A simile is a number of speech that directly compares 2 unchoose points. To make the comparikid, similes most often use the connecting words "like" or "as," yet can additionally use various other words that suggest an explicit comparikid. Eleanor Roosevelt"s line, "A womale is like a teabag—you never understand how solid she is until she gets in hot water," is an instance of simile. Roosevelt compares 2 unchoose points, womales and also teabags, to describe exactly how women expose the complete degree of their toughness in tough cases.

Some extra essential details around simile:

While the majority of similes use the connecting words "like" or "as" to develop the comparichild they"re making, similes deserve to usage various other words that develop a straight comparikid, consisting of other connecting words (such as, "so" or "than") or verbs of comparichild (such as, "compare" and "resemble"). Some similes have actually come to be such a widespread part of everyday speech that we bacount notification them, for circumstances, when we say "I slept prefer a log" or "The news hit me prefer a ton of bricks."

How to Pronounce Simile

Here"s exactly how to pronounce simile: sim-ih-lee

Simile vs. Metaphor

Similes and metaphors are both numbers of speech that involve the comparison of unprefer things. They are also both types of figurative language, because they both produce definition past the literal feeling of their words. However, simile and metaphor perform not make a compariboy in the exact same method. Some people might explain the distinction between simile and also metaphor by discussing the framework of the language offered in each one:

Similes use the words "like" or "as" to create their comparison: "The people is like your oyster." Metaphors state the compariboy without such connecting words: "The civilization is your oyster."

While the presence of a connecting word, such as "like" or "as," is primarily a good dominance of thumb to identify similes versus metaphors, it doesn"t really get at the root of the difference in between the two numbers of speech. A deeper means to understand the distinction is with the nature of the comparikid each one makes:

A simile provides an explicit comparison by asserting that 2 various points are similar.

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A simile sets point A and thing B side by side to compare them. In the sentence "The people is like your oyster," the listener is asked to mentally visualize and compare "the world" and also "an oyster"—as though he or she were holding one in each hand—and also attract a comparikid between the two. A metaphor asserts an implicit comparikid by stating that one thing is the various other thing. Instead of establishing 2 entities A and B side by side via the use of connecting words, metaphor superimposes them. The metaphor "The world is your oyster" asks the reader to imagine his or her partnership to the human being as being the connection of an oyster to the area inside its shell.

This isn"t to say that either a simile or metaphor is stronger or much better than the other, just that they are subtly different in the kind of comparikid they develop, and also this difference affects how a reader imaginatively interacts with the message.

Is a Simile a Type of Metaphor?

Tright here is additionally some dispute about whether similes and also metaphors are similar yet various points, or whether simile is actually a specialized develop of metaphor. Arguments on the topic deserve to end up being surprisingly heated, however all you must recognize is that there are competing definitions of metaphor, and also whether a simile is a form of metaphor counts on the meaning of metaphor you"re using. For circumstances, the Oxford Companion to English Language offers 2 interpretations of metaphor:

Metaphor: All figures of speech that achieve their effect via association, comparichild, and resemblance. Figures choose antithesis, hyperbole, metonymy, simile are all species of metaphor. Metaphor: A figure of speech which concisely compares 2 things by saying that one is the various other.

Under the initially, broad meaning of a metaphor, a simile is a form of metaphor. Under the second, narrower definition, it isn"t.

Simile Examples

Similes appear in all sorts of writing, from prose literature, to poeattempt, to music lyrics, and also beyond.

Instances of Simile in Literature

Writers use simile to add color and feeling to their writing and to permit readers to view somepoint in a new means through the comparikid that the simile creates. Simile have the right to be provided to render the acquainted strange and also unexplained, to make the strange seem acquainted, or to draw a surpclimbing association between points that don"t seem to belong together.

Simile in F. Scott Fitzgerald"s The Great Gatsby

In this example from The Great Gatsby, Nick Carramethod defines Tom and Daisy Buchanan"s mansion in Long Island. Nick is from the midwest and has never before encountered the level of deluxe he discovers on his first visit to the Buchanans" home:

A breeze blew with the room, blew curtains in at one finish and also out the other favor pale flags, twisting them up towards the frosted wedding cake of the ceiling—and also then rippled over the wine-colored rug, making a shadow on it as wind does on the sea. The only completely stationary object in the room was an massive couch on which two young womales were buoyed up as though upon an anchored balloon. They were both in white and also their dresses were rippling and fluttering as if they had actually simply been blvery own earlier in after a brief trip roughly the house. I have to have actually stood for a couple of moments listening to the whip and snap of the curtains and also the groan of a picture on the wall. Then there was a boom as Tom Buchanan shut the rear windows and also the captured wind died out around the room, and the curtains and the rugs and also the two young woguys ballooned slowly to the floor.

Not just does Fitzgerald"s usage of simile convey Nick"s astonishment at the degree of the Buchanans" riches, but it additionally enlivens what can otherwise have actually been an unexceptional description. Without simile, the passage would read something choose, "The wind blew via the room. It ruffled the women"s clothes. Tom shut the window and also the wind stopped." Fitzgerald"s similes lug the room to life.

Simile in Shakespeare"s Sonnet 18, Sonnet 97, and also Sonnet 130

No conversation of simile would be finish without a recommendation to Shakespeare"s sonnets. One of his many popular similes is the opening line of Sonnet 18, "Shall I compare thee to a summer"s day?" (That simile is also a great example of a simile that contains a word other than "like" or "as" to establish its comparikid.)

In Sonnet 97, the narrator compares his separation from his beloved to a barren winter, even though the couple was actually separated in the time of the summer. (The narrator admits this in the line, "And yet this time removed was summer"s time"):

How favor a winter hath my lack been From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year! What freezings have actually a I felt, what dark days seen! What old December"s bareness everywhere! And yet this time removed was summer"s time The teeming autumn substantial through affluent boost, Bearing the wanton burthen of the prime, Like widowed wombs after their lords" decease.

In Sonnet 130, Shakespeare obstacles the standard function of similes and also the conventions of love poetry:

My mistress" eyes are nopoint favor the sun; Coral is much even more red than her lips" red; If scurrently be white, why then her breasts are dun; If hairs be wires, black wires flourish on her head. I have actually checked out roses damasked, red and also white But no such roses watch I in her cheeks; And in some perfumes is there even more delight Than in the breath that from my mitension reeks. I love to hear her soptimal, yet well I understand That music hath a much more pleasing sound; I provide I never before witnessed a goddess go; My mistress and anxiety, once she walks, treads on the ground. And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare As any type of she belied via false compare

In Sonnet 130, Shakespeare actually comments on the means similes feature within conventional sonnets around love by turning all of the would-be similes right into negative similes. Instead of creating that his mistress" eyes are like the sunlight, that her lips are red as coral, her breasts as white as scurrently, and so on, Shakespeare claims that her eyes are "nopoint prefer the sunlight," and also that, "cdental is much even more red" than her lips. It"s as though the he"s acknowledging the fact that many type of similes have actually end up being hackneyed or clichéd, and also he"s instead proposing to pay a more systematic tribute to his love by inverting those similes and dealing with her prefer a real-life womale.

Simile in Sherwood Anderson"s Winesburg, Ohio

"Hands," one of the short stories in Shertimber Anderson"s Winesburg, Ohio, tells the tale of Winesburg resident Wing Biddlebaum. Biddlebaum is a shy old man that keeps to himself, yet becomes animated and also talkative in the presence of his only frifinish, a reporter named George Willard:

The story of Wing Biddlebaum is a story of hands. Their restless task, choose unto the beating of the wings of an imprisoned bird, had actually given him his name. Some obscure poet of the town had thought of it. The hands alarmed their owner. He wanted to store them covert amethod and looked through amazement at the quiet inexpressive hands of other males who operated next to him in the areas, or passed, driving sleepy groups on nation roads.

The "obscure poet"s" simile, which likens the "restmuch less activity" of Wing"s hands "unto the beating of the wings of an imprisoned bird" is also the resource of the character"s nickname. More, Wing Biddlebaum"s social function in the neighborhood is comparable to that of an imprisoned bird, in the sense that he lives apart from the rest of the tvery own, shut off from companionship.

Simile in Robert M. Pirsig"s Zen and also the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

In Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, the narrator undertakes a cross-nation motorcycle expedition via his kid Chris, his frifinish Sylvia, and her husband John. The motorists pride themselves on taking scenic backroadways that prolong their journey, yet better suit their solitary, contemplative style of traveling. When they cross a main road one Monday morning, Sylvia provides the adhering to monitoring about the grim-looking commuters:

"It was all those civilization in the cars coming the other method...The initially one looked so sad. And then the next one looked specifically the exact same method, and also then the next one and the next one, they were all the same...Its simply that they looked so shed...Like they were all dead. Like a funeral procession."

Sylvia compares the motorists to members of a funeral procession because she feels that, in rushing from allude A to suggest B, the commuters are absent out the pleasure of life and travel.

Simile in Kurt Vonnegut"s Slaughterhouse-Five

In this instance from Slaughterhouse-Five, Billy Pilgrim emerges from an underground slaughterhome wright here he has actually been organized prisoner by the Germans in the time of the deadly World War II firebombing of Dresden:

It wasn"t safe to come out of the shelter until noon the next day. When the Americans and also their guards did come out, the sky was black through smoke. The sunlight was an angry little bit pinhead. Dresden was choose the moon now, nothing but minerals. The stones were warm. Everybody else in the neighborhood was dead.

Vonnegut compares the bombed city of Dresden to the moon in order to capture the totality of the devastation—the city is so lifemuch less that it is like the barren moon.

Keep in mind that Vonnegut likewise emphasizes the destruction of the city by exaggerating the air contamination produced by the bombs ("the skies was black via smoke"). This form of exaggeration for literary or rhetorical functions is dubbed hyperbole, which have the right to occasionally overlap through simile. To read more about the relationship in between the 2 figures of speech, please see our page on hyperbole.

Instances of Simile in Music

Simile have the right to create vivid imperiods, making language more memorable and also emotional. For this factor, musicians across genres routinely usage simile in their song lyrics.

Simile in "Gone" by Kanye West

In "Gone," Kanye west compares disloyal aspiring MCs to Anakin Skywalker of Star Wars, who went poor and also came to be Darth Vader.

I"ma open up up a store for aspiring MCs Won"t offer em no dream, however the motivation is totally free But if they ever before flip sides like Anakin You"ll market whatever including the mannequin

Simile in "Candle in the Wind" by Elton John

"Candle in the Wind" is Elton John"s tribute to Marylin Monroe. In referring to Marylin as a "candle in the wind," John portrays her as a delicate and also breakable perkid who was regularly preyed upon by those that made her famous.

And it seems to me you lived your life Like a candle in the wind Never before knowing who to cling to When the rain set in And I would certainly have preferred to have recognized you But I was simply a son Your candle melted out long before Your legfinish ever did

Simile in "Like a Rolling Stone" by Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan is many excellent points yet "nice" is not among them. In his the majority of commercially effective release of all time, Dylan compares the song"s addressee—presumably, an ex-girlfriend who is going via hard times—to a rolling stone:

Once upon a time you dressed so fine Threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn"t you? People call say "beware doll, you"re bound to fall" You assumed they were all kidding you You offered to laugh around Everybody that was hanging out Now you don"t talk so loud Now you do not seem so proud About having to be scrounging your following meal

How does it feel, how does it feel? To be without a residence Like a complete unknown, choose a rolling stone

Why Do Writers Use Simile?

Writers, and also civilization in general, usage simile to create memorable imperiods with language, which enable them to vividly recount experiences and emotions. Poets regularly use simile to make concepts or principles that are hard to understand more concrete, as in Langston Hughes" "A Dream Deferred":

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up choose a raisin in the sun? Or fester prefer a sore— And then run? Does it stink choose rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over— choose a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it simply sags choose a heavy pack.

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Or does it explode?

"A Dream Deferred" was publimelted in Langston Hughes" arsenal Harlem, in which Hughes meditates on the suffer of babsence Americans. Thstormy the usage of simile in this particular poem, Hughes offers physical heft to the desires of black world living in Harlem and across the country—dreams which are often ruined, postponed and ignored as a result of racial prejudice. By comparing dreams to product things, such as "raisins" and "rotten meat," Hughes suggests that desires are a concrete component of reality not to be brushed aside, and that there are very actual consequences to not pursuing them.

In addition, by making use of similes to compare one point or principle to a completely various thing, writers have the right to make readers check out the people in a brand-new means. Put one more method, writers have the right to use the comparichild produced by a simile to expose a figurative truth beyond the literal reality.