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


Society is like air; very high up, it is sublimated—too low down, a perfect choke-damp.

Society, like the Roman youth at the circus, never shows mercy to the fallen gladiator.
—Honoré de Balzac

Man in society is like a flow’r,
Blown in its native bed.
’Tis there alone
His facilities expanded in full bloom
Shine out, there only reach their proper use.
—William Cowper

Society as cold as the glacier of an unsunned cavern.
—Oliver Wendell Holmes

Society is like a lawn, where every roughness is smoothed, every bramble eradicated, and where the eye is delighted by the smiling verdure of a velvet surface.
—Washington Irving

Society is like a large piece of frozen water; and skating well is the great art of social life.
—Letitia Elizabeth Landon

Society, like a woman, requires a special painter to delineate it in accordance with its own taste.
—Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve

Society is like the air—necessary to breathe but insufficient to live on.
—George Santayana

Society is in this respect like a fire—the wise man warming himself at a proper distance from it; not coming too close like a fool, who, on getting scorched, runs away and shivers in solitude, loud in his complaint that the fire burns.
—Arthur S. Schopenhauer

Society is like the echoing hills. It gives back to the speaker his words; groan for groan, song for song.
—David Thomas