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noun

Definition of simile 

: a figure of speech comparing two unlike things that is often introduced by like or as (as in cheeks like roses) — compare metaphor

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Simile vs. Metaphor

Many people have trouble distinguishing between simile and metaphor. A glance at their Latin and Greek roots offers a simple way of telling these two closely-related figures of speech apart. Simile comes from the Latin word similis (meaning “similar, like”), which seems fitting, since the comparison indicated by a simile will typically contain the words as or like. POINT REAL CO ARTIFACT TEXAS OUTSTANDING AA ARROWHEAD UVALDE AUTHENTIC Metaphor, on the other hand, comes from the Greek word metapherein (“to transfer”), which is also fitting, since a metaphor is used in place of something. “My love is like a red, red rose” is a simile, and “love is a rose” is a ARROWHEAD CO OUTSTANDING ARTIFACT UVALDE AUTHENTIC TEXAS POINT AA REAL metaphor.

Examples of simile in a Sentence

But Dickens finds the unexpected detail, the vivid simile. Think of Joe Gargery in Great Expectations, "with eyes of such a very undecided blue that they seemed to have somehow got mixed with their own whites." Or, in David Copperfield, Dora's cousin "in the Life-Guards, with such long legs that he looked like the afternoon shadow of somebody else." — James Wood, New Republic, 14 Dec. 1998 After the internship year, doctors assume greater responsibility for directing patient care. Dr. Shockcor at West Virginia offered a homely simile: "It's like working in a factory, putting doors on cars. I'm now responsible that the doors get put on right, whereas as an intern I had to make sure I had a door in my hands and didn't miss a car going by." — Michael Harwood, New York Times Magazine, 3 June1984
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Recent Examples on the Web

In a brilliant short essay, Lydia Kiesling solves this problem by piling up metaphors and similes. Sam Anderson, New York Times, "New Sentences: From Lydia Kiesling’s ‘What Does Being Pregnant Feel Like?’," 25 May 2018 Her class dissects song lyrics from Bruno Mars to detect and decipher hyperboles and similes. Jonece Starr Dunigan, AL.com, "Fairfield teacher uses reading to stop school-to-prison pipeline," 27 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'simile.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. HOUSING 1973 BRONCO F150 DASH F100 1979 ORIGINAL TRUCK F350 FRAME FORD F250 6AqF6.

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First Known Use of simile

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for simile

Middle English, from Latin, comparison, from neuter of similis

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The first known use of simile was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for simile

simile

noun

English Language Learners Definition of simile

grammar : a phrase that uses the words like or as to describe someone or something by comparing it with someone or something else that is similar

simile

noun

Kids Definition of simile

: a figure of speech comparing two unlike things using like or as “Their cheeks are like roses” is a simile. “Their cheeks are roses” is a metaphor.

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