When I was a student - and that was more years ago than I care to count - I learned quite a few idiomatic/traditional comparisons. Howver, I've never heard anyone use them ever since. I suppose they are obsolete in 2014, are they ?
e.g. As strong as a lion, as good as gold, as pretty as a picture, as cunning as a cartload of monkeys, etc.

  • The general use of "as [adj] as a [noun]" for humorous or evocative comparisons is very much alive and popular. Are you thinking of specific set phrases such as the ones you name, or are you just asking about the general concept?
    – phenry
    Jul 1, 2014 at 0:09
  • @phenry I mean set phrases, so-called traditional comparisons. Certainly, not the general concept, nor phrases like "hot as hell". I mean the ones I mentioned, plus "as clean as a new pin", "as hungry as a hunter", "as soft as putty", as old as the hills, as poor as a church-mouse, etc, etc, the list is long.
    – Centaurus
    Jul 1, 2014 at 0:18

1 Answer 1


That reminds me of A Christmas Carol when Scrooge's nephew and his guests were playing at similes, and the niece answered, "Tight as... your Uncle Scrooge's purse strings!"

Similes are alive and well, though they do change over time. Some that are still alive and kicking:

Tough as nails, dead as a doornail, as _ as the day is long, free as a bird, old as the hills, right as rain, etc.

A set of similes is still taught to medical students for anticholinergic overdose: Blind as a bat, Dry as a bone, Red as a beet, Mad as a hatter, Hot as a hare.

From the New Your Times:

'Microsofties' Say They're Right as Rain

There are many newer replacements. But they are still used and acquired.

  • How about "tachycardic as a hummingbird" ?
    – Centaurus
    Jul 1, 2014 at 0:32
  • I've never heard that one! :) Jul 1, 2014 at 0:33
  • 1
    I made it up, since tachycardia is expected too in atropine overdose.
    – Centaurus
    Jul 1, 2014 at 0:51
  • 1
    They're sort of the verbal equivalent of Yogi's fashionable restaurant: "Nobody goes there anymore, it's too crowded." Jul 1, 2014 at 1:56

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