Word Game: Similes

Pic from baldworm.blogspot.com

A few weeks ago, I blogged about an alphabet game I found in a book published in 1940 called The Fun Encyclopedia. My father passed this book to me, and with it another book (which my grandfather originally owned) called The Complete Book of Games by Clement Wood and Gloria Goddard, which also came out a whopping 72 years ago.

The red binding is cracked, the pages are a yellowish-tan, and some of the games are outdated (for instance, one about sending telegrams). However, there are still some gems in this treasured gift.

Here’s another Amaze-ing Words Wednesday treat! A word game based on similes. In fact, this is the party game played in The Christmas Carol (1984) by guests at the party hosted by Ebenezer Scrooge’s nephew. (In fact, the one simile I found in Dickens’s original novella was the sentence “Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail.”)

So the rules are simply this. A simile is presented. (Random House Dictionary defines a simile as “a figure of speech in which two unlike things are explicitly compared.” The two unrelated things are connected by the words “as,” “like,” or “than.”) The adjective is stated, but you must fill in the comparative noun, and the word “as” is always used. An example (which you should all know if you listened to Foreigner):  Cold as _____. [ice]

Now let’s see how you do with the following similes from The Complete Book of Games (1940):

  1. Black as ____________.
    Pic from myteachingspirit.blogspot.com
  2. Blind as a ___________.
  3. Busy as a ___________.
  4. Clean as a __________.
  5. Clear as  ___________.
  6. Dry as a ___________.
  7. Fit as a ____________.
  8. Flat as a ___________.
  9. Good as ___________.
  10. Light as a __________.
  11. Mad as a __________.
  12. Neat as a __________.
  13. Pretty as a _________.
  14. Quick as __________.
  15. Sharp as a _________.
  16. Slow as  __________.
  17. Stiff as a __________.
  18. Thick as __________.
  19. Ugly as ___________.
  20. White as __________.

Answers (some have several options):

  1. Black as coal/night/pitch/sin.
    Pic from buzzingwithmsb.blogspot.com
  2. Blind as a bat.
  3. Busy as a bee.
  4. Clean as a whistle.
  5. Clear as a bell/crystal/daylight.
  6. Dry as a bone.
  7. Fit as a fiddle.
  8. Flat as a pancake.
  9. Good as gold.
  10. Light as a feather.
  11. Mad as a hatter/March hare.
  12. Neat as a pin.
  13. Pretty as a picture.
  14. Quick as lightning/a wink.
  15. Sharp as a razor (not mentioned in the book, but I’ve also heard “sharp as a tack.”)
  16. Slow as a tortoise/molasses in January (I would have said “turtle“; surely that counts.)
  17. Stiff as a board/poker.
  18. Thick as molasses/thieves.
  19. Ugly as sin.
  20. White as snow.

There were many more similes provided in the book. Indeed, some are outdated. For instance, has anyone ever heard the following?

  • Full as a tick.
  • Mean as gar broth.
  • Plain as a pikestaff.
  • Stupid as an ostrich.
  • Safe as the Bank of England.

I hadn’t.

Similes are wonderful! They help us clarify an adjective by bringing up a visual image of something we can compare it to. There are the ones we have all heard, and the ones authors come up with on their own. It’s a lot of fun as a writer to try to come up with a simile that expresses a situation or a character’s emotion.

What are your favorite similes? How did you do on the quiz? Do you enjoy creative similes in fiction?

24 thoughts on “Word Game: Similes

  1. My grandma used to say “full as a tick,” but I hadn’t heard of the others on that second list. I’ve always heard “mad as a hornet.” Of course there’s always dumb as a rock, high as a kite and lots of good cat and dog ones from the past couple weeks!

  2. I’d heard of most of the first list but the second list is new to me. I like to use similes in my writing but not too often. I think there has to be a balance otherwise it’s just too much. I’d like to use some on the shorter list to surprise my readers!

  3. I’ve heard “like a tick about to pop” which is not quite the same as “full as a tick.” I made about 50% on the quiz, but not because I didn’t have answers. My answers just weren’t the same as the ones on the answer key.

    Examples: (with my answers)

    6. Dry as dirt.
    14. Quick as a New York minute.
    19. Ugly as homemade soap.

    I guess I’ve already shared my similes, except for “Are you going to just sit there like a lump of sh_t?”

    I do enjoy similes in fiction, provided they are not overused. It’s cute and compelling a few times, but too much gets old.

    1. Ugly as homemade soap? I’d heard the others, but not that one. And if I include regional colloquialisms and curse words, I could really expand this list, Catie! LOL. I’m guessing that lump one wouldn’t have made a 1940 game book, though. 😉

  4. Not sure if this is a true simile, but my best friend’s mom (in high school) always used to say “hotter than a two-peckered billy goat.” Hmm…

    I use black as night or black as sin, and yes, I have heard of full as a tick.

    Fun post!

  5. What a fun game! I’ve heard of “full as a tick”. Actually around here it was said a lot when I was growing up. I’ve also heard of “ugly as homemade soap” that Catie pointed out. My grandmother used to say that. 🙂

  6. I got all but about three. The “sharp as a tack” was on my list too, and I have heard the “full as a tick” one before, but wouldn’t have thought of it on my own.

    Thanks for a fun post!

    Laura Ritchie

  7. This was great! A lot of fun. I got almost all of them. Quizzed my mom and she did pretty well, though she bombed on the last one. *eyeroll* Sometimes I worry about her…

    1. Ooh, I love quizzing my family. Fun stuff! I am wondering what she said for “white as __.” (That’s the one she missed, right?) Thanks, Karen! Glad you enjoyed.

  8. I got almost all of them and I’ve heard those extras except for ugly as homemade soap.
    I like creative similes they can add a lot to a description. Thanks for a little fun.

  9. I bet this could be adapted to encourge us writers to come up with fresh similies for all kinds of things. 🙂 I have heard ‘Full as a tick’ it’s something my grandparents used to say. 🙂

    1. Nice idea, Angela. I think it would be fun to play a game where you throw out a simile starter, then ask people to come up with the ending. You could then share and vote for the best one. I should try that someday!!!

  10. ~~~Fun Post.
    Lets see, I dig…. “Like a bat out of Hell.!!” ❤

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