Is this a metaphor or simile?

You'll get kicked out of the Saloon faster than a card shark can shuffle.

  • 1
    Yes, it's one of those. Which one depends on what they told you the difference was. If they said it's a simile if it contains like, then it's not a simile. Otherwise, there's no real difference. – John Lawler Feb 13 '19 at 23:53

It's neither. There is no figurative language used here. A card shark is understood to be a fast shuffler, so the comparison is used for rhetorical effect. But it's not figurative. The reference presumably refers literally to the time it takes a card shark to shuffle.

  • So an analogy then? – Mitch Feb 14 '19 at 3:22
  • I'd say it's still figurative because the speaker isn't threatening the person they'll be thrown out of the saloon faster than it literally takes a card sharp to shuffle cards, it's a figurative way to say really quickly. Though the two relevant parts of comparison are both literal time, the statement is not to be taken literally exactly because no one knows how long the card shuffle lasts, and also because even if the shuffle lasted 4 seconds, for example, that's most likely not enough time to escort the person to the doors and throw them out, meaning it's an exaggeration, and so figurative. – Zebrafish Feb 14 '19 at 4:17
  • It's not figurative at all. It's literally saying the time it takes to get thrown out is less than the time it takes for a card shark to shuffle cards. It's not an analogy, not a metaphor, and not a simile. It's just a plain old comparison, possibly idiomatic (if you please) but not figurative. – R Mac Feb 14 '19 at 16:24

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