#4503. 使い古された直喩[simile][rhetoric][metaphor][proverb][alliteration]


 英語には「#4415. as mad as a hatter --- 強意的・俚諺的直喩の言葉遊び」 ([2021-05-29-1]) で紹介したような,俚諺的直喩 (proverbial simile) や強意的直喩 (intensifying simile) と呼ばれる直喩がたくさんあります.その多くは「#943. 頭韻の歴史と役割」 ([2011-11-26-1]) でも指摘した通り,頭韻 (alliteration) を踏む語呂のよい表現です.
 しかし,これらはあまりに使い古されている "stock phrase" であることも事実で,不用意に使うと独創性がないというレッテルを張られかねません.皮肉屋の Partridge はこれらを "battered similes" であると否定的にみなし「使う前に再考を」を呼びかけているほどです.Partridge (303--05) より列挙してみましょう.

aspen leaf, shake (or tremble) like an
bad shilling (or penny), turn up (or come back) like a
bear with a sore head, like a
black as coal - or pitch - or the Pit, as blush like a schoolgirl, to
bold (or brave) as a lion, as
bright as a new pin, as [obsolescent]
brown as a berry, as
bull in a china shop, (behave) like a
cat on hot bricks, like a; e.g. jump about caught like a rat in a trap
cheap as dirt, as
Cheshire cat, grin like a
clean as a whistle, as
clear as crystal (or the day or the sun), as; jocularly, as clear as mud
clever as a cart- (or waggon-) load of monkeys, as
cold as charity, as
collapse like a pack of cards
cool as a cucumber, as
crawl like a snail
cross as a bear with a sore head (or as two sticks), as
dark as night, as
dead as a door-nail, as
deaf as a post (or as an adder), as
different as chalk from cheese, as
drink like a fish, to
drop like a cart-load of bricks, to
drowned like a rat
drunk as a lord, as
dry as a bone (or as dust), as
dull as ditch-water, as
Dutch uncle, talk (to someone) like a
dying like flies
easy as kiss (or as kissing) your hand, as; also as easy as falling off a log
fight like Kilkenny cats
fit as a fiddle, as
flash, like a
flat as a pancake, as
free as a bird, as; as free as the air
fresh as a daisy (or as paint), as
good as a play, as; i.e. very amusing
good as good, as; i.e. very well behaved
good in parts, like the curate's egg
green as grass, as
hang on like grim death
happy (or jolly) as a sandboy (or as the day is long), as
hard as a brick (or as iron or, fig., as nails), as
hate like poison, to
have nine lives like a cat, to
heavy as lead, as
honest as the day, as
hot as hell, as
hungry as a hunter, as
innocent as a babe unborn (or as a new-born babe), as
keen as mustard, as
lamb to the slaughter, like a
large as life (jocularly: large as life and twice as natural), as
light as a feather (or as air), as
like as two peas, as
like water off a duck's back
live like fighting cocks
look like a dying duck in a thunderstorm
look like grim death
lost soul, like a
mad as a March hare (or as a hatter), as
meek as a lamb, as
memory like a sieve a
merry as a grig, as [obsolescent]
mill pond, the sea [is] like a
nervous as a cat, as
obstinate as a mule, as
old as Methuselah (or as the hills), as
plain as a pikestaff (or the nose on your face), as
pleased as a dog with two tails (or as Punch), as
poor as a church mouse, as
pretty as a picture, as
pure as the driven snow, as
quick as a flash (or as lightning), as
quiet as a mouse (or mice), as
read (a person) like a book, to (be able to)
red as a rose (or as a turkey-cock), as
rich as Croesus, as
right as a trivet (or as rain), as
roar like a bull
run like a hare
safe as houses (or as the Bank of England), as
sharp as a razor (or as a needle), as
sigh like a furnace, to
silent as the grave, as
sleep like a top, to
slippery as an eel, as
slow as a snail (or as a wet week)
sob as though one's heart would break, to
sober as a judge, as
soft as butter, as
sound as a bell, as
speak like a book, to
spring up like mushrooms overnight
steady as a rock, as
still as a poker (or as a ramrod), as
straight as a die, as
strong as a horse, as
swear like a trooper
sweet as a nut (or as sugar), as
take to [something] like (or as) a duck to water
thick as leaves in Vallombrosa as [Ex. Milton's 'Thick as autumnal leaves that strow the brooks In Vallombrosa']
thick as thieves, as
thin as a lath (or as a rake), as
ton of bricks, (e.g. come down or fall) like a
tough as leather, as
true as steel, as
two-year-old, like a
ugly as sin, as
warm as toast, as
weak as water, as
white as a sheet (or as snow), as
wise as Solomon, as

 ・ Partridge, Eric. Usage and Abusage. 3rd ed. Rev. Janet Whitcut. London: Penguin Books, 1999.

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