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‘It’s been a hard day’s night,
and I’ve been working like a dog” ~ The Beatles
A simile is a figure of speech that says that one thing is like another different thing. We can use similes to make descriptions more emphatic or vivid.[C, U] (technical) a word or phrase that compares sth to sth else, using the words like or as, for example a face like a mask or as white as snow; the use of such words and phrases. [sự so sánh, ví von]
We often use the words as…as and like with similes.
Common patterns for similes, with example sentences, are:

• something [is*] AS adjective AS something
His skin was as cold as ice.
It felt as hard as rock.
She looked as gentle as a lamb.
• something [is*] LIKE something
My love is like a red, red rose.
These cookies taste like garbage.
He had a temper (that was) like a volcano.
• something [does**] LIKE something
He eats like a pig.
He smokes like a chimney.
They fought like cats and dogs.

* stative verb: be, feel, smell, taste etc
** action verb

Here are some more examples of well known similes:

as alike as two peas in a pod identical or nearly so
as bald as a coot completely bald
as big as a bus very big
as big as an elephant very big
as black as a sweep completely black sweep = chimney sweep
as black as coal completely black
as black as pitch completely black
as blind as a bat completely blind may be exaggeration
as blind as a mole completely blind may be exaggeration
as bold as brass very bold usually in a negative sense
as brave as a lion very brave
as bright as a button very bright
as bright as a new pin very bright and shiny
as busy as a beaver very busy
as busy as a bee very busy
as busy as a cat on a hot tin roof very busy
as calm as a millpond very calm and still usually said of water
as clear as a bell very clear of a sound
as clean as a whistle very clean
as clear as crystal very clear
as clear as mud not at all clear irony/sarcasm
as cold as ice very cold
as common as dirt very common, rude, vulgar usually said of a person
as cool as a cucumber cool
as cunning as a fox cunning
as dead as a doornail dead
as dead as the dodo dead, extinct the dodo is an extinct bird
as deaf as a post completely deaf may be exaggeration
as different as chalk from cheese very different
as drunk as a lord completely drunk
as dry as a bone very dry
as dry as dust very dry
as dull as dishwater dull, boring usually said of a person
as easy as A.B.C. very easy
as easy as apple-pie very easy
as flat as a pancake completely flat
as free as a bird very free to go anywhere
as fresh as a daisy very fresh
as gentle as a lamb very gentle usually said of a person
as good as gold very good and obedient usually said of a person
as happy as a lark very happy usually said of a person
as hard as nails very tough in character of a person
as hot as hell very hot
as hungry as a bear very hungry
as hungry as a wolf very hungry
as innocent as a lamb innocent, not worldly-wise usually said of a person
as large as life conspicuously present
as light as a feather very light
as light as air very light
as mad as a hatter completely crazy
as mad as a hornet very angry
as nutty as a fruitcake completely crazy
as obstinate as a mule very obstinate, stubborn
as old as the hills very, very old
as pale as death very pale or white in the face of a person
as plain as day very clear
as poor as a church mouse poverty-stricken
as poor as dirt poverty-stricken
as proud as a peacock very proud
as pure as snow pure and innocent
as pure as the driven snow pure and innocent
as quick as a wink very quick(ly)
as quick as lightning very quick(ly)
as quick as silver very quick
as quiet as a church mouse very quiet
as safe as houses very safe, secure
as scarce as hen’s teeth very, very scarce irony (hens have no teeth)
as sharp as a razor very sharp
as sick as a dog very sick
as sick as a parrot very sick
as silent as the dead completely silent
as silent as the grave completely silent
as slippery as an eel slippery, evasive, not to be trusted of a person
as slow as a snail very slow
as slow as a tortoise very slow
as smooth as silk very smooth
as snug as a bug in a rug in a very comfortable position humorous
as sober as a judge sober
as solid as a rock solid
as solid as the ground we stand on solid
as sound as a bell very clear of a sound
as sour as vinegar very sour
as steady as a rock very steady
as stiff as a board completely stiff
as straight as an arrow straight an arrow flies straight
as strong as an ox very strong
as stubborn as a mule very stubborn, obstinate
as sturdy as an oak very strong and solid
as sure as death and taxes absolutely certain to happen
as tall as a giraffe very tall
as thin as a rake very thin
as timid as a rabbit very timid
as tough as leather very tough
as tough as nails very tough often said of a person
as tough as old boots very tough often said of a person
as welcome as a skunk at a lawn party not welcome at all irony/sarcasm (skunks stink)
as white as a ghost very pale or white in the face of a person
as white as a sheet pure white
as white as snow pure white
as wise as Solomon very wise King Solomon
as wise as an owl very wise

[is] LIKE something possible meaning (depending on context)
like a rose beautiful
like a volcano explosive
like garbage disgusting
like an animal inhuman
like spaghetti entangled
like dewdrops sweet and pure
like golddust precious
like a tip very untidy (tip = garbage dump)
like a dream wonderful, incredible
like stars bright and beautiful
[does] LIKE something meaning
to drink like a fish to drink a lot
to eat like a bird to eat very little
to eat like a horse to eat a lot
to eat like a pig to eat impolitely
to fight like cats and dogs to fight fiercely
to sing like an angel to sing beautifully
to sleep like a log to sleep well and soundly
to smoke like a chimney to smoke heavily, all the time
to soar like an eagle to fly high and free
to work like a dog to work very hard

Note that with the AS…AS pattern, the first AS is sometimes suppressed, for example:
• His skin was cold as ice.
• He ran as fast as the wind.
• He is larger than life.
• They ran as if for their lives.
• His explanation was as clear as mud. (not clear at all since mud is opaque)
• The film was about as interesting as watching a copy of Windows download. (long and boring)
• Watching the show was like watching paint dry. (very boring)
• A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle – Irina Dunn
• Dawn breaks open like a wound that bleeds afresh – Wilfred Owen
• Death has many times invited me: it was like the salt invisible in the waves – Pablo Neruda
• Guiltless forever, like a tree – Robert Browning
• Happy as pigs in mud – David Eddings
• How like the winter hath my absence been – William Shakespeare
• As idle as a painted ship upon a painted ocean – Samuel Taylor Coleridge
• Jubilant as a flag unfurled – Dorothy Parker
• So are you to my thoughts as food to life – William Shakespeare
• Yellow butterflies flickered along the shade like flecks of sun – William Faulkner
• A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle – U2
• Cheaper than a hot dog with no mustard – Beastie Boys
• I must do what’s right, as sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti – Toto
• It’s been a hard day’s night, and I’ve been working like a dog – The Beatles
• Like A Rolling Stone – Bob Dylan
• Like a bat outta [out of] hell – Meat Loaf
• My heart is like an open highway – Jon Bon Jovi
• These are the seasons of emotion and like the winds they rise and fall – Led Zeppelin
• Thick as a Brick – Jethro Tull
• You are as subtle as a brick to the small of my back – Taking Back Sunday

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