I came across a sentence (shown below) and I'm wondering whether "as energetic as a stalk of whipped asparagus" is an idiom? I can't seem to find it in the dictionary, nor on the Internet.

I came home from school the next day feeling as energetic as a stalk of whipped asparagus.

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    It's a metaphor, not an idiom. Moreover, unlike some metaphors, it's not a cliché (that is, it's not a commonly-used metaphor – at least, I've never heard it before. "Wet noodle" would be more cliché.) – J.R. Jun 14 '12 at 18:42
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    Why would anyone downvote this question? – Evik James Jun 14 '12 at 21:06
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    @Evik: it wasn't my downvote, but I can think of a couple possible reasons: (1) It asks about an idiom, when describing a metaphor; (2) in a way, it answers its own question (if you can't find it on the Internet, or in a dictionary, then what would make it an idiom?). I elected to address these drawbacks with a comment; some other user may have done so with a downvote. Maybe the user wanted to remain anonymous. Maybe the user felt my comment already expressed his/her sentiments. Either way, both are fair and valid ways to give feedback. – J.R. Jun 15 '12 at 11:25
  • @Ellie, in fairness to the author of this original phrase, could you please give us his/her name and the source? Thanks! – JAM Jul 12 '12 at 3:13
  • @JAM Sorry haven't been on here for a while! The original phrase is from a translated literary work "Mother's Books" by Daniel J. Bauer (the translator) published in a 2004 autumn issue of The Taipei Chinese PEN. The original work was written by Francis Sen-yao LIU in Chinese. – vul3 Jul 25 '12 at 15:11

What you have there is a simile rather than a metaphor or an idiom.

As noted in the wikipedia articles linked above,

A simile is a figure of speech that directly compares two different things, usually by employing the words "like" or "as".


A metaphor is a literary figure of speech that describes a subject by asserting that it is, on some point of comparison, the same as another otherwise unrelated object.


An idiom ... is an expression, word, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is comprehended [as] separate from the literal meaning or definition of the words of which it is made.

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