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Figure of speech involving a comparison between two unlike entities. In a simile, unlike a metaphor, the resemblance is indicated by the words like or as. Similes in everyday speech reflect simple comparisons, as in He eats like a bird or She is slow as molasses. Similes in literature may be specific and direct or more lengthy and complex. The Homeric, or epic, simile, which is typically used in epic poetry, often extends to several lines.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on simile, visit Britannica.com.