vocabulary builder


Most of you may remember that a simile is a figure of speech in which one thing is compared with another, and that the comparison is usually introduced by the words  as or like.  For example, he is as brave as a lion, or he is as clever as a fox are very common similes that can also be found in Italian. In both examples the term of comparison is an animal.

Actually, animals are present in lots of similes, although the comparison may concern different qualities, positive or negative, in different languages throughout the world. What’s more, similes are part of our daily conversations and their list is really never-ending, as we continuously come up with new ones whenever we want to explain something or express our feelings and wish to be understood. In addition to this, new terms of comparisons can be borrowed from technology (fast as a click of a (computer) mouse, for example) or from the changing world around us.

Have a look at the following list of common similes in English. Can you spot similarities or differences with the Italian language?

fat as a cow

hungry as a hippo

blind as a bat

live like a pig (meaning to be very untidy)

strong as a horse

harmless as a dove

stubborn as a mule

busy as a bee

eat like a bird (meaning to eat very little)

swim like a fish (meaning to swim very well)

sleep like a log (meaning to sleep a lot)

sing like a bird (meaning to sing very well)

drink like a fish (drink a lot of alcohol)

run around like a chicken with its head cut off (run around crazily)

quiet as a mouse

Also colours are used in similes

white as snow

black as night

red as a tomato

Other terms of comparisons

pale as a ghost

fast as lightning

dead as a door nail

work like the devil

difficult like finding a needle in a haystack

Can you think of some more similes?

What about creating similes which are closer to you, concerning for example terms of comparison related to daily or school life? What about hateful/boring as a teacher? 😉


One thought on “Similes

  1. Well,there are a lot of similes that we use in Italian in the same way, but there are also new ones that I didn’t know… Other examples can be: “shining like the sun”or “slow as a snail”… In Italian we also say: “good as bread” and “strong/brave like a lion” while in English they say “strong like a horse”…

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