What is a simile?In this free English lesson you'll learn about similes: what does simile mean, what is the definition of a simile, and see a list of simile examples. By the end, the answers will be as clear as day. Speak English Fluently
Introduction to similes
If you’re wondering ‘What’s a simile?’ then you’re in the right place. In this lesson, we’ll cover: what does simile mean; you’ll get a list of 100 simile examples; as well as simile definitions and simile meanings. We’ll describe the difference between a simile vs. metaphor and we’ve even created a wonderful video of descriptive similes as examples of colloquial language in English, for you to enjoy. You can use the below table of contents to navigate this page.
What is a simile?
First let’s consider what a simile is. A simile involves the comparison of one thing with a different thing in order to add emphasis, colour or clarity to a description. Usually, the two things that are compared are unlike, but share a characteristic. Similes use ‘like’ or ‘as’ to compare two things. For example, she was as white as a ghost. He sang like a bird.
You can use similes to describe a person, or an object, or a landscape, an environment… you can use similes to describe anything really.
How to pronounce simile
Simile is an interesting word. It’s difficult to understand how to pronounce simile from its spelling. It’s difficult to understand how to spell simile from it’s pronunciation. So let’s look at both now.
The definition of simile, as well as the phonetic spelling and examples of how to pronounce simile can be found in the Cambridge dictionary.
How to spell simile phonetically UK: /ˈsɪm.ɪ.li/
How to spell simile phonetically US: /ˈsɪm.ə.li/
Now use the audio player to hear our head teacher Anna demonstrate how to pronounce simile in a British English accent. Why not record your own pronunciation on your phone and compare it with Anna’s.
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How to Pronounce Simile
The difference between a simile and a metaphor
A simile and a metaphor are both examples of figurative language. Figurative phrases give examples or descriptions that are not understandable in literal terms. Both similes and metaphors are used to make comparisons. However, metaphors compare two things directly whereas similes use the word ‘like’ or ‘as’ to make the comparison. Let’s look at an example using love.
Love simile: Their love was as hot as fire.
Love metaphor: Their love was a bonfire of emotions.
You can learn more common phrases in our 5 Star English courses:
Free English lesson on Similes
Here is our head English teacher, Anna, with a video lesson on 20 Similes in Colloquial English. You can download the notes for this lesson by subscribing to our free weekly English lessons.
Here is a list of similes – 100 similes with examples.
Below you will find a list of similes, 100 similes with examples for you to read, understand, and perhaps memorise a few of your favourites. We’ve helpfully ordered them into categories for you.
20 Funny similes for colloquial English
Let’s start by having a look at some funny similes that you can use in everyday, colloquial English. Some are more figurative than other simpler similes. To help you, we’ve provided a definition of the simile and simile examples.
As blind as a bat
Blind – ‘Help, I’m as blind as a bat without my glasses’.
As busy as a bee
Busy – ‘My little girl Alison has been as busy as a bee with school, homework, football practice and learning her lines for the school play. I can barely keep up’.
As cold as a fish
This is a funny one which means to be unemotional – ‘I really thought he cared about me, but when I told him I was moving away, he was as cold as a fish’.
As clean as a whistle
To be ‘as clean as a whistle’ means to be very clean. It can be used literally to mean something isn’t dirty or to describe someone or something that is free of incriminating evidence – ‘We had to let him go, we searched him and his bags but he was as clean as a whistle’.
As clear as mud
Something is very confusing or difficult to understand – ‘I’ve been studying algebra for two months now and it’s as clear as mud’.
As cool as a cucumber
To be calm and relaxed – ‘Some idiot has just run into the back of our car. I am absolutely fuming but Gareth, well, he’s as cool as a cucumber’.
As dead as a doornail
Completely lifeless. ‘The cat brought in a bird and I tried to save it but it was dead as a doornail’.
As fit as a fiddle
In good condition or health – ‘The doctor says I’m as fit as a fiddle and allowed to go back on the pitch’.
As fresh as a daisy
Either to be fresh and clean or to be full of energy and enthusiasm – ‘Little Leo has been off school with the chicken pox but today he’s turned up as fresh as a daisy’.
As tough as nails/as hard as nails
Very strong and determined – ‘Justine has been through so much this year. She lost her cat, she lost her job, she lost her Versace handbag, but she still keeps going with a smile on her face. She’s as tough as nails that girl’.
As good as gold
A very well-behaved child – ‘We had a lovely day on Saturday hanging out with my parents and Oliver was as good as gold, he loves his grandma’.
As mad as a box of frogs
Crazy (can be used to be kind or insulting) – ‘I love our neighbour – she’s as mad as a box of frogs and she’s so kind’.
As clear as day
Easy to see or understand – ‘She stood there smoking right outside the hospital door, even though there was a no smoking sign right in front of her, as plain as day. It’s so disrespectful!’
As pleased as Punch
Very pleased or happy – ‘If I get the promotion I want then I’ll be as pleased as Punch’.
As quiet as a mouse
Very very quiet – ‘I was supposed to be home over an hour ago. I’ll need to be quiet as a mouse to sneak in without waking her’.
As right as rain
To feel healthy or well again after being unwell, sad or under pressure. ‘Sorry I snapped at you earlier, I’m just tired. As soon as I have a good night’s sleep I’ll be as right as rain’.
As sick as a dog
To be very unwell, sick and vomiting – ‘Poor Angela. She’s not at work today because she’s ill. She’s as sick as a dog I was told’.
As easy as ABC
An easy learning process – ‘Is this your first time making cupcakes? Oh wonderful, well don’t be nervous, baking is as easy as ABC’.
As flat as a pancake
Very flat and level – ‘Compared to other countries with huge mountains and volcanoes, most of England is as flat as a pancake’.
As quick as a wink/flash
Very quickly – ‘She replied to my email as quick as a wink’.
Similes for Happy
Let’s start the next section of this list by looking at similes for happy. These happy similes will hopefully make you smile.
- Happy as a pig in muck
- Happy as larry
- Happy as a fish in water
- Happy as a clam
These next similes are all about animals. Animal similes are great as people can easily relate to these figurative descriptions.
- As happy as a clam
- As wise as an owl
- As strong as an ox
- As slippery as an eel
- As proud as a peacock
- As innocent as a lamb
- As quiet as a mouse
- As sly as a fox
- As free as a bird
- As dead as a dodo
- As graceful as a gazelle
- As hungry as a horse
- Like a fish out of water
What is talked about more in figurative language than love? Love similes are made famous in writing, movies and plays. Let’s look at a few of the most famous love similes.
- Love is like a red, red rose
- My love is like a deep well
- Love is like war
And to continue the theme of Love similes, let’s look at a few famous quotes:
- Bruce Lee: Love is like a friendship caught on fire
- Aretha Franklin: Falling out of love is like losing weight
- Oscar Wilde: A life without love is like a sunless garden when all the flowers are dead.
- Bon Jovi – My heart is like an open highway
Most of the similes we have looked at so far use ‘as …. as a …..’. However, you can use ‘Like similes’ to compare or describe something. Let’s have a look at a few like similes now.
- Working like a dog
- Eat like a pig
- Swims like a fish
- Fight like cats and dogs
- Soar like an eagle
- Shine bright like a diamond
- Leak like a sieve
- Slept like a baby
- Meander like a river
- Ran like a scared child
- Off like a shot
As fast as simile
Next we will have a quick look at a few fast similes. We’ll include as and like similes here as well as fast similes and slow similes.
- As fast as a speeding bullet
- It went like a flash
- As quick as lightning
- As rapid as a gazelle
- As quick as a fox
- As slow as a snail
- As slow as a tortoise
- Like watching paint dry
- Like watching grass grow
- Progress was like a glacier
As beautiful as simile
Beauty similes can contain the word beautiful, a synonym of beautiful or just be a beautiful simile in their own right. Let’s look at a few simile examples now.
- As beautiful as the first flower in spring.
- As beautiful as the day
- As beautiful as the snow
- As beautiful as a rose
- Beautiful as a sunset.
- Beautiful as the day we met
- As beautiful as ever
- As beautiful as I remember
- As pretty as a picture
- As cute as a button
As white as simile
75. As white as snow
76. As white as a sheet
77. As plain as paper
78. As white as a ghost
As cold as simile
79. As cold as ice
80. As cold as stone
81. As cold as a dog’s nose
As black as simile
82. As black as soot
83. As black as coal
As soft as simile
84. As soft as silk
85. As soft as a baby’s bottom
86. As soft as velvet
87. As soft as fur
Similes for excited
88. As excited as a kitten
89. As excited as a kid at Christmas
90. As kind as simile
91. As kind as a dove
92. As kind as an angel
As hot as simile
93. As hot as the sun
94. As hot as fire
95. As hot as hell
96. As angry as a bull
97. As angry as a hornet
98. As angry as a badger
89. As angry as can be
As quiet as simile
100. As quiet as a mouse
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