A simile /ˈsɪməli/ is an expression which compares two things; it always includes the words as or like. You can use similes to make your spoken and written English more colorful and your comparisons – more powerful. For example:
He’s as thin as a rake. (extremely thin)
I feel as fresh as a daisy. (extremely fresh / full of energy)
You ran like the wind! (extremely fast)
Your dad drives like a maniac! (he drives fast and badly)
My new shirt fits like a glove. (it fits extremely well)
Although you were in the next room, I could hear every word you said as clear as crystal. (very clearly)
She says she’s as poor as a church mouse, but it’s not true. (very poor)
Why are you as silent as the grave? (totally silent)
You must really like Tom! You went as red as a beetroot when Ann was talking about him! (red-faced through embarrassment)
You barely spoke to each other, and now you are as thick as thieves. Why? (very friendly with each other, spending a lot of time together talking about private things)
They always fight like cat and dog. (often or with a lot of anger)
Why are you always as stubborn as a mule? (extremely stubborn)
Lately I’ve been working like a dog! (I’ve been working very hard)
Note that you can omit the first as in as … as similes: as stubborn as a mule = stubborn as a mule, as thick as thieves = thick as thieves.
Learn similes as whole phrases because it is usually impossible to change the individual words. Where it is possible, the meaning of the simile often changes:
Can I have some water? My mouth is as dry as a bone. (I am really thirsty)
His lecture was as dry as dust. (extremely boring)
Similes are often used in everyday conversation and informal writing.
Let’s listen to the song which is full of similes! It will sure help us remember a lot similes in a fun way.
Lenka – Everything at Once
The lyrics are here.
It’s important to note that some similes from the song seem to have been coined by the songwriter, so they are unlikely to be found in English dictionaries. We can say that the songwriter used a bit of artistic license. But if we change those similes a little bit, using a different noun, for example, they will become common as dirt and clear as day:
As brave as a bear– as brave as a lion As neat as a word– as neat as a pin (neat and orderly) As big as a house– as big as an elephant As sharp as a tooth– as sharp as a razor As sweet as a song– as sweet as sugar/pie As long as a road– as long as a month of Sundays Bright as day– bright as a button (intelligent, quick-thinking) As light as play– as light as a feather As warm as the sun– as warm as toast As cool as a tree– as cool as a cucumber (calm, composed) As hot as fire– as hot as hell/blue blazes As old as time– as old as the hills As straight as a line– as straight as an arrow Smooth as a glider– smooth as silk/a baby’s bottom
The following similes from the song are perfect as they are:
- As sly as a fox = as cunning as a fox
- As strong as an ox
- As free as a bird
- As quiet as a mouse = as quiet as a lamb
- As hard as nails (physically and/or mentally tough)
- As cold as ice (very cold in temperature; very unfriendly)