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Leon's List of English Similes

Compiled by Leon,  2007-present

 1558

Table of Contents

I.  Explicit Similes (as...as...)

II.  Implicit Similes (like....)

III.  Common Metaphorical Collocations

The Lists

Pic? Explicit Similes Implicit Similes

Cool Cat
As cool as a cat. ...like a cat

sleep like a cat =

live like a cat =

meaning:

sleep a long time

live carelessly 
(because cats have 9 lives)


Looney Toons' Wile E. Coyote
As wily as a coyote. X X

Sick Dog
As sick as a dog. like a puppy

...follows (sb) like a puppy.

meaning:

Sb follows sb wherever (like a puppy follows his mother).


Noisy Elephant
As noisy as a herd of elephants. Walk like an elephant. meaning:

walk with heavy / loud footsteps.


Sly Fox
As clever as a fox.
[good meaning]

As cunning as a fox.
[bad meaning]

As sly as a fox.
[bad meaning]

Fox.

(see fox metaphors)

metaphor's meaning:

She is a fox.  She is beautiful.


Quiet Mouse
As quiet as a mouse. X X

Wise Owl
As wise as an owl. Night owl

(see owl metaphors)

(Also, see below)

Big Bad Wolf
As hungry as a wolf. Hungry like a wolf. meaning:

very, very hungry

 

 

 

OTHER EXPLICIT SIMILES
As cute as a button.
As pretty as a picture.
As soft as a baby's behind.
As hard as a rock.
As dumb as rocks.
As brave as a lion.
As pure as the driven snow.
As white as the driven snow.
As black as night.
As red as a tomato.
As graceful as a swan.
As poor as a church mouse.
As slow as molasses in January.
As fast/quick as lightning.
As colorful as a rainbow.
As playful as a kitten.
As dead as a door nail.
As pale as a ghost.
As skinny as a rail.
As hungry as a hippo.
As sick as a dog.
As plain as day.
As fake as a three-dollar bill.
As crooked as a politician.
As happy as a lark.
As naked as a jay bird.
As blind as a bat.
As strong as a horse.
As dumb as an ox.
As tough as nails.
As harmless as a dove.
As stubborn as a mule.
As busy as a bee.

 

MORE IMPLICIT SIMILES

SIMILE MEANING
eat like a bird (eat very little)
live like a pig  (live very untidily)
eat like a pig  (eat very sloppily) [U.S.]
like a tiger  (very aggressive)
swim like a fish  (swim very well)
eyes like a hawk  (eyes, which can see the minutest detail, even from a great distance)
like a wolf in sheep's clothing  (cunning)
sleep like a baby  (sleep soundly)
work like the devil  (work hard)
drink like a fish  (drink a lot of alcohol/liquor)
run around like a chicken with its head cut off  (run around crazily)
live like a candle in the wind  (live dangerously)
lie like a sieve  (tell lies often)
take it like a man  (endure sth well) [as opposed to take it like a little boy]
as many as the sands of the seashore (innumerable)
like finding a needle in a haystack (nearly impossible to find)
sing like a bird  (sing very well)
multiply like rabbits  (have many babies)
to know ((sth)) like the back of one's hand (to know something very, very well)

 

 

 

The following are NOT similes, I call them:

'Common Metaphorical Collocations'

 

COLLOCATION MEANING
(derog. = derogatory = not nice!)
SAMPLE SENTENCE
airhead  A stupid person [derog.] (usually used for females) She is such an airhead.  She doesn't know very much.
bird brain A stupid person [derog.] What a bird brain!  You did something so stupid!
black heart evil personality She has a black heart.  
blockhead A stupid person [derog.] You are such a blockhead, Charlie Brown!  That was a stupid thing to do!
blue skies happiness I am seeing blue skies, because I am happy.
butter fingers  clumsy fingers [derog.] You have butter fingers.  Everything you touch, you drop.
copycat A person who copies other people (trying to be like them). I have a student who is a copycat.  She always wants to do what the other children want to do.  She has no mind of her own.
eagle eyes eyes with excellent vision He has eagle eyes.  He can see you from very far away.
egg head  A person who studies too much [derog.] He is such an egg head.  He won't play with us, because he is always studying.
forked tongue  a tongue, which speaks duplicity [derog.] He who has a forked-tongue, speaks in lies.  He says one thing, but means another.
four-eyes  A person with glasses [derog.] Hey, four-eyes!  Nice glasses.
gray skies melancholy I see only gray skies, because I am sad.
green thumb  a talent for growing plants He has a green thumb.  All his plants are growing very well.
lazybones A lazy person [derog.] You are such a lazybones!
lion-hearted  generous He is so lion-hearted.  He donates a lot to charity.
night owl A person who stays up late at night. I am a night owl.  I like to stay up late at night.
numbskull  A stupid person [derog.] You are such a numbskull!  That was a stupid thing to do.
red carpet royal treatment They rolled out the red carpet for him.  (They gave him the royal treatment).
rocket scientist  A very intelligent person. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand the law of inertia.
silver-tongued  having eloquence and/or flattery The silver-tongued lad flattered the ladies.
sunny disposition  happy personality She has a sunny disposition.  She is always happy.
sweet talk  praise given for the purpose of manipulation His sweet talk will get him nowhere.
white paper government report It is a 'white paper' about AIDS in the country.

 For more about similes, try these books.