A simile () is a figure of speech that directly compares two things. Similes differ from metaphors by highlighting the similarities between two things through the use of words such as “like” and “as”, while metaphors create an implicit comparison (i.e. saying something “is” something else). This distinction is evident in the etymology of the words: simile derives from the Latin word similis (“similar, like”), while metaphor derives from the Greek word metapherein (“to transfer”). While similes are mainly used in forms of poetry that compare the inanimate and the living, there are also terms in which similes are used for humorous purposes and comparison.
A metaphor is a figure of speech that directly refers to one thing by mentioning another for rhetorical effect. It may provide clarity or identify hidden similarities between two ideas. Antithesis, hyperbole, metonymy and simile are all types of metaphor. One of the most commonly cited examples of a metaphor in English literature is the “All the world’s a stage” monologue from As You Like It:
This quotation expresses a metaphor because the world is not literally a stage. By asserting that the world is a stage, Shakespeare uses points of comparison between the world and a stage to convey an understanding about the mechanics of the world and the behavior of the people within it.
The Philosophy of Rhetoric (1937) by rhetorician I. A. Richards describes a metaphor as having two parts: the tenor and the vehicle. The tenor is the subject to which attributes are ascribed. The vehicle is the object whose attributes are borrowed. In the previous example, “the world” is compared to a stage, describing it with the attributes of “the stage”; “the world” is the tenor, and “a stage” is the vehicle; “men and women” is the secondary tenor, and “players” is the secondary vehicle.
Other writers employ the general terms ground and figure to denote the tenor and the vehicle. Cognitive linguistics uses the terms target and source, respectively.
A figure of speech in which one thing is compared to another, in the case of English generally using like or as.
“A simile is a bit like a metaphor.”
The use of a word or phrase to refer to something that it is not, invoking a direct similarity between the word or phrase used and the thing described (but in the case of English without the words like or as, which would imply a simile); the word or phrase used in this way; an implied comparison.
The use of an everyday object or concept to represent an underlying facet of the computer and thus aid users in performing tasks.
“desktop metaphor; wastebasket metaphor”
To use a metaphor.
To describe by means of a metaphor.
a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable
“her poetry depends on suggestion and metaphor”
“when we speak of gene maps and gene mapping, we use a cartographic metaphor”
a thing regarded as representative or symbolic of something else
“the amounts of money being lost by the company were enough to make it a metaphor for an industry that was teetering”