What is Simile? Definition & Examples from Literature & Film


Definition: A simile is a figure of speech that directly compares two things, often employing “like” or “as” to draw the connection. This literary device creates vivid imagery or imparts a deeper understanding by highlighting similarities between disparate elements.

A simile doesn’t have to include “like” or “as” but can be done more subtly.

Simple Similes using “as” and “like” from everyday language

blind bat simile example

A blind bat

Here are examples of similes using common expressions from everyday language:

  • Busy as a bee
  • Blind as a bat
  • Cold as ice
  • Light as a feather
  • Strong as an ox
  • Smell like a rose
  • Eat like a pig
  • Fit like a glove
  • Soar like an eagle
  • Shine like the stars

Examples of Simile in Movies

Similes are most apparent in movie dialogue. Here are some similes found in famous movie quotes:

Forrest Gump (1994): “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

This simile compares life’s unpredictability to the uncertainty of choosing a chocolate from a box without a guide.

But the white feather at the movie’s end can also be said to be a (visual) simile. The feather symbolizes how Forrest moves through life – as light as a feather – in whichever direction the wind blows.

Read more on symbolism in film.

Moulin Rouge (2001): “No! Love is like oxygen.”

The quote “Love is like oxygen” from Moulin Rouge employs a simile, comparing love to oxygen.

This comparison highlights love’s essential, life-sustaining nature, suggesting it is as crucial to human existence as oxygen is for breathing.

Simili Examples from Literature

juliet is the sun simile example
Juliet is the sun.

Similes are common literary devices in poetry and prose. Below are examples from literature that showcase the effective use of similes:

From “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Eliot

“When the evening is spread out against the sky / Like a patient etherized upon a table”

T.S. Eliot

This simile compares the evening sky to a patient under anesthesia, creating a sense of stillness and unease.

From “Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare

“But soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.”

– Romeo

In this famous line, Juliet is compared to the sun, highlighting her beauty and how she stands out to Romeo.

From “Moby-Dick” by Herman Melville

“He looked like a man cut away from the stake, when the fire has overrunningly wasted all the limbs without consuming them, or taking away one particle from their compaced aged robustness. His whole high, broad form, seemed made of solid bronze, and shaped in an unalterable mould, like Cellini’s cast Perseus.”

– Herman Melville

In this passage from “Moby-Dick,” Melville uses not only simile (“like a man cut away from the stake”) but also imagery (“fire has overrunningly wasted all the limbs”) and metaphor (“made of solid bronze”).

These literary tools vividly convey resilience and unyielding strength, comparing the character’s physical robustness and unchangeable nature to a bronze statue, specifically referencing Cellini’s Perseus to emphasize timelessness and classical heroism.


Similes are linguistic tools that enrich language by drawing vivid comparisons between unlike things, using “like” or “as.”

They enhance descriptive writing, making it more engaging and relatable, by helping readers visualize concepts or emotions in a familiar context.

In movies, similes are mostly found in character dialogue or monologues.

Up Next: Onomatopoeia in Film and TV. Definition & Examples


  • Jan Sørup

    Jan Sørup is a indie filmmaker, videographer and photographer from Denmark. He owns filmdaft.com and the Danish company Apertura, which produces video content for big companies in Denmark and Scandinavia. Jan has a background in music, has drawn webcomics, and is a former lecturer at the University of Copenhagen.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.