What are Similes?

Our collection of similes

As alike as two peas in a pod

As American as apple pie

As bald as a coot

As black as Newgate’s knocker

As black as coal

As black as jet

As black as pitch

As black as the Earl of Hell’s waistcoat

As black as the ace of spades

As black as thunder

As black as your hat

As blind as a bat

As blind as a mole

As bold as brass

As boring as a wet weekend in Wigan

As boring as watching paint dry

As brave as a lion

As bright as a button

As bright as a new pin

As broad as it is long

As brown as a berry

As busy as a beaver

As busy as a bee

As busy as a one-armed paperhanger

As busy as a one-legged a*** kicker

As camp as a row of tents

As cheap as dirt

As clean as a whistle

As clear as a bell

As clear as crystal

As clear as day

As clear as mud

As cold as a well digger’s a***

As cold as a witch’s t**

As cold as any stone

As cold as blue blazes

As cold as charity

As cold as ice

As common as muck

As cool as a cucumber

As crazy as a loon

As crooked as a dog’s hind leg

As cross as two sticks

As cunning as a fox

As cute as a bug’s ear

As cute as a button

As daft as a brush

As dark as pitch

As dead as a dodo

As dead as a doornail

As dead as mutton

As deaf as a post

As deaf as a stone

As different as chalk and cheese

As difficult as nailing jelly to a tree

As drunk as a lord

As drunk as a skunk

As dry as a bone

As dry as a pommy’s bath towel

As dull as ditchwater

As dumb as a box of rocks

As easy as ABC

As easy as falling off a log

As easy as (apple) pie

As easy as taking candy from a baby

As far as the eye can see

As fast as greased lightening

As fast as his legs could carry him

As fine as frog’s hair

As fit as a butcher’s dog

As fit as a fiddle

As flat as a pancake

As free as a bird

As fresh as a daisy

As fresh as a mountain stream

As full as a fat lady’s sock

As full as an Alabama tick

As gentle as a lamb

As good as gold

As good as it gets

As good as new

As good as your word

As green as grass

As happy as a clam

As happy as a dog with two tails

As happy as a lark

As happy as a sandboy

As happy as Larry

As hard as a rock

As hard as iron

As heavy as lead

As helpless as a baby

As high as a kite

As honest as the day is long

As hot as Hades

As hot as blue blazes

As hungry as a hunter

As Irish as Paddy’s pig

As keen as mustard

As large as life

As light as a feather

As long as a month of Sundays

As long as my arm

As loose as a goose

As mad as a bear with a sore head

As mad as a hatter

As mad as a March hare

As mad as a wet hen

As many chins as a Chinese phone book

As merry as the day is long

As mild as milk

As miserable as sin

As naked as a jaybird

As near as dammit

As neat as a new pin

As nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs

As nervous as a whore in church

As nice as ninepence

As nutty as a fruit cake

As old as Methuselah

As old as the hills

As patient as Job

As p***ed as a newt

As p***ed as a rat

As plain as a pikestaff

As plain as day

As plain as the nose on your face

As playful as a kitten

As pleased as Punch

As poor as a church mouse

As pretty as a picture

As proud as Punch

As proud as a peacock

As pure as the driven slush

As pure as the driven snow

As queer as a chocolate orange

As queer as a nine bob note

As queer as folk

As quick as a flash

As quiet as a mouse

As rare as hens’ teeth

As rare as rocking horse s***

As red as a beetroot

As regular as clockwork

As right as ninepence

As right as rain

As safe as houses

As safe as the Bank of England

As scarce as hen’s teeth

As sharp as a tack

As sick as a dog

As sick as a parrot

As silent as the grave

As skinny as a rake

As slippery as an eel

As slow as molasses in January

As sly as a fox

As small as the hairs on a gnat’s bollock

As smooth as a baby’s bottom

As smooth as silk

As snug as a bug in a rug

As sober as a judge

As solid as a rock

As sound as a bell

As stiff as a poker

As straight as a die

As straight as an arrow

As strong as an ox

As stubborn as a mule

As sure as God made little green apples

As sure as eggs is eggs

As sweet as a nut

As sweet as pie

As thick as thieves

As thick as two short planks

As thin as a rail

As thin as a rake

As tight as Dick’s hatband

As tight as a drum

As tight as a duck’s arse

As tough as old boots

As true as the day is long

As ugly as sin

As useless as a chocolate fireguard

As useless as a chocolate teapot

As useless as tits on a boar

As warm as toast

As weak as gnat’s p***

As well as can be expected

As white as a ghost

As white as a sheet

As white as snow

As wise as an owl

Like a butcher’s dog

Like a chicken with its head cut off

The persistence of many of these phrases is demonstrated by the high percentage that have lasted since the 18th century, when Jonathan Swift published the poem A New Song of Similes, 1757:

(Note the use of the long ‘s’, which was used in the original publishing of the poem and is (somewhat inadequately) represented here as a lowercase ‘f’.)

My paffion is as muftard ftrong;

I fit all fober fad,

Drunk as a piper all day long,

Or like a March hare mad.

Round as a hoop the bumpers flow ;

I drink, yet can’t forget her ;

For, tho’ as drunk as David’s fow,

I love her ftill the better.

Pert as a pear-monger I’d be,

If Molly were but kind ;

Cool as a cucumber could fee

The reft of woman-kind.

Like a ftuck pig I gaping ftare,

And eye her o’er and o’er ;

Lean as a rake with fighs and care,

Sleek as a moufe before.

Plump as a partridge was I known,

And foft as filk my fkin ;

My cheeks as fat as butter grown;

But as a groat now thin.

I melancholy as a cat

Am kept awake to weep ;

But fhe, infenfible of that,

Sound as a top can fleep.

Hard is her heart as flint or flone;

She laughs to fee me pale,

And merry as a grig is grown,

And brifk as bottled ale.

The god of love at her approach

Is bufy as a bee!

Hearts found as any bell or roach

Are fmit, and figh like me.

Ay me! as thick as hops or hail,

The fine men croud about her:

But foon as dead as a door-nail

Shall I be, if without her.

Strait as my leg her fhape appears;

O were we join’d together!

My heart would be fcot-free from cares,

And lighter than a feather.

As fine as fivepence is her mien;

No drum was ever tighter ;

Her glance is as the razor keen,

And not the Sun is brighter.

As foft as pap her kiffes are ;

Methinks I tafte them yet ;

Brown as a berry is her hair,

Her eyes as black as jet.

As fmooth as glafs, as white as curds,

Her pretty hand invites :

Sharp as a needle are her words ;

Her wit like pepper bites.

Brifk as a body-loufe fhe trips,

Clean as a penny dreft ;

Sweet as a rofe her breath and lips,

Round as the globe her breaft.

Full as an egg was I with glee,

And happy as a king!

Good Lord! how all men envy’d me

She lov’d like any thing.

But falfe as hell, fhe, like the wind,

Chang’d, as her Sex muft do ;

Tho’ feeming as the turtle kind,

And like the gofpel true.

If I and Molly could agree,

Let who would take Peru!

Great as an emp’ror fhould I be,

And richer than a Jew.

Till you grow tender as a chick,

I’m dull as any poft :

Let us like burs together flick,

And warm as any toaft.

You’ll know me truer than a dye,

And wifh me better fped,

Flat as a flounder when I lie,

And as a herring dead.

Sure at a gun fhe’ll drop a tear.

And figh perhaps, and wifh,

When I am rotten as a pear,

And mute as any fifh.

Gary Martin is a writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.

Gary Martin

Writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.