simile

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simile

(sĭm`əlē) [Lat.,=likeness], in rhetoric, a figure of speech in which an object is explicitly compared to another object. Robert Burns's poem "A Red Red Rose" contains two straightforward similes:
My love is like a red, red rose
  That's newly sprung in June:
My love is like the melody
  That's sweetly played in tune.
The epic, or Homeric, simile is an elaborate, formal, and sustained simile derived from those of Homer.

Simile

 

a category in stylistics and poetics; a figure of speech comparing two things that share a common feature. The aim of the simile is to reveal new and important attributes in the thing being compared. For example, the simile “The poet’s madness eternal/Is like a fresh spring amid the ruins” (V. Solov’ev) indirectly evokes an image of the unfailing “pulse” and “boundless” vital force of the poetic word against a background of “finite” empirical reality.

A simile is comprised of the thing being compared (the object of the simile), the thing with which it is juxtaposed (the means), and their common feature (the basis of the simile). The simile enhances a line’s literary effect by revealing the basic trait of the object of the simile and other attributes of the object as well.

The simile is widely used in folklore and poetry. It may be figurative, for example, “And their curls as white as morning snow on the glorious summit of a burial mound” (A. S. Pushkin), or emotive, for example, “Beautiful as an angel from heaven” (M. Iu. Lermonotov); it may also combine both functions. The conjunctions “as,” “like,” “as if,” and “similar to” generally join the parts of the simile.

V. V. KURILOV