We’ve all gotten similes and metaphors mixed up; what is a simile anyhow?
Leave it to us, and we’ll guide you through the differences between similes and metaphors, teach you what is a simile, and you’ll be riddling smilies off like Shakespeare in an hour of pure inspiration. Hey, what do ya know, that was a simile!
We love a good visual example, and it’s bonus points if it’s funny! Take a look at this prime simile example from the one and only, Shrek. Who would have thought that Shrek would be able to teach you what is a simile!
In this article
Definition of Simile
What is a simile, as in the actual definition of it? We’ve dropped the dictionary definition down below, but let’s also break it down into simple and clear terms.
A simile is a tool you can use to emphasize an emotion or action of something or to give its meaning more depth. It’s a figure of speech!
Such as in the example, in the video above, the simile used is: “Ogres are like onions.” Donkey says the connection between Orges and onions is that they stink, and so on. But what the character Shrek is trying to convey by using the simile “Ogres are like onions” is that both Ogres and onions are layers to them.
By knowing what is a simile and using it, the character Shrek was able to bring a deeper level to the conversation and visually explain his explanation, even if Donkey didn’t quite understand it at first.
How to Pronounce Simile
Now that you have a better understanding of what is a simile, how do you pronounce simile?
It almost looks like the word smiley, and at first instinct, that may be what you want to release. But alas, the pronunciation for simile is: [ sim-uh-lee ].
Easy-peasy! Let’s continue down our trek of understanding what is a simile by learning the difference between a simile and a metaphor.
Simile vs Metaphor
Let’s get things started, like a block party on the 4th of July; what is a simile difference between a metaphor? They seem so much alike; how can you be sure?
With these simple breakdowns of further understanding what is a simile, we’ll show you how you can identify them from a metaphor, easily!
A key indicator of identifying a simile vs a metaphor is that a simile uses the words “Like” and “As” for their comparisons.
A metaphor is more like a symbolization of something rather than a straight-up comparison.
Let’s show you an example of what is a simile and a metaphor side by side so you can see the differences for yourself!
Simile: “You’re as slow as molasses in January.” – Gone With the Wind, 1939
Metaphor: “She was a mind floating in an ocean of confusion.” – Caroline B. Cooney
Can you spot the use of “as” in the simile and the symbolization in the metaphor?
What is a Simile Example
It’s best to learn what is a simile by reading examples! The similes directly below are common ones you’ve probably heard dozens of times, and perhaps didn’t know it was a simile after all.
Further down, you’ll have the chance to broaden your understanding of what is a simile by reading examples of similes from songs, poetry, and books!
- “As cool as a cucumber”
- “Like a deer in the headlights”
- “Have eyes like a hawk”
- “As clean as a whistle”
- “Fighting like cats and dogs”
- “As good as gold”
- “Jumps like a frog”
- “As tough as leather”
- “Eat like a pig”
- “As busy as a bee”
- “Sleeps like a baby”
- “As light as a feather”
- “Runs like the wind”
- “As gentle as a lamb”
- “Fit like a glove”
Simile Examples in Books & Poetry
- “There’s no self to hate. It’s like, when I look into myself, there’s no actual me—just a bunch of thoughts and behaviors and circumstances … It’s like those nesting dolls, you know?” – “Turtles All the Way Down”, 2017, by John Green
- “Thy soul was like a Star, and dwelt apart. Thou hadst a voice whose sound was like the sea. Pure as the naked heavens, majestic, free.” – “London 1802”, 1802, William Wordsworth
- “The water made a sound like kittens lapping.” – “The Yearling”, 1938, by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
- “Either way, or both, he died like a bug under a microscope.” – “The Long Walk”,1979, by Stephen King
- “In spite of our warnings and explanations it drew him as the moon draws water, but drew him no nearer than the light-pole on the corner, a safe distance from the Radley gate.” – “To Kill a Mockingbird”,1960, by Harper Lee
- “Time has not stood still. It has washed over me, washed me away, as if I’m nothing more than a woman of sand, left by a careless child too near the water.” – “The Handmaid’s Tale”, 1985, by Margaret Atwood
- “Just like moons and like suns, With the certainty of tides, Just like hopes springing high, Still I’ll rise.” – “And Still I Rise”, 1978, by Maya Angelou
- “Love set you going like a fat gold watch” – “Morning Song”, 1961, by Sylvia Plath
- “She entered with ungainly struggle like some huge awkward chicken, torn, squawking, out of its coop.” – “Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of the Three Gables”, 1926, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
- “His heart was thumping like a drum, but his face, from long habit, was probably expressionless.” – “1984”, 1949, by George Orwell
- “Kate inched over her own thoughts like a measuring worm.” – “East of Eden”, 1952, by John Steinbeck
- “-She tried to get rid of the kitten which had scrambled up her back and stuck like a burr just out of reach.” – “Little Women”,1868, by Louisa May Alcott
- “The cafe was like a battleship stripped for action.” – “The Sun Also Rises”,1926, by Ernest Hemingway
- “In the eastern sky there was a yellow patch like a rug laid for the feet of the coming sun.” – “The Red Badge of Courage”, 1895, by Stephen Crane
Simile Examples in Movies
- “And your music sounds like monkeys in a zoo.” – A Goofy Movie, 1995
- “Alone in the dark with nothing but your thoughts, time can draw out like a blade.” – The Shawshank Redemption, 1994
- “Your voice is like a combination of Fergie and Jesus.” – Step Brothers, 2008
- “I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.” – Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, 1977
- “Hurry up, man. I have a dead grandmother that moves faster than you.” – Cool Runnings, 1993
- “I’m as serious as a heart attack.” – Jackie Brown, 1997
- “He looks like a deranged Easter bunny.” – A Christmas Story, 1983
- “When Mary holds your hand, you feel so grand, your heart starts beatin’ like a big brass band.” – Marry Poppins, 1964
- “Or I will track you down and suck every ounce of blood from your body until you look like a deflated whoopee cushion!” – Hotel Transylvania, 2012
- “Well, when I told him I loved him, he beamed like a Brooklyn schoolkid with a ticket to the World Series.” – Lady Gangster, 1942
- “You’re as cuddly as a cactus, you’re as charming as an eel.” – The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, 1966
- “You know, a thing about a shark, he’s got… lifeless eyes. Black eyes, like a doll’s eyes.” – Jaws, 1975
- “Yes, the selfish man is like a mangy dog chasing a cautionary tale.” – Wreck-It Ralph, 2012
- “Cheer up. A hickey from Kenickie is like a Hallmark card.” – Grease, 1978
- “Feel the flow, feel it. It’s circular. It’s like a carousel. You pay the quarter; you get on the horse. It goes up and down and around. Circular. Circle. With the music, the flow. All good things.” – Happy Gilmore, 1996
- “You put a mouse on the stage, and your saloon’s gonna be as empty as death valley on a cold day in June when the snow don’t fall.” – An American Tail: Fievel Goes West,1991
- “The way of a man with a maid… Taking the best years of her life and then casting her aside like an old glove!” – Peter Pan, 1953
- “You sound like a landlord with eviction papers.” – Holiday Inn, 1942
- “Boys, I’ve been framed like the Mona Lisa and you can print that.” – Johnny Dangerously, 1984
- “Clouds are like dreams floating across a sky-blue mind.” – The Outlaw Josey Wales, 1976
- “It’s like tryin’ to drive a toaster through a car wash.” – Apollo 13, 1995
- “You almost went out like a candle!” – Alice in Wonderland, 1951
- “We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punch line.” – A Few Good Men, 1992
- “You gotta admit, I played this stinking city like a harp from hell!” – Batman Returns, 1992
- “But like a phoenix rising from the ashes, I have ascended.” – Double Dragon, 1994
- “As you can see, I can’t stay with you, dear. I’m melting like a snow cone in Phoenix.” – Mrs. Doubtfire, 1993
- “Yeah. He’s sitting by the phone like a dumbbell just waiting for you to call him back.” – Casino, 1995
- “Brother this trip is going to make LSD feel like aspirin.” – The Green Berets, 1968
- “You’re as lovely as your name.” – Cinderella, 1950
- “But it’s repulsive, revolting and wrong chewing and chewing all day long… the way that a cow does.” – Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, 1971
- “Oh, look at him, sailing along as cool as you please, like a blooming toff out for a pleasure spin on a Sunday afternoon at Henley.” – The Snow Goose, 1954
- “The blackness of my belt is like the inside of a coffin on a moonless night.” – Beverly Hills Ninja, 1997
- “The silence before you strike and the noise afterwards. It rises. It rises up, like a storm. As if you were the thunder god himself.” – Gladiator, 2000
- “Shut up. You’ve got a voice like a foghorn.” – Anna Christie, 1930
- “My kid brother looked like a tick about to pop.” – A Christmas Story, 1983
- “Marriage should be like a ski jump. Sudden, swift, reckless. Starting on the heights, leaping into the void, never knowing the end, never caring!” – The Moon’s Our Home, 1941
- “Hey, you laugh like a donkey!” – Pinocchio, 1940
- “You’re so wise. Like a miniature Buddha, covered in hair.” – Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, 2004
- “You’ve got a big mouth, like a big ugly toad!” – Drunken Dragon, 1985
- “No, it totally makes sense. It’s like a giant beehive. They’re the workers and that’s their queen. It controls them.” – How to Train Your Dragon, 2010
- “Certain as the sun rising in the east.” – Beauty and the Beast, 1991
- “I always feel like the general of an army when I start dating a guy, plotting my strategy and maneuverings, knowing his weak points, what would hurt him, seduce him. It’s horrible.” – Before Sunrise, 1995
- “It is like a finger pointing a way to the moon. Don’t concentrate on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory.” – Enter the Dragon, 1973
- “I’m happier than a tornado in a trailer park!” – Cars, 2006
Simile Examples in Songs
- “It’s been a hard day’s night, and I been working like a dog / It’s been a hard day’s night, I should be sleeping like a log” – “A Hard Day’s Night” by The Beatles
- “Drinkin’ coffee black as iron” – “By and By” by Caamp
- “Loving him is like driving a new Maserati down a dead-end street” – “Red” by Taylor Swift
- “Oh if you need a friend, I’m sailing right behind. Like a bridge over troubled water, I will ease your mind” – “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon and Garfunkel
- “Come a little closer ’cause you looking thirsty / I’ma make it better, sip it like a Slurpee / Snow cone chilly / Get it free like Willy / In the jeans like Billie / You be poppin’ like a wheelie” – “Ice Cream” by BLACKPINK, Feat. Selena Gomez
- “Just like a moth drawn to a flame / Oh, you lured me in, I couldn’t sense the pain” – “Stitches” by Shawn Mendes
- “I’m like a bird / I’ll only fly away” – “I’m Like a Bird” by Nelly Furtado
- “Body like a back road / drivin’ with my eyes closed / I know every curve like the back of my hand” – “Body Like a Back Road” by Sam Hunt
- “Oh, oh, oh / I wanna be free, yeah / to feel the way I feel / Man, I feel like a woman” – “Man! I Feel Like A Woman!” by Shania Twain
- “Ex’s and the oh, oh, oh’s they haunt me / Like ghosts they want me” – “Ex’s And Oh’s” by Elle king
- “Like fire in my veins / you’re my ecstasy” – “H.O.L.Y.” by Florida Georgia Line
- “Now let me welcome everybody to the Wild Wild West / A state that’s untouchable like Eliot Ness” – “California Love” by Tupac Shakur, Feat. Dr. Dre
- “Just like a crow chasing the butterfly / Dandelions lost in the summer sky / When you and I were getting high as outer space / I never thought you’d slip away” – “The Crow & the Butterfly” by Shinedown
- “Go on and try to tear me down / I will be rising from the ground like a skyscraper” – “Skyscraper” by Demi Lovato
- “That’s why I’m easy / I’m easy like Sunday morning” – “Easy” by Lionel Richie
- “Just like fire / Burning out the way / If I can light the world up for just one day” – “Just Like Fire” by Pink
- “Straddle the line in discord and rhyme / I’m on the hunt, I’m after you / Mouth is alive / with juices like wine and I’m hungry like the wolf” – “Hungry Like the Wolf” by Duran Duran
- “Now I’m floatin’ like a butterfly / Stinging like a bee / I earned my stripes.” – “Roar” by Katy Perry
- “Hit me like a ray of sun / Burning through my darkest night” – “Halo” by Beyoncé
Look at you, with the articulate glow of knowing what is a simile and how to use it; you’ll be making similes left and right, now.
If you’d like to know more about the difference between similes and metaphors learn more here! You can never learn too much; your brain will be excited to soak in even more fun knowledge.
Thanks for stopping by to learn what is a simile; we wish you luck like a gambler about to pull the lever on a slot machine!