Home  »  A Dictionary of Similes  »  Samuel Butler

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

Samuel Butler

Like Philip and Mary on a shilling.

Nothing binds so fast as souls in pawn, and mortgage past.

Break like an o’er-bent bow.

A buffoon is like a mad dog, that has a worm in his tongue, which makes him bite at all that light in his way.

Let business, like ill watches, go
Sometimes too fast, sometimes too slow.

Busy as a child at play.

Certain as a gun.

Circle, like a bear at stake.

He wears his Clotths like a Hide, and shifts them no oftener than a Beast does his Hair.

Zeal corrupts like standing water.

Critics are like a kind of flies, that breed,
In wild fig-trees, and when they are grown up feed
Upon the raw fruit of the nobler kind,
And by their nibbling in the outward rind
Open the pores, and make way for the sun
To ripen it sooner, than he would have done.

He crouds to the Bar like a Pig through a Hedge.

Dead as a herring.

Dive, like wild-fowl for salvation.

Easily as Hocus Pocus.

False as suborn’d perjurers.

Fat as Mother Nab.

Fight like mad or drunk.

Fled like crows when they smell powder.

Flutters up and down like a butterfly in a garden.

Full of maggots as a pastoral poet’s flock.

Hang like Mahomet in the air.

Many heads t’ obstruct intrigues,
As slowest Insects have most Legs.

Honor is like a widow, won
With brisk attempt and putting on;
With entering manfully, and urging,
Not slow approaches, like a virgin.

Honour is like that glossy bubble
That finds philosophers such trouble,
Whose least part crack’d, the whole does fly
And wits are crack’d to find out why.

Humble as a Jesuit to his superior.

He makes his ignorance pass for reserve, and, like a hunting-nag, leaps over what he cannot get through.

Inconstant as the moon.

Lagged behind,
Like boat against the tide and wind.

Lewd as drunkards that fall out.

Love is a fire that burns and sparkles
In men as naturally as in charcoals.

All love at first, like generous wine,
Ferments and frets, until ’tis fine;
But when ’tis settled on the lye,
And from the impurer matter free,
Becomes the richer still, the older,
And proves the pleasanter, the colder.

Love-passions are like parables, by which men still mean something else.

Love in your heart as idly burns
As fire in antique Roman urns.

Melts in the furnace of desire,
Like glass, that’s but the ice of fire.

Naturally as pigs squeak.

His observations are like a sieve, that lets the finer flour pass, and retains only the bran of things.

Pale as ashes, or a clout.

Pale as death.

Pursuing like a whirlwind.

Rugged as a Saracen.

Rugged as the coat of a colt that has been bred upon a common.

He is as tender of his clothes, as a coward is of his flesh, and as loath to have them disordered.

His tongue is like any kind of carriage, the less weight it bears, the faster and easier it goes.

His tongue is like a Bagpipe Drone, that has no Stop, but makes a continual ugly Noise, as long as he can squeeze any Wind out of himself.

True as the dial to the sun.

Catch truth and wisdom unawares,
As men do health in wholesome airs.

Catch Truth and Reason unawares,
As Men do Health in wholesome Airs.

Vices, like beasts, are fond of none but those that feed them.

Looking wise,
As men find woodcocks by their eyes.

His wit is like fire in a flint, that is nothing while it is in, and nothing again as soon as it is out.

All wit and fancy, like a diamond,
The more exact and curious ’tis ground,
Is forc’d every Carate to abate,
As much in value as it wants in weight.

Witnesses, like watches, go
Just as they’re set, too fast or slow.

Wriggle, like a screw.