Striking Similes, Page 5 (L)

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].)


Laboring like a giant

Languid streams that cross softly, slowly, with a sound like smothered weeping

Laughter like a beautiful bubble from the rosebud of baby-hood

Laughter like the sudden outburst of the glad bird in the tree-top

Lazy merchantmen that crawled like flies over the blue enamel of the sea

Leapt like a hunted stag

Let his frolic fancy play, like a happy child

Let in confusion like a whirling flood

Let your mouth murmur like the doves

Life had been arrested, as the horologist, with interjected finger, arrests the beating of the clock

Life stretched before him alluring and various as the open road

Life sweet as perfume and pure as prayer

Light as a snowflake

Lights gleamed there like stars in a still sky

Like a ball of ice it glittered in a frozen sea of sky

Like a blade sent home to its scabbard

Like a blast from a horn

Like a blast from the suddenly opened door of a furnace

Like a blossom blown before a breeze, a white moon drifts before a shimmering sky

Like a bright window in a distant view

Like a caged lion shaking the bars of his prison

Like a calm flock of silver-fleeced sheep

Like a cloud of fire

Like a cold wind his words went through their flesh

Like a crowd of frightened porpoises a shoal of sharks pursue

Like a damp-handed auctioneer

Like a deaf and dumb man wondering what it was all about

Like a dew-drop, ill-fitted to sustain unkindly shocks

Like a dipping swallow the stout ship dashed through the storm

Like a distant star glimmering steadily in the darkness

Like a dream she vanished

Like a festooned girdle encircling the waist of a bride

Like a flower her red lips parted

Like a game in which the important part is to keep from laughing

Like a glow-worm golden

Like a golden-shielded army

Like a great express train, roaring, flashing, dashing head-long

Like a great fragment of the dawn it lay

Like a great ring of pure and endless light

Like a great tune to which the planets roll

Like a high and radiant ocean

Like a high-born maiden

Like a jewel every cottage casement showed

Like a joyless eye that finds no object worth its constancy

Like a knight worn out by conflict

Like a knot of daisies lay the hamlets on the hill

Like a lily in bloom

Like a living meteor

Like a locomotive-engine with unsound lungs

Like a long arrow through the dark the train is darting

Like a mirage, vague, dimly seen at first

Like a miser who spoils his coat with scanting a little cloth

Like a mist the music drifted from the silvery strings

Like a moral lighthouse in the midst of a dark and troubled sea

Like a murmur of the wind came a gentle sound of stillness

Like a noisy argument in a drawing-room

Like a pale flower by some sad maiden cherished

Like a poet hidden

Like a river of molten amethyst

Like a rocket discharging a shower of golden stars

Like a rose embowered in its own green leaves

Like a sea of upturned faces

Like a shadow never to be overtaken

Like a shadow on a fair sunlit landscape

Like a sheeted ghost

Like a ship tossed to and fro on the waves of life's sea

Like a slim bronze statue of Despair

Like a snow-flake lost in the ocean

Like a soul that wavers in the Valley of the Shadow

Like a stalled horse that breaks loose and goes at a gallop through the plain

Like a star, his love's pure face looked down

Like a star that dwelt apart

Like a star, unhasting, unresting

Like a stone thrown at random

Like a summer cloud, youth indeed has crept away

Like a summer-dried fountain

Like a swift eagle in the morning glare breasting the whirlwind with impetuous flight

Like a thing at rest

Like a thing read in a book or remembered out of the faraway past

Like a tide of triumph through their veins, the red, rejoicing blood began to race

Like a triumphing fire the news was borne

Like a troop of boys let loose from school, the adventurers went by

Like a vaporous amethyst

Like a vision of the morning air

Like a voice from the unknown regions

Like a wandering star I fell through the deeps of desire

Like a watch-worn and weary sentinel

Like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed

Like a whirlwind they went past

Like a withered leaf the moon is blown across the bay

Like a world of sunshine

Like a yellow silken scarf the thick fog hangs

Like an alien ghost I stole away

Like an eagle clutching his prey, his arm swooped down

Like an eagle dallying with the wind

Like an engine of dread war, he set his shoulder to the mountain-side

Like an enraged tiger

Like an enthusiast leading about with him an indifferent tourist

Like an icy wave, a swift and tragic impression swept through him

Like an unbidden guest

Like an unbodied joy whose race is just begun

Like an unseen star of birth

Like an unwelcome thought

Like apparitions seen and gone

Like attempting to number the waves on the snore of a limitless sea

Like bells that waste the moments with their loudness

Like blasts of trumpets blown in wars

Like bright Apollo

Like bright lamps, the fabled apples glow

Like building castles in the air

Like bursting waves from the ocean

Like cliffs which have been rent asunder

Like clouds of gnats with perfect lineaments

Like cobwebs woven round the limbs of an infant giant

Like crystals of snow

Like dead lovers who died true

Like Death, who rides upon a thought, and makes its way through temple, tower, and palace

Like dew upon a sleeping flower

Like dining with a ghost

Like drawing nectar in a sieve

Like earth's decaying leaves

Like echoes from a hidden lyre

Like echoes from an antenatal dream

Like fixed eyes, whence the dear light of sense and thought has fled

Like footsteps upon wool

Like fragrance from dead flowers

Like ghosts, from an enchanter fleeing

Like ghosts the sentries come and go

Like golden boats on a sunny sea

Like great black birds, the demons haunt the woods

Like green waves on the sea

Like having to taste a hundred exquisite dishes in a single meal

Like Heaven's free breath, which he who grasps can hold not

Like helpless birds in the warm nest

Like iridescent bubbles floating on a foul stream

Like kindred drops mingled into one

Like laying a burden on the back of a moth

Like lead his feet were

Like leaves in wintry weather

Like leviathans afloat

Like lighting a candle to the sun

Like making a mountain out of a mole-hill

Like mariners pulling the life-boat

Like mice that steal in and out as if they feared the light

Like mountain over mountain huddled

Like mountain streams we meet and part

Like music on the water

Like notes which die when born, but still haunt the echoes of the hill

Like oceans of liquid silver

Like one pale star against the dusk, a single diamond on her brow gleamed with imprisoned fire

Like one who halts with tired wings

Like one who talks of what he loves in dream

Like organ music came the deep reply

Like pageantry of mist on an autumnal stream

Like phantoms gathered by the sick imagination

Like planets in the sky

Like pouring oil on troubled waters

Like roses that in deserts bloom and die

Like rowing upstream against a strong downward current

Like scents from a twilight garden

Like separated souls

Like serpents struggling in a vulture's grasp

Like sheep from out the fold of the sky, stars leapt

Like ships that have gone down at sea

Like shy elves hiding from the traveler's eye

Like skeletons, the sycamores uplift their wasted hands

Like some grave night thought threading a dream

Like some new-gathered snowy hyacinth, so white and cold and delicate it was

Like some poor nigh-related guest, that may not rudely be dismist

Like some suppressed and hideous thought that flits athwart our musings, but can find no rest within a pure and gentle mind

Like some unshriven churchyard thing, the friar crawled

Like something fashioned in a dream

Like sounds of wind and flood

Like splendor-winged moths about a taper

Like stepping out on summer evenings from the glaring ball-room upon the cool and still piazza

Like straws in a gust of wind

Like summer's beam and summer's stream

Like sunlight, in and out the leaves, the robins went

Like sweet thoughts in a dream

Like the awful shadow of some unseen power

Like the bellowing of bulls

Like the boar encircled by hunters and hounds

Like the bubbles on a river sparkling, bursting, borne away

Like the cold breath of the grave

Like the creaking of doors held stealthily ajar

Like the cry of an itinerant vendor in a quiet and picturesque town

Like the dance of some gay sunbeam

Like the dawn of the morn

Like the detestable and spidery araucaria

Like the dew on the mountain

Like the dim scent in violets

Like the drifting foam of a restless sea when the waves show their teeth in the flying breeze

Like the embodiment of a perfect rose, complete in form and fragrance

Like the faint cry of unassisted woe

Like the faint exquisite music of a dream

Like the fair flower dishevel'd in the wind

Like the fair sun, when in his fresh array he cheers the morn, and all the earth reveals

Like the falling thud of the blade of a murderous ax

Like the fierce fiend of a distempered dream

Like the fitting of an old glove to a hand

Like the foam on the river

Like the great thunder sounding

Like the jangling of all the strings of some musical instrument

Like the jewels that gleam in baby eyes

Like the kiss of maiden love the breeze is sweet and bland

Like the long wandering love, the weary heart may faint for rest

Like the moon in water seen by night

Like the music in the patter of small feet

Like the prodigal whom wealth softens into imbecility

Like the quivering image of a landscape in a flowing stream

Like the rainbow, thou didst fade

Like the rustling of grain moved by the west-wind

Like the sap that turns to nectar, in the velvet of the peach

Like the sea whose waves are set in motion by the winds

Like the sea-worm, that perforates the shell of the mussel, which straightway closes the wound with a pearl

Like the setting of a tropical sun

Like the shadow of a great hill that reaches far out over the plain

Like the shadows of the stars in the upheaved sea

Like the shudder of a doomed soul

Like the silver gleam when the poplar trees rustle their pale leaves listlessly

Like the soft light of an autumnal day

Like the Spring-time, fresh and green

Like the stern-lights of a ship at sea, illuminating only the path which has been passed over

Like the sudden impulse of a madman

Like the swell of Summer's ocean

Like the tattered effigy in a cornfield

Like the vase in which roses have once been distilled

Like the visits of angels, short and far between

Like the whole sky when to the east the morning doth return

Like thistles of the wilderness, fit neither for food nor fuel

Like those great rivers, whose course everyone beholds, but their springs have been seen by but few

Like thoughts whose very sweetness yielded proof that they were born for immortality

Like to diamonds her white teeth shone between the parted lips

Like torrents from a mountain source, we rushed into each other's arms

Like troops of ghosts on the dry wind past

Like two doves with silvery wings, let our souls fly

Like two flaming stars were his eyes

Like vaporous shapes half seen

Like village curs that bark when their fellows do

Like wasted hours of youth

Like winds that bear sweet music, when they breathe through some dim latticed chamber

Like wine-stain to a flask the old distrust still clings

Like winged stars the fire-flies flash and glance

Like young lovers whom youth and love make dear

Lingering like an unloved guest

Lithe as a panther

Little white hands like pearls

Lofty as a queen

Loneliness struck him like a blow

Looked back with faithful eyes like a great mastiff to his master's face

Looking as sulky as the weather itself

Looking like a snarling beast baulked of its prey

Loose clouds like earth's decaying leaves are shed

Lost like the lightning in the sullen clod

Love as clean as starlight

Love brilliant as the morning

Love had like the canker-worm consumed her early prime

Love is a changing lord as the light on a turning sword

Love like a child around the world doth run

Love like a miser in the dark his joys would hide

Love shakes like a windy reed your heart

Love smiled like an unclouded sun

Love that sings and has wings as a bird

Lovely as starry water

Lovely the land unknown and like a river flowing

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Go to the Next Page: Striking Similes, Page 6 (M-N-O-P).

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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