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What Is a Simile?

Date Published: | Author: Mag Jehnsen | 1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars4 votes - 80.00% Click a star to vote

What is a simile? Simile vs metaphor is one of the harshest debates students who study English composition face. They simply cannot see the difference from the first sight even though these terms mean completely different things.

“Life is like gambling: you never know whether you will win or lose.”

Now, that is an example of a simile. This article will explain the simile meaning in details so that you will never confuse it with any other similar literary devices.

How to Define “Simile”?

What does simile mean? Without understanding it, you risk failing your English and literature essays.

Based on the example above, you may define simile as a phrase (word combination) that involves a comparison or contrast to explain things better. One of the most popular similes when it comes to romance is the one that compares “love” to “the bed of roses.” In fact, an author can use this phrase to describe other things. You can come up with your own similes once you realize the concept and how to form them.

If you are looking or the answer to your question, “What is simile,” pay attention to the words “like” and “as” because they refer to a comparison.

Defining the Term “Simile” and “Metaphor” to See the Difference

Speaking about comparisons, let’s go back to our metaphor vs simile issue. We cannot say that there is nothing in common between these two. They belong to the speech group known as literary devices and are meant to make the language more interesting and rich. At the same time, they still stand for a bit different things.

  1. As for the definition of simile, it is like metaphor, but not the same. If you look at the official simile definition, you’ll understand that it is great for known authors, public speakers, and writers who would like to make their pieces more alive and colourful. Similes can turn one’s paper into the engaging Broadway Hah, once again, we used a simile.
  2. Metaphors have a meaning different from the simile literary definition. While simile poetically describes some things through other things, a metaphor insists that one thing is actually another one. It rather defines a thing with the help of another instead of a regular comparison.

So, to elucidate various concepts or pint to the similarities between things, you can decide which one to use. Simile and metaphor are equally effective in writing or speech giving. These metaphor and simile examples will help to get the main idea:

  • James turned as fat as an elephant. (Simile)
  • This class is a barrel of monkeys. (Metaphor)
  • Her head is empty as a hole. (Simile)
  • I am a log when it comes to sleeping. (Metaphor)
  • It was as boring as doing math homework. (Simile)
  • She’s my cherry pie. (Metaphor)

So, you simply remove any words that refer to comprise (“as” and “like”), and you get a metaphor out of a simile. Simile example is the best way to see the difference.

You can also understand this part of figurative language better through:

  1. Hyperbole: Sarah is as beautiful as the ocean at night.
  2. Exaggeration: That killer was as cruel as a devil.

Vice versa, if you remove “as,” you obtain a metaphor expressed in the shape of hyperbole or exaggeration.

It all can sound a bit confusing, so we recommend developing a simile and metaphor worksheet with the examples of both not to get confused.

There Such Thing as Types of Similes?

The most popular type of simile is an epic simile. It was the first one to appear. Some call it Homeric simile as it comes from the times of Homer. Those are similes that are not really used in daily life as they may sound a bit outdated. In the Iliad, an example of such simile is:

As when the shudder of the west wind is suddenly rising scatters across the water,
and the water darkens beneath it, so darkening have settled the ranks of Achaians and Trojans in the plain.”

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