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- (Anxiety was) as contagious as a yawn —Barbara Lazear Ascher, New York Times/Hers, October 23, 1986
- Blown up [with fever] like a tire —Elena Poniatowska
- (Excuses) breaking out like pimples —Marge Piercy
- Breed like guinea pigs —Raymond Chandler
- Catch happiness as quickly as others catch colds —Storm Jameson
- Catching like fire in dry grass —William Dean Howells
- Contagious like the gladness of a happy child —Edward Bulwer-Lytton
- Excitement swept through Jalna [the estate which is the setting for a series of De La Roche novels] like a forest fire —Mazo De La Roche
- Expand like air in a pressure chamber —Penelope Gilliatt
- Gather like dust on a windowsill —Anon
- Multiply like troubles —Marge Piercy
- Passed around [German measles] like a dish of cool figs at the first rehearsal —Reynolds Price
- (Houses) popping up everywhere like the heat rash. Like pimples —George Garrett
- Spread a thought … like butter on toast —Carlos Fuentes
- (Feel her pleasure deepening and) spreading like a chord struck in all octaves at once, sustained, played, and then held and held till it slowly faded into its overtones —Marge Piercy
- (She looked at me, recognition) spreading like a rash —Sharon Sheehe Stark
- (Pain) spreading like lava —John Braine
- Spreading [throughout her system] … like poison dye —Margaret Millar
In the mystery novel, The Fiend, the author uses the simile to describe a key character’s growing alertness to a dangerous situation.
- (Affection … ) spread like an epidemic through the room —Jean Stafford
- Spread like an unconfirmed rumor —Elyse Sommer
- Spread like a quenchless fire —Percy Bysshe Shelley
- Spread … like a tiny spray of ink on a piece of blotting paper —Franz Werfel
- Spread like butter under a knife —Lawrence Durrell
- Spread like dandelions after spring rain —Marilyn Ross about growth of directories, Publishers Weekly, June 5, 1987
- (But they cling and) spread like lichen —Elizabeth Bishop
- Spread like mushrooms after a fresh spring rain —Anon
Mushrooms have long lent themselves to quick growth comparisons. A variation: “Grow like toadstools.”
- Spread like mushrooms across an unsuspecting garden —Tom Robbins
- Spread like pancake batter on a hot griddle —Elyse Sommer
- Spread like the desert —Henry James
- (Silence) spread … like water that a pebble stirs —Dante Gabriel Rossetti
- Spread out like a doily —Alma Stone
- Spread out (the sun) like a jellyfish —John Steinbeck
- (I saw the vineyards) spread out like wings —Eudora Welty
- Spreads faster than panic in a plane —Donald Seaman
- Spreads like a sigh —Anon
- (Love that) spreads like a stain of ink in absorbent cloth —Diane Wakoski
As poet Wakoski links the spreading stain with love in her poem, My Little Heart Pops Out, so W. H. Auden uses “Ruin spreading like a stain” in Something Is Bound to Happen.
- Spreads like good news —Slogan for Satinwax, Economic Laboratory
- Spread through like a clumsy, uninvited guest who is obese and eats too much —Lorrie Moore
The descriptive frame of reference in Moore’s novel, Self-Help, is cancer.
- (Enemies … are) sprouting (around me) like tulips —Peter Benchley
|Noun||1.||spreading - process or result of distributing or extending over a wide expanse of space|
diffusion - the spread of social institutions (and myths and skills) from one society to another
invasion - (pathology) the spread of pathogenic microorganisms or malignant cells to new sites in the body; "the tumor's invasion of surrounding structures"
irradiation - (physiology) the spread of sensory neural impulses in the cortex
radiation - the spread of a group of organisms into new habitats
|2.||spreading - the opening of a subject to widespread discussion and debate|
transmission - communication by means of transmitted signals
circulation - the dissemination of copies of periodicals (as newspapers or magazines)
|3.||spreading - act of extending over a wider scope or expanse of space or time|
extension - act of expanding in scope; making more widely available; "extension of the program to all in need"
circulation - the spread or transmission of something (as news or money) to a wider group or area
dispersal, dispersion, dissemination, diffusion - the act of dispersing or diffusing something; "the dispersion of the troops"; "the diffusion of knowledge"