Striking Similes, Page 7 (Q-R-S)

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].)


Quaking and quivering like a short-haired puppy after a ducking

Questions and answers sounding like a continuous popping of corks

Quiet as a nun's face

Quietly as a cloud he stole

Quietude which seemed to him beautiful as clear depths of water

Quivering like an eager race-horse to start


Rage, rage ye tears, that never more should creep like hounds about God's footstool

Ran like a young fawn

Rattle in the ear like a flourish of trumpets

Rays springing from the east like golden arrows

Red as the print of a kiss might be

Redolent with the homely scent of old-fashioned herbs and flowers

Reflected each in the other like stars in a lake

Refreshed like dusty grass after a shower

Refreshing as descending rains to sunburnt climes

Remote as the hidden star

Restless as a blue-bottle fly on a warm summer's day

Revealed his doings like those of bees in a glass hive

Rich as the dawn

Ride like the wind through the night

Rivers that like silver threads ran through the green and gold of pasture lands

Roared like mountain torrents

Rolling it under the tongue as a sweet morsel

Round my chair the children run like little things of dancing gold

Ruddy as sunrise

Ruddy his face as the morning light

Ruffling out his cravat with a crackle of starch, like a turkey when it spreads its feathers

Running to and fro like frightened sheep

Rushing and hurrying about like a June-bug


Sanctuaries where the passions may, like wild falcons, cover their faces with their wings

Sayings that stir the blood like the sound of a trumpet

Scattered love as stars do light

Sea-gulls flying like flakes of the sea

Sentences level and straight like a hurled lance

Shadowy faces, known in dreams, pass as petals upon a stream

Shake like an aspen leaf

Shaken off like a nightmare

Shapeless as a sack of wool

Shattered like so much glass

She brightened like a child whose broken toy is glued together

She could summon tears as one summons servants

She danced like a flower in the wind

She disclaimed the weariness that dragged upon her spirits like leaden weights

She exuded a faint and intoxicating perfume of womanliness, like a crushed herb

She felt like an unrepentant criminal

She fled like a spirit from the room

She flounders like a huge conger-eel in an ocean of dingy morality

She gave him a surprised look, like a child catching an older person in a foolish statement

She gave off antipathies as a liquid gives off vapor

She has great eyes like the doe

She heard him like one in a dream

She let the soft waves of her deep hair fall like flowers from Paradise

She looked like a tall golden candle

She looked like the picture of a young rapt saint, lost in heavenly musing

She moved like mirth incarnate

She nestles like a dove

She played with a hundred possibilities fitfully and discursively as a musician runs his fingers over a key-board

She played with grave cabinets as a cat plays with a mouse

She saw this planet like a star hung in the glistening depths of even

She seemed as happy as a wave that dances on the sea

She shall be sportive as the fawn

She stood silent a moment, dropping before him like a broken branch

She that passed had lips like pinks

She walked like a galley-slave

She walks in beauty like the night

She was as brilliant, and as hard too, as electric light

She was silent, standing before him like a little statuesque figure

Shining like the dewy star of dawn

Shivering pine-trees, like phantoms

Showy as damask-rose and shy as musk

Shrill as the loon's call

Shrivel like paper thrust into a flame

Shy as the squirrel

Sights seen as a traveling swallow might see them on the wing

Silence deep as death

Silence now is brooding like a gentle spirit over the still and pulseless world

Silence that seemed heavy and dark; like a passing cloud

Sinks clamorous like mill-waters at wild play

Sits like the maniac on his fancied throne

Skies as clear as babies' eyes

Sleek and thick and yellow as gold

Slender and thin as a slender wire

Slowly as a tortoise

Slowly as the finger of a clock, her shadow came

Slowly moved off and disappeared like shapes breathed on a mirror and melting away

Slowly, unnoted, like the creeping rust that spreads insidious, had estrangement come

Small as a grain of mustard seed

Smooth as a pond

Smooth as the pillar flashing in the sun

Snug as a bug in a rug

Soaring as swift as smoke from a volcano springs

So elusive that the memory of it afterwards was wont to come and go like a flash of light

So my spirit beat itself like a caged bird against its prison bars in vain

Soft as a zephyr

Soft as sleep the snow fell

Soft as Spring

Soft as the down of the turtle dove

Soft as the landscape of a dream

Soft as the south-wind

Soft in their color as gray pearls

Soft vibrations of verbal melody, like the sound of a golden bell rung far down under the humming waters

Some gleams of feeling pure and warm as sunshine on a sky of storm

Some like veiled ghosts hurrying past as though driven to their land of shadows by shuddering fear

Some minds are like an open fire--how direct and instant our communication with them

Something divine seemed to cling around her like some subtle vapor

Something resistant and inert, like the obstinate rolling over of a heavy sleeper after he has been called to get up

Something sharp and brilliant, like the glitter of a sword or a forked flash of lightning

Sorrowful eyes like those of wearied kine spent from the plowing

Spread like wildfire

Squirrel-in-the-cage kind of movement

Stamping like a plowman to shuffle off the snow

Stared about like calves in a pen

Steadfast as the soul of truth

Steals lingering like a river smooth

Still as death

Stood like a wave-beaten rock

Straight as a ray of light

Straight as an arrow

Streamed like a meteor through the troubled air

Streamed o'er his memory like a forest flame

Streaming tears, like pearl drops from a flint

Striking with the force of an engine of destruction

Strong as a bison

Style comes, if at all, like the bloom upon fruit, or the glow of health upon the cheek

Subtle as jealousy

Sudden a thought came like a full-blown rose, flushing his brow

Sudden sprays of rain, like volleys of sharp arrows rattled gustily against the windows

Suddenly, like death, the truth flashed on them

Sunbeams flashing on the face of things like sudden smilings of divine delight

Sunday mornings which seem to put on, like a Sabbath garment, an atmosphere of divine quietude

Supple and sweet as a rose in bloom

Sway like blown moths against the rosewhite flame

Sweet as a summer night without a breath

Sweet as music she spoke

Sweet as the rain at noon

Sweet as the smile of a fairy

Swift as a swallow heading south

Swift as lightning

Swift as the panther in triumph

Swifter than the twinkling of an eye

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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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