Striking Similes, Page 3 (F-G-H)

This section of focuses on similes. Writers and speakers use similes to make descriptions more emphatic and vivid.

Similes, figures of speech that are a subset of metaphors, involve comparing one thing with another thing of a different kind, using the words "like" or "as". Writers and speakers use similes to make descriptions more emphatic or vivid.

Study these similes to better understand what these figures of speech are and how you might use them. Consider using these similes or those of your own creation in creative writing.

(A good source on why and how to use metaphors -- include their subset similes -- in creative writing is Purdue University's Online Writing Lab [OWL].)


Faces pale with bliss, like evening stars

Fade away like a cloud in the horizon

Faint and distant as the light of a sun that has long set

Faintly, like a falling dew

Fair and fleet as a fawn

Fair as a star when only one is shining in the sky

Fallen like dead leaves on the highway

Falling away like a speck in space

Fanciful and extravagant as a caliph's dream

Fawning like dumb neglected lap-dogs

Felt her breath upon his cheek like a perfumed air

Fields of young grain and verdured pastures like crushed velvet

Fierce as a bear in defeat

Fierce as the flames

Fills life up like a cup with bubbling and sparkling liquor

Fit closely together as the close-set stones of a building

Fix'd like a beacon-tower above the waves of a tempest

Flame like a flag unfurled

Flap loose and slack like a drooping sail

Flashed with the brilliancy of a well-cut jewel

Fled like sweet dreams

Fleet as an arrow

Flitted like a sylph on wings

Flowers as soft as thoughts of budding love

Fluent as a rill, that wanders silver-footed down a hill

Fluid as thought

Fluttered like gilded butterflies in giddy mazes

Fragile as a spider's web

Free as the air, from zone to zone I flew

Free as the winds that caress

Fresh and unworn as the sea that breaks languidly beside them

Fresh as a jewel found but yesterday

Fresh as the first beam glittering on a sail

Frightened like a child in the dark

Full-throated as the sea

Furious as eagles


Gazed like a star into the morning light

Glaring like noontide

Gleam like a diamond on a dancing girl

Glistening like threads of gold

Glitter like a swarm of fire-flies tangled in a silver braid

Glittering like an aigrette of stars

Gone astray as a sheep that is lost

Gone like a glow on the cloud at the close of day

Gone like tenants that quit without warning

Gorgeous as the hues of heaven

Grazing through a circulating library as contentedly as cattle in a fresh meadow

Great scarlet poppies lay in drifts and heaps, like bodies fallen there in vain assault


Hair as harsh as tropical grass and gray as ashes

Hangs like a blue thread loosen'd from the sky

Hard, sharp, and glittering as a sword

Harnessed men, like beasts of burden, drew it to the river-side

Haunts you like the memory of some former happiness

He began to laugh with that sibilant laugh that resembles the hiss of a serpent

He bent upon the lightning page like some rapt poet o'er his rhyme

He bolted down the stairs like a hare

He clatters like a windmill

He danced like a man in a swarm of hornets

He fell as falls some forest lion, fighting well

He fell down on my threshold like a wounded stag

He had acted exactly like an automaton

He lay as straight as a mummy

He lay like a warrior taking his rest

He lived as modestly as a hermit

He looked with the bland, expressionless stare of an overgrown baby

He played with grave questions as a cat plays with a mouse

He radiated vigor and abundance like a happy child

He sat down quaking like a jelly

He saw disaster like a ghostly figure following her

He snatched furiously at breath like a tiger snatching at meat

He spoke with a uniformity of emphasis that made his words stand out like the raised type for the blind

He swayed in the sudden grip of anger

He sweeps the field of battle like a monsoon

He that wavereth is like a wave of the sea, driven with the wind and tossed

He turned on me like a thunder-cloud

He turned white as chalk

He wandered restlessly through the house, like a prowling animal

He was as splendidly serious as a reformer

He was as steady as a clock

He was as wax in those clever hands

He was bold as the hawk

He was so weak now, like a shrunk cedar white with the hoar-frost

Hearts unfold like flowers before thee

Heavy was my heart as stone

Heeled like an avalanche to leeward

Her arms like slumber over my shoulders crept

Her banners like a thousand sunsets glow

Her beauty broke on him like some rare flower

Her beauty fervent as a fiery moon

Her breath is like a cloud

Her cheeks are like the blushing cloud

Her cheeks were wan and her eyes like coals

Her dusky cheek would burn like a poppy

Her expression changed with the rapidity of a kaleidoscope

Her eyes as bright as a blazing star

Her eyes as stars of twilight fair

Her eyes, glimmering star-like in her pale face

Her eyes were as a dove that sickens

Her face changed with each turn of their talk, like a wheat-field under a summer breeze

Her face collapsed as if it were a pricked balloon

Her face was as solemn as a mask

Her face was dull as lead

Her face was like a light

Her face was passionless, like those by sculptor graved for niches in a temple

Her hair dropped on her pallid cheeks, like sea-weed on a clam

Her hair hung down like summer twilight

Her hair shone like a nimbus

Her hair was like a coronet

Her hands are white as the virgin rose that she wore on her wedding day

Her hands like moonlight brush the keys

Her head dropped into her hands like a storm-broken flower

Her heart has grown icy as a fountain in the fall

Her holy love that like a vestal flame had burned

Her impulse came and went like fireflies in the dusk

Her lashes like fans upon her cheek

Her laugh is like a rainbow-tinted spray

Her lips are like two budded roses

Her lips like a lovely song that ripples as it flows

Her lips like twilight water

Her little lips are tremulous as brook-water is

Her long black hair danced round her like a snake

Her mouth as sweet as a ripe fig

Her neck is like a stately tower

Her pale robe clinging to the grass seemed like a snake

Her pulses flutter'd like a dove

Her skin was as the bark of birches

Her sweetness halting like a tardy May

Her two white hands like swans on a frozen lake

Her voice cut like a knife

Her voice like mournful bells crying on the wind

Her voice was like the voice the stars had when they sang together

Her voice was rich and vibrant, like the middle notes of a 'cello

Her words sounding like wavelets on a summer shore

Herding his thoughts as a collie dog herds sheep

Here and there a solitary volume greeted him like a friend in a crowd of strange faces

Here in statue-like repose, an old wrinkled mountain rose

Hers was the loveliness of some tall white lily cut in marble, splendid but chill

His bashfulness melted like a spring frost

His brow bent like a cliff o'er his thoughts

His cheeks were furrowed and twised like rain-washed crags

His eyes blazed like deep forests

His eyes glowed like blue coals

His eyes were hollows of madness, his hair like moldy hay

His face burnt like a brand

His face was glad as dawn to me

His face was often lit up by a smile like pale wintry sunshine

His fingers were knotted like a cord

His formal kiss fell chill as a flake of snow on the cheek

His fortune melted away like snow in a thaw

His glorious moments were strung like pearls upon a string

His indifference fell from him like a garment

His invectives and vituperations bite and flay like steel whips

His mind murmurs like a harp among the trees

His mind was like a lonely wild

His mind was like a summer sky

His nerves thrilled like throbbing violins

His retort was like a knife-cut across the sinews

His revenge descends perfect, sudden, like a curse from heaven

His spirits sank like a stone

His talk is like an incessant play of fireworks

His voice is as the thin faint song when the wind wearily sighs in the grass

His voice rose like a stream of rich distilled perfumes

His voice was like the clap of thunder that interrupts the warbling birds among the leaves

His whole soul wavered and shook like a wind-swept leaf

His words gave a curious satisfaction, as when a coin, tested, rings true gold

Hopeful as the break of day

How like a saint she sleeps

How like a winter hath my absence been

How like the sky she bends over her child

Howling in the wilderness like beasts

Huge as a hippopotamus

Humming-birds like lake of purple fire

Hushed as the grave

Hushed like a breathless lyre

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Editor's note: This section of is excerpted and adapted from Project Gutenberg's Fifteen Thousand Useful Phrases, by Grenville Kleiser.

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