Simile  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

A simile is a technique that uses words such as "like" or "as" to compare two ideas. Even though similes and metaphors are both forms of comparison, similes allow the two ideas to remain distinct in spite of their similarities, whereas metaphors seek to equate two ideas despite their differences. For instance, a simile that compares a person with a bullet would go as follows: "John was a record-setting runner and as fast as a speeding bullet." A metaphor might read something like, "John was a record-setting runner. That speeding bullet could zip past you without you even knowing he was there."

A mnemonic for a simile is that "a simile is similar or alike."

Similes have been widely used in literature for their expressiveness as a figure of speech:

  • Curley was flopping like a fish on a line.
  • The very mist on the Essex marshes was like a gauzy and radiant fabric.
  • Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world like a Colossus.

Etymology

First attested 1393, from Latin simile ("comparison, likeness", "parallel"), originally from simile the neuter form of similis ("like, similar, resembling"). Confer the English similar.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Simile" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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