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Simile

 

Techniques > Use of language > Figures of speech > Simile

Method | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

A simile is a comparison of two two things, where attributes of one is transferred to the other.

Example

As deep as the ocean.

He look like a fish out of water.

You seem as happy as a duck in a deluge.

Discussion

When trying to describe something, it is often difficult to convey the idea, so stealing attributes of something else where the idea is clear is a way of communicating your idea.

A simile is not the same as a metaphor. Simile takes some attribute of the object and applies it to the subject. A metaphor takes all of the attributes of the object and applies them to the subject. The simile says 'A is like B in some way'. The metaphor equates, says 'A is B in all ways' or 'A = B'. Thus:

Simile: You are like a dog.

Metaphor: You are a dog.

Some similes are quite explicit, such as 'as wet as rain', whilst others are less clear, such as 'as wet as a bereft politician'.

Similes may be shortened, almost to metaphor, such as 'he was like a sword, reaching right to the real problem.' Others are more specific, 'his mind was like a sword, cutting through irrelevant data to find the real problem.'

Similes often use stereotypes, where the comparison is known by common assumption, such as 'He's as honest as a politician'.

Ironic reversal can be used to imply the opposite, such as 'as wet as the summer Sahara'.

 

Classification: Reference

See also

Association principle

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