Do you need simile examples to spice up your writing?
Are you looking for something that adds polish to your prose?
Well, you’re in luck.
Similes are just the tool you need to make your writing more colorful and engaging.
And to help you out, we’ve pulled together an extensive list of swipe-worthy simile examples to help spark your creativity.
Let’s get started.
What is a Simile?
A simile is a figure of speech used to compare two objects or concepts with one another using the words “like” or “as”. The objects are usually dissimilar enough that the comparison is surprising.
For example, look at this sentence:
She swaddled the baby until he was as snug as a bug in a rug is a simile.
It compares swaddling the baby to being wrapped snugly like a “bug in a rug.”
The comparison stands out because we are comparing the baby (cute and cuddly) to a bug (not so cute and cuddly).
Why Use Similes?
Here’s something you probably didn’t know:
The word “simile” comes from the Latin word similis meaning similar or like.
Now that we got that out of that way, let’s dive a little deeper into why we use similes in the first place.
So, a simile is used often to:
- Make a comparison
- Express an emotion
- Create a vivid mental image for the reader
In other words:
Similes help you paint a picture for your reader.
Think about our earlier example of She swaddled the baby until he was as snug as a bug in a rug.
You could instead say She wrapped the baby tightly in his blanket.
Sure, that describes a swaddled baby. But it doesn’t paint a picture of a baby lovingly wrapped in a soft, cozy blanket, so he is warm and safe.
And that, my friends, is the power of figurative language.
What’s the Difference Between Simile and Metaphor?
People sometimes confuse similes and the almighty metaphor.
You probably know the difference between these two literary devices, but if not, let’s recap simile vs metaphor:
- A simile will always make the comparison using the terms like or as.
- Metaphors use a direct comparison.
Life is a roller coaster is a metaphor example.
Life is like a rollercoaster is a simile example.
Similes vs Comparisons: Is There a Difference?
Similes are sometimes confused with simple comparisons.
Your daughter looks just like you is an explicit comparison, not a simile, even though it uses the word like. Comparing a child’s appearance to that of a parent isn’t unusual, so it’s not a true simile.
(Remember: a true simile compares two dissimilar things using like or as).
Your daughter has a smile as bright as sunshine would be a comparison using a simile because a smile and sunshine are two totally different things.
Simile Examples in Literature
You’ll find countless examples of similes in literature – which makes sense because, well, it’s literature.
Now, one of the most famous simile examples might be a line from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens:
Old Marley was as dead as a doornail.
Such imagery, right?
Let’s dissect this:
How can a person be as dead as an inanimate object?
Well, it’s not possible. But that’s not the point. The big idea here is how Dickens compared Old Marley’s current living status (deceased, in case you forgot) to something that wasn’t alive in the first place.
In other words:
Old Marley is very much dead.
But just saying that he’s dead isn’t very entertaining (it’s sad, really). So to enhance the comparison and create a more vivid picture of Marley’s current state (again, deceased) Dickens uses a simile.
Let’s dive into some more simile examples in literature:
1984 by George Orwell
He sat as still as a mouse, in the futile hope that whoever it was might go away after a single attempt.
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
Is love a tender thing? It is too rough, too rude, too boisterous, and it pricks like a thorn.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Like bees swarming after their queen, mother and daughters hovered about Mr. March the next day, neglecting everything to look at, wait upon, and listen to the new invalid, who was in a fair way to be killed by kindness.
Horseradish by Lemony Snicket
A library is like an island in the middle of a vast sea of ignorance, particularly if the library is very tall and the surrounding area has been flooded.
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
The pain is like an axe that chops my heart.
Simile Examples in Music
Musicians are masters of using similes to express emotions and paint pictures for the listener.
Let’s take a look at a few popular examples.
(Feel free to sing along if you’ve got rhythm… And even if you don’t).
Rapper’s Delight by The Sugarhill Gang
I don’t mean to brag, I don’t mean to boast
But we like hot butter on a breakfast toast.
To be clear, they are not saying that they like butter on their toast…though they may.
They’re saying they’re popular and sought-after performers.
Let’s get this party rolling with even more examples of similes in music?
I’m Like a Bird by Nelly Furtado
I’m like a bird, I’ll only fly away.
I don’t know where my soul is (soul is)I don’t know where my home is
And baby all I need for you to know is
I’m like a bird
I’ll only fly away
Easy by Lionel Richie
That’s why I’m easy
I’m easy like Sunday morning
That’s why I’m easy
I’m easy like Sunday morning
Halo by Beyoncé
Hit me like a ray of sun
Burning through my darkest night
You’re the only one that I want
Think I’m addicted to your light
Diamonds by Rihanna
Shine bright like a diamond
Shine bright like a diamond
Shining bright like a diamond
We’re beautiful like diamonds in the sky
It’s My Life by Bon Jovi
It’s my life
My heart is like the open highway
Like Frankie said, ‘I did it my way’
I just want to live while I’m alive
It’s my life
A Hard Day’s Night by The Beatles
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
But when I get home to you I find the things that you do
Will make me feel alright
Candle in the Wind by Elton John
And it seems to me you lived your life
Like a candle in the wind
Never knowing who to cling to
When the rain set in
And I would’ve liked to know you
But I was just a kid
Your candle burned out long before
Your legend ever did
Hungry Like The Wolf by Duran Duran
In touch with the ground
I’m on the hunt I’m after you
Smell like I sound, I’m lost in a crowd
And I’m hungry like the wolf
Simile Examples in Poetry
Poetry is a great place to use similes when you want to paint evocative pictures for your reader.
When people discuss similes and poetry, A Red, Red Rose by Robert Burns is an often-used example.
Read how Burns compares his love to a red rose and, later, a sweet melody:
O my Luve is like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve is like the melodies
That’s sweetly played in tune.
Let’s explore a few more examples of similes in poetry:
Daffodils by William Wordsworth
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Harlem by Langston Hughes
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore-
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over-
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
A Birthday by Christina Rossetti
My heart is like a singing bird
Whose nest is in a water’d shoot;
My heart is like an apple tree
Whose boughs are bent with thickest fruit;
Spring is Like a Perhaps Hand by E.E. Cummings
Spring is like a perhaps hand
(which comes carefully
out of Nowhere) arranging
a window, into which people look (while
arranging and changing placing
carefully there a strange
thing and a known thing here) and
changing everything carefully
Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
Twinkle, twinkle little star
How I wonder what you are
Up above the world so high
Like a diamond in the sky.
Simile Examples in Film & TV
The beloved movie Forrest Gump has one of the most famous similes EVER:
Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.
There’s a similar line from The Last Don, based on the book by Mario Puzo (the guy that wrote The Godfather):
Life is like a box of hand grenades. You never know what will blow you to kingdom come.
Each of these similes is saying the same thing:
We don’t know what life has in store for us.
But by comparing life’s unknowns to chocolates (and hand grenades), we get a more relatable and memorable message… Maybe not so much with the hand grenades, but you get the idea.
If you’d like a few more examples of similes in Film and TV, read on!
State Farm commercials
Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.
“…Ogres are like onions…They have layers.”
“Your voice is like a combination of Fergie and Jesus.”
“I’m a fish with a nose like a sword.”
The Grinch Who Stole Christmas
“You’re as cuddly as a cactus, you’re as charming as an eel.”
Common Examples of Simile (From Life, Love, & Everyday Speech)
Our everyday speech is littered with similes. You probably don’t realize how frequently you use them because they’re as common as pig tracks in wet weather or as ticks on a junkyard dog.
Here are some common similes using as:
- sick as a dog
- easy as pie
- happy as a clam
- cute as a button
- big as a house
- tough as nails
- white as a ghost
- hot as hell
- nutty as a fruitcake
- clear as mud
- strong as an ox
- clean as a whistle
- comfortable as a bed of nails
- different as night and day
- thin as a rail
- deep as the ocean
- dry as the desert
- solid as quicksand
- sweet as sugar
Here are some common similes using like:
- slept like a log
- fought like cats and dogs
- like shooting fish in a barrel
- fits like a glove
- runs like the wind
- grow like a weed
- like a steel trap
- like two peas in a pod
- flowed like a river
- swim like a fish
- busy like a bee
- slept like a baby
- eats like a pig
- moves like a snail
- cuts like butter
- leaks like a sieve
- soared like an eagle
- like a fish out of water
- works like a charm
- hurts like the devil
And let’s not forget these famous quotes about life and love that use similes to enhance their meaning:
Love is like friendship caught on fire.Bruce Lee
Love is like a faucet; it turns off and on.Billie Holiday
Love is like the wind, you can’t see it but you can feel it.Nicholas Sparks
Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.Albert Einstein
Life is like writing with a pen. You can cross out your past but you can’t erase it.E.B. White
Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. The hands can’t hit what the eyes can’t see.Muhammad Ali
Parents are like God because you wanna know they’re out there, and you want them to think well of you, but you really only call when you need something.Chuck Palahniuk
Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?Mark Twain
A room without books is like a body without a soul.Marcus Tullius Cicero
Which Simile Examples Will You Use?
Similes are a powerful literary device to use in your writing and we hope these great examples inspired you.
Whether you’re writing a poem, memoirs, social media rants, or blog posts, similes help you paint a picture that pulls your reader into your story and makes your work a little more interesting.
Now that you’ve got all these examples in your writing arsenal, you’re poised to write some of your best work ever.
What similes are you excited to use in your next piece of writing?