I am having a hard time understanding the difference (if any) between 'analogous to' and 'similar to'. Take for instance these two sentences:

High level cognition is performed in a way analogous to symbolic computation.


High level cognition is performed in a way similar to symbolic computation.

  • Though a good reference might be hard to find in this instance, some evidence of (even unfruitful) relevant research is expected on ELU. Commented Mar 6, 2017 at 8:14

1 Answer 1


There is a discussion of analogy and similarity (and other terms referring to alikeness here at M-W. The gist is this:

Similar refers to things that are somewhat alike, and those characteristics that are alike are the same in a direct comparison. For example, you might use "similar" to describe how a man had a remarkable likeness to his father.

Analogous refers to parallelism or correspondence. For example, the heart is analogous to a pump, or an airplane's joystick is somewhat analogous to the reins on a horse.

  • 1
    In Chinese, similar function like 甲像乙, while analogous function like 甲相當於乙.
    – zzzgoo
    Commented Mar 17, 2022 at 9:57

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