Difference Between Simile Vs Hyperbole

What is Simile?

A simile compares two things using “like” or “as”. It creates comparisons. It links different concepts with descriptive language. Similes make writing vivid. They use known things to illustrate new things.

What is Hyperbole?

Hyperbole exaggerates for emphasis. It uses overstatement for effect. Hyperbole is not meant literally. It heightens and stretches reality. This is to underscore a point. To provoke reflection. Or to be funny.

Common Simile Examples

  1. Busy as a bee
  2. Strong as an ox
  3. Light as a feather
  4. Cool as a cucumber
  5. Slow as a snail
  6. Blind as a bat
  7. Brave as a lion
  8. Cold as ice
  9. Slick as oil
  10. Stubborn as a mule

Common Hyperbole Examples

  1. I’ve told you a million times
  2. She is as heavy as an elephant
  3. He eats like a horse
  4. I have tons of homework to do
  5. The bag weighs a ton
  6. She cried an ocean of tears
  7. He runs faster than the wind
  8. I waited for ages
  9. She has hundreds of shoes
  10. The tower touched clouds

Simile Vs. Hyperbole

Compares using “like” or “as”Exaggerates beyond reality
Links different concrete items descriptivelyOverstates for emphasis
Uses figurative comparisonsNot meant to be literal
Compares common things to describe new thingsHeightens everyday through extremes

Examples of Simile in literature


“To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee

“Maycomb was an old town, but it was a tired old town when I knew it. In rainy weather the streets turned to red slop; grass grew on the sidewalks, the courthouse sagged in the square, and the gossip of the town was as yellow as the sunflowers around the bell tower.”

The author employs two similes to describe the town of Maycomb. The first one, “red slop,” compares the streets in rainy weather. Here, the simile paints a clear picture of the muddy and dirty conditions of the roads in town. The second simile, “as yellow as the sunflowers around the bell tower” demonstrates the gossip of the town. This comparison shows the pervasiveness and ubiquity of the town’s chatter, just as the sunflowers surround the bell tower. The yellow color also implies that the gossipy nature is unpleasant and unsavory.


“The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald

“He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God.”

Here, the author uses a simile to compare the mind of the narrator to “the mind of God”. It demonstrates the transcendent and limitless quality of his thoughts before being grounded by the physical reality of the kiss. This simile emphasizes the profound, almost divine nature of the narrator’s inner life. It also shows the way it is transformed by his connection to the girl.


“One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel García Márquez

“The world was so recent that many things lacked names, and in order to indicate them it was necessary to point with the finger: ‘Look, a shiny thing that makes a noise like a bee.'”

The author uses a simile to describe a new and unnamed object as “a shiny thing that makes a noise like a bee”. Here, the simile allows the reader to comprehensively imagine the object being pointed out. The comparison to a buzzing bee provides a concrete and sensory reference point. The simile highlights the sense of wonder and discovery in a world that is “so recent”. It shows that many things are still unnamed and are defined by their resemblance to familiar things.

Examples of Hyperbole in literature


“The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain

“I reckon I got to light out for the Territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she’s going to adopt me and sivilize me, and I can’t stand it. I been there before.”

In the passage, Huckleberry Finn exaggerates his aversion to being “sivilized” (civilized) by his Aunt Sally. He claims that he “can’t stand it” and must flee to the Territory to escape her attempts to reform him. The hyperbole emphasizes Huck’s strong desire for freedom and his resistance to conform to societal norms.


“The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger

“I’m the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. It’s awful. If I’m on my way to the store to buy a magazine, even, and somebody asks me where I’m going, I’m liable to say I’m going to the opera. It’s terrible.”

Here, the protagonist Holden Caulfield uses hyperbole to describe his tendency to lie. He claims to be “the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life”, which is an exaggerated sentence. He by stating that he might say he’s going to the opera when he’s simply going to buy a magazine, emphasizes his compulsive lying and his difficulty in being honest, even in trivial situations.


“To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee

“A day was twenty-four hours long but seemed longer. There was no hurry, for there was nowhere to go, nothing to buy and no money to buy it with, nothing to see outside the boundaries of Maycomb County.

Here, the narrator while using hyperbole describes the slow pace of life in Maycomb County. She exaggerates the length of a day and describes it “seemed longer” than twenty four hours. The hyperbole stresses the monotony and lack of excitement in the town, where there was “nowhere to go” and “nothing to buy”. The exaggeration highlights the isolated and uneventful nature of life in Maycomb.

Simile Vs Hyperbole
Simile Vs Hyperbole

Types of Similes

  1. Direct similes explicitly use “like” or “as” in comparison. E.g. “My love is like a red rose”.
  2. Implied similes don’t use those terms but imply comparison between elements. E.g. “Her eyes, stars under the midnight moon”.
  3. Compound similes use two or more comparative phrases when describing the same thing. E.g. “He runs like lightning and smooth as flowing silk”.

Importance of Similes

  1. Similes add color through descriptive comparisons.
  2. They link the unfamiliar to the familiar. This helps in understanding.
  3. Similes engage the reader’s imagination vividly.
  4. Comparisons make writing less abstract. It’s more tangible.
  5. Similes articulate subtle messages succinctly.

Importance of Hyperbole

  1. Hyperbole underscores points through deliberate extremes.
  2. Exaggeration adds humor, wit and drama.
  3. It hooks the reader’s attention with unexpected overstatement.
  4. Hyperbole conveys complexity succinctly through distortion.

In short, similes and hyperbole offer tools to highlight meanings. Similes compare unlike things descriptively. Hyperboles exaggerate reality for effect. When used skillfully, both devices can crystallize messages creatively. Add eloquence. And provoke introspection through surprise.

You might be interested: Simile vs Analogy

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