What is a Simile? 9 Types of Simile with Examples

What is a Simile?

A simile is a figurative language that compares unlike event or a thing with the words “like” or “as”, which tries to elucidate their similar features. Simile is one of the most popularly used linguistic devices in books, commercials and everyday conversations to create an impression of visual and high intensity.

Types of Similes

1. Obvious Similes

The writer creates an image that illustrates similarities between two concepts. These type of similes are commonly employed in everyday language and are easy to understood by the people.


  • She is as cute as a button.
  • He is as busy as a bee.
  • The news hit me like a ton of bricks.

2. Creative Similes

Similes that use one thing to explain another one by describing their likeness in a pretty and unique way. These similes involve more problem solving and include interpretation work from readers or listeners.


  • The sun contrasted with the sky as if they were the biggest fruit of fire.
  • Her voice was as soft as velvet drapes.
  • The stars were like diamonds which sparkled on a soft velvet stage.

3. Clichéd Similes

It is called worn-out simile. This simile has become a mix-copied phrase and as such has no longer the original and impactful meaning. Even if they are effective in particular cases, they might not help in that way to convey imaginative images in the same measure as the writing of creative similes.


  • As cold as ice.
  • As brave as a tiger. 
  • As strong as an elephant.

4. Extended Similes

These similes are also called epic similes. They are traditionally supplemented by additional images and details. The extended similes’ images get richer as time goes by. Such similes frequently consist of numerous composed objects and stretches for tens or even hundreds of poetic lines. An example from Homer’s Iliad:

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

5. Sensory Similes

Sensory similes involve comparisons that appeal to one or more of the five senses: Sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. Such similes are completely engaged in the action. Thus, it also doesn’t let the listener or reader depart from the emotional roller-coaster


  • Her perfume was as sweet as a bouquet of flowers.
  • The thunder rumbled like a distant drumbeat.
  • The fabric was as soft as a kitten’s fur.

6. Metaphorical Similes

Metaphorical similes compare the two concepts that are more abstracts or are conceptualized as they share a similarity, unlike the ones that are concrete or physical. Such similes tend to necessitate high level of the interpretation and they might be with help of conveying variety of thoughts or feelings.


  • Her love was like a lighthouse, guiding him through the darkest of times.
  • His words were like a double edged weapon, both comforting and cutting.
  • The truth was like a puzzle, waiting to be pieced together.

7. Ironic Similes

Ironic similes create a comparison between the things that are unexpected, contradictory and sometimes humorous. These similes are used to highlight the discrepancy between appearance and reality. They are also used to create a satirical effect. 


  • The party was as lively as a funeral.
  • He was as helpful as a screen door on a submarine.
  • The plan was as clear as mud.

8. Cultural Similes

Cultural similes mainly rely on cultural knowledge, traditions and customs in order to create meaning. These similes are specific to a particular region, language and group of people. They help to create a sense of shared understanding and identity. 


  • She was as graceful as a flamenco dancer. (Spanish culture)
  • He was as busy as a one-armed paperhanger. (American idiom)
  • The news spread like wildfire during the Diwali festival. (Indian culture)

9. Hyperbolic Similes

This type of simile is use for exaggeration in order to create a more intense and dramatic comparison. These similes are normally used to emphasize a particular quality and characteristic. It helps to convey strong emotions and opinions. 


  • I’m so hungry, I could eat an ox.
  • She is as old as the hills.
  • He ran faster than the speed of electricity.

Importance of Similes

Similes play a crucial role in language and communication by:

Enhancing Description: Similes help writers and speakers conjure up vivid images of people ,objects and experiences, befitting readers to create situational pictures as the artist intended .

Creating Emotional Impact: Through comparing and using a word pair phrase for those two unlike things they create, similes may help readers or listeners understand and even experience the subject and its meaning more intensely.

Improving Memorability: The comparisons, which are original and interesting due to their nature, can make for a less likely forgettable way of expressing ideas and descriptions, which is helped by the listeners’ mind retaining them even long after they’ve been encountered.

Showcasing Creativity: Simile is the kind of device that permits writers and speakers to create poems that are different from one another. This helps writers to stand out and to lure readers to their work.

Function of Similes

Similes serve several important functions in language and literature:

Clarification: Comparisons can be used to describe the complicated or opinions that are connected with something easier to grasp or have more meaning to someone else.

Emphasis: Either by contrasting a characteristic or quality in a simile to another thing or by mentioning the particular attribute or quality in a simile at the expense of others, the latter is found to be more significant and important.

Humor: Sometimes, similes can be applied in mentally humorous manner such as comparing two items that are not relative in an implausible and irrational way.

Characterization: In literature, similes may be used to represent facial appearance or character through which other beings or creatures already have association.


To conclude, simile is a an effective and unique literary routine that will make language more memorable. Applying the distinct types of similes and getting insight into their specific functions enables writers and speakers to use these linguistic abilities as a tool to construct visual pictures, to evoke feelings and to keep the audience interested and emotionally engaged.

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