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[sim-uh-lee] /ˈsɪm ə li/
a figure of speech in which two unlike things are explicitly compared, as in “she is like a rose.”.
Compare metaphor.
an instance of such a figure of speech or a use of words exemplifying it.
Origin of simile
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin: image, likeness, comparison, noun use of neuter of similis similar
Can be confused
metaphor, simile. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for simile


a figure of speech that expresses the resemblance of one thing to another of a different category, usually introduced by as or like Compare metaphor
Word Origin
C14: from Latin simile something similar, from similis like
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for simile

late 14c., from Latin simile "a like thing; a comparison, likeness, parallel," neuter of similis "like" (see similar). Both things must be mentioned and the comparison directly stated. To Johnson, "A simile, to be perfect, must both illustrate and ennoble the subject."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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simile in Culture
simile [(sim-uh-lee)]

A common figure of speech that explicitly compares two things usually considered different. Most similes are introduced by like or as: “The realization hit me like a bucket of cold water.” (Compare metaphor.)

Note: Some similes, such as “sleeping like a log,” have become clichés.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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