worrying over it, but worrying very calmly and impersonally —James Hilton
  13. I am a man smothered with women and children, like a duck with onions —Sir Charles Napier

    Napier made these comparisons when he reflected on his life in England after retiring as commander of British forces in northern India.

  14. An international crisis is like sex, as long as you keep talking about it, nothing happens —Harold Coffin, Reader’s Digest, September, 1961
  15. It’s [being on a losing streak] like a little time box that’s going to explode —John Pennywell, football player on Columbia University’s Lions, New York Times, November 8, 1986
  16. (I was) living as if I were squeezed in an iron hand —Honoré de Balzac
  17. (The whole of) my life has passed like a razor … in hot water or a scrape —Sydney Smith
  18. (My immediate) problems … as untouchable as a raw wound —Norman Mailer
  19. The problem stayed in the front of his mind like a sheer cliff he could not begin to climb —Ken Follett
  20. Pry at the mousehole of a solution like a cat with infinite patience —Bill Granger
  21. Second-hand cares, like second-hand clothes, come easily on and off —Charles Dickens
  22. Sign of trouble … like seeing a cannon muzzle poke out of the woods —James Sterngold, New York Times, March 22, 1986
  23. The solution rushed on him like a fire storm —T. Coraghessan Boyle
  24. They’re [troubles] piled on my head like snows on a mountain top —Bernard Malamud
  25. They would gnaw on it for days like two puppies with a rubber bone —Charles Portis
  26. Troubled as a plane with one wing —Anon
  27. Trouble … fell across her shoulders like a cloak. It was as if she had touched a single strand of a web, and felt the whole thing tremble and knew herself to be caught forever in its trembling —Ellen Gilchrist
  28. Troublesome as a wasp in one’s ears —Thomas Fuller
  29. Troubles visited from above like tornadoes —Marge Piercy
  30. Weaponless deterrence is like bodiless sex. It gets you nowhere —James Morrow
  31. Women like to sit down with trouble as if it were knitting —Ellen Glasgow
  32. Work like an antitoxin … before the complications come —Clifford Odets
Similes Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1988 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
Collins Multilingual Translator © HarperCollins Publishers 2009
References in classic literature ?
A modern branch of mathematics having achieved the art of dealing with the infinitely small can now yield solutions in other more complex problems of motion which used to appear insoluble.
The East End of London, I read, or some one says; and first of all, under my eyelids, leap the visions of the shining pubs, and in my ears echo the calls for "two of bitter" and "three of Scotch." The Latin Quarter--at once I am in the student cabarets, bright faces and keen spirits around me, sipping cool, well- dripped absinthe while our voices mount and soar in Latin fashion as we settle God and art and democracy and the rest of the simple problems of existence.
I do not, of course, mean that there are not battles, conspiracies, tumults, factions, and all those other phenomena which are supposed to make History interesting; nor would I deny that the strange mixture of the problems of life and the problems of Mathematics, continually inducing conjecture and giving the opportunity of immediate verification, imparts to our existence a zest which you in Spaceland can hardly comprehend.
The corps of inventors was spurred up to conquer the long-distance problems. And in return for a thirty million check, the control of the historic Western Union was transferred from the children of Jay Gould to the thirty thousand stock-holders of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company.
There are various problems as to how we can be conscious now of what no longer exists.
"You thirst for life and try to settle the problems of life by a logical tangle.
When she was too lonely, she would go to them and shed her own troubles and problems by absorption in those of others.
"Gentlemen," said he, "we have to resolve one of the most important problems in the whole of the noble science of gunnery.
Or did he go forward, into one of the nearer ages, in which men are still men, but with the riddles of our own time answered and its wearisome problems solved?
"Very well, old Barbicane," replied Michel; "they might have cut off my head, beginning at my feet, before they could have made me solve that problem."
She knew the post-nuptial problem of retaining a husband's love, as few wives of any class knew it, just as she knew the pre-nuptial problem of selecting a husband, as few girls of the working class knew it.
And as soon as silence came, I found myself in front of this extraordinary mass of faces, thinking not of them, but of that long and unhappy chapter in our country's history which followed the one great structural mistake of the Fathers of the Republic; thinking of the one continuous great problem that generations of statesmen had wrangled over, and a million men fought about, and that had so dwarfed the mass of English men in the Southern States as to hold them back a hundred years behind their fellows in every other part of the world--in England, in Australia, and in the Northern and Western States; I was thinking of this dark shadow that had oppressed every large-minded statesman from Jefferson to Lincoln.

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