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Frank J. Wilstach, comp. A Dictionary of Similes. 1916.

George Eliot

Blindness acts like a dam, sending the streams of thought backward along the already-traveled channels, and hindering the course onward.

A vague caution, like that of a wild beast that is fierce but feeble—or like that of an insect whose little fragment of earth has given way, and made it pause in a palsy of distrust.

A cheek like an apple-blossom.

Close as a nut.

Cruelty, like every other vice, requires no motive outside of itself; it only requires opportunity.

Dark as pines that autumn never sears.

Deep and yet soft, like notes from some long chord responsive to thrilled air.

Dimly like a half-remembered dream.

Disappeared, like a passing gleam.

Dissolved like an unsubstantial pageant.

Dry as ashes.

Old men’s eyes are like old men’s memories, they are strongest for things a long way off.

Familiar, like the amulet worn on the heart.

Anger and power are as fatal as lightning.

Each quiet day has fled like the same moth, returning with slow wing, and pausing in the sunshine.

Frank as growths of spring.

As fresh as rain drops.

Fruitful as seeded earth.

Steady gaze, like little dogs face to face with one of their own kind.

Gentle as a feather-stroke.

Ghastly as smiles on some fair maniac’s face
Smiling unconscious o’er her bridegroom’s corse.

Grow like grass in May.

Hate is like fire; it makes even light rubbish deadly.

Hesitating, fluttering, like the bird with young wing, weak and dubious.

A woman’s hopes are woven as sunbeams; a shadow annihilates them.

Howls like a thousand demons.

Inevitable as the brute mother shields her young from attacks of the hereditary enemy.

Influences … inevitable as those musical vibrations which take possession of us with a rhythmic empire that no sooner ceases than we desire it to begin again.

Invariable as the waxen image of a little old lady under a glass case.

Invisible as thought.

Justice is like the Kingdom of God: It is not without us as a fact; it is within us as a great yearning.

A fine lady is a squirrel-headed thing, with small airs and small notions; about as applicable to the business of life as a pair of tweezers to the clearing of a forest.

Life is like a game of whist. I don’t enjoy the game much; but I like to play my cards well, and see what will be the end of it.

Lurks and clings as withering, damning blight.

Then Memory disclosed her face divine, that like the calm nocturnal lights doth shine within the soul.

Our two spirits mingled like scents from varying roses that remain one sweetness, nor can ever more be singled.

Neat as fresh spring herbs.

Paused, like some slow ship with sail unfurled waiting, in seas by scarce a wavelet curled.

Impatient people, according to Bacon, are like the bees, and kill themselves in stinging others.

Perfect as the dew-bead.

As plain as water’s water.

Quivering … like a cunning animal whose hiding-places are surrounded by swift-advancing flame.

Ready as bird that sees the sprinkled corn.

All serious reflections are like reflections in water—a pebble will disturb them, and make a dull pond sparkle.

Relentless as a curse.

Repose, as feebler wings do in a quiet nest.

Restless, as the fire that blows and spreads and leaps from high to higher where’er is aught to seize or to subdue.

Sad as twilight.

Scorches like a cave-hid dragon’s breath.

Shifts its scenery like a diorama.

Shrank like the snow that watchers in the vale see narrowed on the height each summer morn.

Silent as the elves.

You look … as silly as a tumbler when he’s been upside down and has got on his heels again.

Slays like lightning.

Works as slowly as old Doctor Time in curing folly.

The singer smiled, as doubtless Orpheus smiled, to see the animals both great and small, the mountainous elephant and the scampering mouse, held by the ears in decent audience.

Snapping like a mad dog.

Soft … like a whispered dream of sleeping music.

Soft as pattering drops that fall from off the eaves in fancy dance when clouds are breaking.

Struggles, like a living creature making its way from under a great snowdrift.

Sure as roundness in the dewdrop.

Swift as the wings of sound.

A swift movement, which was like a chained up resolution set free at last.

Swift as the vulture leaping on his prey.

Swift as the wind.

As swift
As bird on wing to breast its eggs again.

Swift as fairy thought.

Swifter than centaurs after rapine bent.

Swifter than sight.

Swiftly as smiles are caught in looks that meet.

Thick as stars above.

Thrilling her as with fire of rage divine
And battling energy.

Thrill in your veins like shouts of victory.

Transient as breath shaking a flame.

Transparent as a rock-pool.

Tuneless as a bag of wool.

Unknown as the Arimaspians.

Unlike as diamond is to charcoal.

Upward, like the simulated pyramid of flame on a monumental urn.

Useless as for her hand to try to grasp a shadow.

Gradually vanished like the receding hill-tops.

Veered like changing memories.

As willingly as any singing bird sets him to sing his morning roundelay, because he likes to sing and likes the song.

The happiest women, like the happiest nations, have no history.