© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.

Literature Glossary

Don’t be an oxymoron. Know your literary terms.

Over 200 literary terms, Shmooped to perfection.

Simile

Definition:

Similes make Shmoop smile like somethin' else.

That's a simile, albeit not a very good one. A simile is a figure of speech that makes use of the adverbs "like" or "as" to make a comparison or analogy. In that sense, it's a very specific kind of metaphor, but for the most part, we can think of it as its own separate beast.

Similes have been around forever. Greek poet guy Homer used them in his writing all the time, the longer the better. Check out our section on the Homeric simile (a.k.a. a heroic simile) in our learning guide on the Odyssey.

Can you find similes in non-ancient lit? Um, of course. William Shakespeare is probably Homer's heir to the simile throne, but poets and prosers today are still vying for the title. Plus, the things abound in pop music lyrics. She's like the wind, anyone?

Seriously, Shmoopers, similes are about as common as a cold. See what we did there?