Striking Similes, Page 8 (T)

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].)


Talking and thinking became to him like the open page of a monthly magazine

Tall lance-like reeds wave sadly o'er his head

That like a wounded snake drags its slow length along

The anemone that weeps at day-break, like a silly girl before her lover

The army blazed and glowed in the golden sunlight like a mosaic of a hundred thousand jewels

The army like a witch's caldron seethed

The beating of her heart was like a drum

The beauty of her quiet life was like a rose in blowing

The billows burst like cannon down the coast

The birds swam the flood of air like tiny ships

The boat cuts its swift way through little waves like molten gold and opal

The boom of the surf grew ever less sonorous, like the thunder of a retreating storm

The breast-plate of righteousness

The breathless hours like phantoms stole away

The breeze is as a pleasant tune

The calm white brow as calm as earliest morn

The camp fire reddens like angry skies

The chambers of the house were haunted by an incessant echoing, like some dripping cavern

The church swarmed like a hive

The city is all in a turmoil; it boils like a pot of lentils

The clouds that move like spirits over the welkin clear

The clustered apples burnt like flame

The colored bulbs swung noon-like from tree and shrub

The crimson close of day

The curl'd moon was like a little feather

The curling wreaths like turbans seem

The dark hours are swept away like crumbling ashes

The dark mass of her hair shook round her like a sea

The dawn is rising from the sea, like a white lady from her bed

The dawn had whitened in the mist like a dead face

The dawn with silver-sandaled feet crept like a frightened girl.

The day stunned me like light upon some wizard way

The day was sweeter than honey and the honey-comb

The day have trampled me like armed men

The dead past flew away over the fens like a flight of wild swans

The deep like one black maelstrom round her whirls

The deepening east like a scarlet poppy burnt

The desolate rocky hills rolled like a solid wave along the horizon

The dome of heaven is like one drop of dew

The dreams of poets come like music heard at evening from the depth of some enchanted forest

The eagerness faded from his eyes, leaving them cold as a winter sky after sunset

The earth was like a frying-pan, or some such hissing matter

The eternal sea, which like a childless mother, still must croon her ancient sorrows to the cold white moon

The evening sky was as green as jade

The excitement had spread through the whole house, like a piquant and agreeable odor

The excitement of the thought buoyed his high-strung temperament like a tonic

The feathery meadows like a lilac sea

The firm body like a slope of snow

The first whiff of reality dissipated them like smoke

The floor, newly waxed, gleamed in the candle-light like beaten moonbeams

The fragrant clouds of hair, they flowed round him like a snare

The gathering glory of life shone like the dawn

The gesture was all strength and will, like the stretching of a sea-bird's wings

The girl's voice rang like a bird-call through his rustling fancies

The glimmer of tall flowers standing like pensive moon-worshipers in an ecstasy of prayerless bloom

The guides sniffed, like chamois, the air

The heavens are like a scroll unfurled

The hills across the valley were purple as thunder-clouds

The hoofs of the horses rang like the dumb cadence of an old saga

The hours crawled by like years

The hum of the camp sounds like the sea

The hurrying crowds of men gather like clouds

The ideas succeeded each other like a dynasty of kings

The impalpable presence of the new century rose like a vast empty house through which no human feet had walked

The inexorable facts closed in on him like prison wardens hand-cuffing a convict

The lake glimmered as still as a mirror

The land of gold seemed to hold him like a spell

The land was like a dream

The level boughs, like bars of iron across the setting sun

The light of London flaring like a dreary dawn

The lights blazed up like day

The lilies were drooping, white, and wan, like the head and skin of a dying man

The mellowing hand of time

The melody rose tenderly and lingeringly like a haunting perfume of pressed flowers

The Milky Way lay like diamond-dust upon the robe of some great king

The monk's face whitened like sea-foam

The moon drowsed between the trees like a great yellow moth

The moon on the tower slept soft as snow

The moonbeams rest like a pale spotless shroud

The moonlight lay like snow

The moonlight, like a fairy mist, upon the mesa spreads

The mortal coldness of the soul, like death itself comes down

The mountain shadows mingling, lay like pools above the earth

The mountains loomed up dimly, like phantoms through the mist

The music almost died away, then it burst like a pent-up flood

The name that cuts into my soul like a knife

The nervous little train winding its way like a jointed reptile

The new ferns were spread upon the earth like some lacy coverlet

The night like a battle-broken host is driven before

The night yawned like a foul wind

The ocean swelled like an undulating mirror of the bowl of heaven

The old books look somewhat pathetically from the shelves, like aged dogs wondering why no one takes them for a walk

The old infamy will pop into daylight like a toad out of fissure in the rock

The penalty falls like a thunderbolt from heaven

The phrase was like a spear-thrust

The pine trees waved as waves a woman's hair

The place was like some enchanted town of palaces

The plains to northward change their color like the shimmering necks of doves

The poppy burned like a crimson ember

The prime of man has waxed like cedars

The public press would chatter and make odd ambiguous sounds like a shipload of monkeys in a storm

The purple heather rolls like dumb thunder

The rainbows flashed like fire

The river shouted as ever its cry of joy over the vitality of life, like a spirited boy before the face of inscrutable nature

The roofs with their gables like hoods

The roses lie upon the grass like little shreds of crimson silk

The satire of the word cut like a knife

The scullion with face shining like his pans

The sea reeled round like a wine-vat splashing

The sea-song of the trampling waves is as muffled bells

The sea spread out like a wrinkled marble floor

The sea, that gleamed still, like a myriad-petaled rose

The sea was as untroubled as the turquoise vault which it reflected

The setting of the sun is like a word of peace

The sharp hail rattles against the panes and melts on my cheeks like tears

The ships, like sheeted phantoms coming and going

The silence seemed to crush to earth like a great looking-glass and shiver into a million pieces

The silvery morning like a tranquil vision fills the world

The sky burned like a heated opal

The sky gleamed with the hardness and brilliancy of blue enamel

The sky was as a shield that caught the stain of blood and battle from the dying sun

The sky was clear and blue, and the air as soft as milk

The sky was like a peach

The sky where stars like lilies white and fair shine through the mists

The solid air around me there heaved like a roaring ocean

The solid mountains gleamed like the unsteady sea

The soul is like a well of water springing up into everlasting life

The sound is like a noon-day gale

The sound is like a silver-fountain that springeth in a golden basin

The sound of a thousand tears, like softly pattering wings

The sound of your running feet that like the sea-hoofs beat

The spear-tongued lightning slipped like a snake

The Spring breaks like a bird

The stacks of corn in brown array, like tattered wigwams on the plain

The stars come down and trembling glow like blossoms on the waves below

The stars lay on the lapis-lazuli sky like white flower-petals on still deep water

The stars pale and silent as a seer

The strange cold sense of aloofness that had numbed her senses suddenly gave way like snow melting in the spring

The sudden thought of your face is like a wound when it comes unsought

The sun, like a great dragon, writhes in gold

The sun on the sea-wave lies white as the moon

The surf was like the advancing lines of an unknown enemy flinging itself upon the shore

The terrible past lay afar, like a dream left behind in the night

The tide was in the salt-weed, and like a knife it tore

The time, gliding like a dream

The torrent from the hills leaped down their rocky stairways like wild steeds

The tree whose plumed boughs are soft as wings of birds

The uproar and contention pierced him like arrows

The veiled future bowed before me like a vision of promise

The velvet grass that is like padding to earth's meager ribs

The villa dips its foot in the lake, smiling at its reflection like a bather lingering on the brink

The voice that rang in the night like a bugle call

The warm kindling blood burned her cheeks like the breath of a hot wind

The waves were rolling in, long and lazy, like sea-worn travelers

The whole truth, naked, cold, and fatal as a patriot's blade

The wind all round their ears hissed like a flight of white-winged geese

The wind comes and it draws its length along like the genie from the earthen pot

The wine flows like blood

The woman seemed like a thing of stone

The words kept ringing in my ears like the tolling of a bell

The words of the wise fall like the tolling of sweet, grave bells upon the soul

The world had vanished like a phantasmagoria

The world is bitter as a tear

The world is in a simmer, like a sea

The world wavers within its circle like a dream

The years stretched before her like some vast blank page out to receive the record of her toil

The years vanished like a May snowdrift

The yellow apples glowed like fire

Their glances met like crossed swords

Their joy like sunshine deep and broad falls on my heart

Their minds rested upon the thought, as chasing butterflies might rest together on a flower

Their music frightful as the serpent's hiss

Their touch affrights me as a serpent's sting

Then fall unheeded like the faded flower

Then felt I like some watcher of the skies

Then it swelled out to rich and glorious harmonies like a full orchestra playing under the sea

Then the lover sighing like furnace

Theories sprouted in his mind like mushrooms

There is an air about you like the air that folds a star

There, like a bird, it sits and sings

There seemed to brood in the air a quiet benevolence of a Father watching His myriad children at play

There she soars like a seraph

There she stood straight as a lily on its stem

There slowly rose to sight, a country like a dragon fast asleep

There streamed into the air the sweet smell of crushed grass, as though many fields had been pressed between giant's fingers and so had been left

These eyes like stars have led me

These final words snapped like a whip-lash

These thoughts pierced me like thorns

They are as cruel as creeping tigers

They are as white foam on the swept sands

They are as white swans in the dusk, thy white hands

They are painted sharp as death

They broke into pieces and fell on the ground, like a silvery, shimmering shower of hail

They dropped like panthers

They fly like spray

They had hands like claws

They had slipped away like visions

They have as many principles as a fish has bones

They have faces like flowers

They hurried down like plovers that have heard the call

They look like rose-buds filled with snow

They seem like swarming flies, the crowd of little men

They seemed like floating flowers

They shine as sweet as simple doves

They stand like solitary mountain forms on some hard, perfectly transparent day

They vanished like the shapes that float upon a summer's dream

Thick as wind-blown leaves innumerable

Thickly the flakes drive past, each like a childish ghost

Thine eyes like two twin stars shining

This life is like a bubble blown up in the air

This love that dwells like moonlight in your face

This thought is as death

This tower rose in the sunset like a prayer

Those ancestral themes past which so many generations have slept like sea-going winds over pastures

Those death-like eyes, unconscious of the sun

Those eyelids folded like a white rose-leaf

Those eyes like bridal beacons shine

Thou art to me but as a wave of the wild sea

Thou as heaven art fair and young

Thou hadst a voice whose sound was like the sea

Thou must wither like a rose

Thou shalt be as free as mountain winds

Thou wouldst weep tears bitter as blood

Though bright as silver the meridian beams shine

Though thou be black as night

Thoughts vague as the fitful breeze

Three-cornered notes fly about like butterflies

Through the forest, like a fairy dream through some dark mind, the ferns in branching beauty stream

Through the moonlit trees, like ghosts of sounds haunting the moonlight, stole the faint tinkle of a guitar

Through the riot of his senses, like a silver blaze, ran the legend

Thy beauty like a beast it bites

Thy brown benignant eyes have sudden gleams of gladness and surprise, like woodland brooks that cross a sunlit spot

Thy carven columns must have grown by magic, like a dream in stone

Thy favors are but like the wind that kisses everything it meets

Thy heart is light as a leaf of a tree

Thy name burns like a gray and flickering candle flame

Thy name will be as honey on men's lips

Till death like sleep might steal on me

Till he melted like a cloud in the silent summer heaven

Time drops in decay, like a candle burnt out

Time like a pulse shakes fierce

To drag life on, which like a heavy chain lengthens behind with many a link of pain

To forsake as the trees drop their leaves in autumn

Toys with smooth trifles like a child at play

Transitory as clouds without substance

Transparent like a shining sun

Tree and shrub altered their values and became transmuted to silver sentinels

Trees that spread their forked boughs like a stag's antlers

Trembling like an aspen-leaf

Truths which forever shine as fixed stars

Turning easily and securely as on a perfect axle

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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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