29 Similes for Failure: Setbacks with Simple Comparisons


Failure is a part of life, and sometimes it’s helpful to express it in a way that paints a vivid picture. Similes, which compare one thing to another, can be a powerful tool to describe failure.

Let’s delve into the world of similes for failure, using simple language that an eighth-grader can easily understand.

similes for failure

What is a Simile for Failure?

A simile is a figure of speech that compares two things using the words “like” or “as.”

In the context of failure, similes can help us understand the feeling of disappointment and setbacks by likening them to familiar situations or objects.


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Created by Dr. Julia Rossi

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What is a simile?

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Identify the simile in the following sentence: “She swims like a fish.”

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What is a metaphor?

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Which of the following is a metaphor?

5 / 20

What is an idiom?

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What does the idiom “break the ice” mean?

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What is an adjective?

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Choose the adjective in the following sentence: “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”

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What is an abbreviation?

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What does the abbreviation “e.g.” stand for?

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What is a verb?

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Identify the verb in the following sentence: “The cat sleeps on the sofa.”

13 / 20

“Out of the frying pan into the fire” is an example of:

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Which of the following is an adjective?

15 / 20

The abbreviation “NASA” stands for:

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Choose the metaphor in the following sentence: “Time is a thief.”

17 / 20

What does the idiom “hit the books” mean?

18 / 20

Which of the following sentences contains a simile?

19 / 20

“LOL” is an abbreviation for:

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Identify the verb in this sentence: “They whispered secrets into the night.”

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SimileMeaningIn a Sentence
Like a ship sinking in a storm.Failing as disastrously as a ship going down in a raging storm.The student’s performance on the test was like a ship sinking in a storm, with grades plummeting.
Like a bird with clipped wings.Experiencing failure akin to a bird unable to soar due to clipped wings.After the mistake, his confidence was like a bird with clipped wings, unable to rise.
Like a deflated balloon.Feeling defeated and unsuccessful, much like a balloon losing all its air.The team’s morale was like a deflated balloon after the unexpected defeat.
Like a puzzle missing crucial pieces.Failing to succeed because of essential elements being absent, much like an incomplete puzzle.Solving the complex math problem felt impossible, like a puzzle missing crucial pieces.
Like a car running on an empty tank.Failing to achieve due to lack of energy or resources, like a car with no fuel.Trying to finish the project without proper preparation was like a car running on an empty tank.
Like a kite with a broken string.Experiencing failure as if an essential connection is severed, like a kite losing its string.The relationship felt like a kite with a broken string, drifting away aimlessly.
Like a broken compass in a dense fog.Failing without direction or guidance, similar to a broken compass in thick fog.Trying to find a solution without proper information was like a broken compass in a dense fog.
Like a plant withering without water.Experiencing failure due to neglect or lack of necessary support, like a plant without water.The neglected project was like a plant withering without water, destined to fail.
Like a broken record stuck on a sour note.Repeating the same failure over and over, resembling a broken record playing a sour note.His excuses were like a broken record stuck on a sour note, never changing.
Like a house of cards collapsing.Experiencing a sudden and complete failure, much like a fragile house of cards falling apart.The poorly constructed plan was like a house of cards collapsing with the slightest breeze.
Like a map leading to nowhere.Failing to reach a destination despite following a path, like a map leading to nowhere.The efforts felt like a map leading to nowhere, with no success in sight.
Like a sunken treasure lost in the depths.Experiencing failure as if losing something valuable in the depths, like a sunken treasure.The missed opportunity was like a sunken treasure lost in the depths, unreachable.
Like a shattered mirror reflecting fragments.Experiencing failure that breaks one into pieces, similar to a shattered mirror reflecting fragments.The rejection felt like a shattered mirror reflecting fragments of broken dreams.
Like a stranded astronaut without a lifeline.Feeling isolated and without help, akin to a stranded astronaut without a lifeline.Facing the challenge alone was like a stranded astronaut without a lifeline, helpless.
Like a rudderless ship adrift at sea.Failing without proper guidance or control, much like a ship adrift without a rudder.The project felt like a rudderless ship adrift at sea, lacking direction.
Like a failed rocket unable to reach orbit.Experiencing a failure to launch or reach intended goals, similar to a rocket unable to reach orbit.The ambitious plan was like a failed rocket unable to reach orbit, falling short.
Like a fading echo in an empty canyon.Failing and fading away, leaving only a faint memory, like an echo in an empty canyon.His popularity was like a fading echo in an empty canyon, diminishing over time.
Like a burnt-out candle in a strong breeze.Experiencing failure abruptly, like a candle extinguished by a strong breeze.The enthusiasm for the project was like a burnt-out candle in a strong breeze, gone.
Like a faded photograph forgotten in a drawer.Failing and becoming a distant memory, much like a faded photograph forgotten in a drawer.The past achievements felt like a faded photograph forgotten in a drawer, overshadowed.
Like a leaky boat taking on water.Experiencing continuous failure and deterioration, like a boat with a leak taking on water.Trying to salvage the situation was like a leaky boat taking on water, sinking slowly.
Like a broken umbrella in a downpour.Failing when needed the most, like a broken umbrella in a heavy downpour.His support was like a broken umbrella in a downpour, offering no protection.
Like a puppet with cut strings.Experiencing failure with a loss of control, like a puppet with its strings cut.The failed project left him feeling like a puppet with cut strings, powerless.
Like a melted snowman in the sun.Failing and losing form or structure, like a snowman melting in the sun.The plan fell apart like a melted snowman in the sun, unable to hold its shape.
Like a broken promise lying in pieces.Failing to keep a commitment and shattering trust, similar to a broken promise lying in pieces.The unfulfilled commitment was like a broken promise lying in pieces, irreparable.
Like a runner stumbling before the finish line.Failing at the final hurdle, like a runner stumbling just before the finish line.The missed opportunity felt like a runner stumbling before the finish line, heartbreaking.
Like a fallen star losing its glow.Experiencing a decline in success, similar to a fallen star losing its brightness.Her popularity was like a fallen star losing its glow, fading away.
Like a fireworks display fizzling out.Failing to sustain excitement or attention, like a fireworks display fizzling out.The event ended like a fireworks display fizzling out, disappointing everyone.
Like a balloon popping before takeoff.Experiencing failure abruptly, like a balloon popping before it can take off.The excitement for the new venture was like a balloon popping before takeoff, deflated.
Like a chess player checkmated in a few moves.Failing with a quick and decisive outcome, similar to a chess player being checkmated swiftly.The negotiation ended like a chess player checkmated in a few moves, without a chance.

Facing failure can be like hitting a brick wall, and it’s often described as falling flat on your face. Discover some idioms related to failure at this link: Idioms for Failure, and explore metaphors that depict the experience of failure here: Metaphors for Failure.

Similes for Failure

1. Like a Ship Sinking in a Storm

Meaning: Failing as disastrously as a ship going down in a raging storm.

In a Sentence: The student’s performance on the test was like a ship sinking in a storm, with grades plummeting.

2. Like a Bird with Clipped Wings

Meaning: Experiencing failure akin to a bird unable to soar due to clipped wings.

In a Sentence: After the mistake, his confidence was like a bird with clipped wings, unable to rise.

3. Like a Deflated Balloon

Meaning: Feeling defeated and unsuccessful, much like a balloon losing all its air.

In a Sentence: The team’s morale was like a deflated balloon after the unexpected defeat.

4. Like a Puzzle Missing Crucial Pieces

Meaning: Failing to succeed because of essential elements being absent, much like an incomplete puzzle.

In a Sentence: Solving the complex math problem felt impossible, like a puzzle missing crucial pieces.

5. Like a Car Running on an Empty Tank

Meaning: Failing to achieve due to lack of energy or resources, like a car with no fuel.

In a Sentence: Trying to finish the project without proper preparation was like a car running on an empty tank.

6. Like a Kite with a Broken String

Meaning: Experiencing failure as if an essential connection is severed, like a kite losing its string.

In a Sentence: The relationship felt like a kite with a broken string, drifting away aimlessly.

7. Like a Broken Compass in a Dense Fog

Meaning: Failing without direction or guidance, similar to a broken compass in thick fog.

In a Sentence: Trying to find a solution without proper information was like a broken compass in a dense fog.

8. Like a Plant Withering Without Water

Meaning: Experiencing failure due to neglect or lack of necessary support, like a plant without water.

In a Sentence: The neglected project was like a plant withering without water, destined to fail.

9. Like a Broken Record Stuck on a Sour Note

Meaning: Repeating the same failure over and over, resembling a broken record playing a sour note.

In a Sentence: His excuses were like a broken record stuck on a sour note, never changing.

10. Like a House of Cards Collapsing

Meaning: Experiencing a sudden and complete failure, much like a fragile house of cards falling apart.

In a Sentence: The poorly constructed plan was like a house of cards collapsing with the slightest breeze.

11. Like a Map Leading to Nowhere

Meaning: Failing to reach a destination despite following a path, like a map leading to nowhere.

In a Sentence: The efforts felt like a map leading to nowhere, with no success in sight.

12. Like a Sunken Treasure Lost in the Depths

Meaning: Experiencing failure as if losing something valuable in the depths, like a sunken treasure.

In a Sentence: The missed opportunity was like a sunken treasure lost in the depths, unreachable.

13. Like a Shattered Mirror Reflecting Fragments

Meaning: Experiencing failure that breaks one into pieces, similar to a shattered mirror reflecting fragments.

In a Sentence: The rejection felt like a shattered mirror reflecting fragments of broken dreams.

14. Like a Stranded Astronaut Without a Lifeline

Meaning: Feeling isolated and without help, akin to a stranded astronaut without a lifeline.

In a Sentence: Facing the challenge alone was like a stranded astronaut without a lifeline, helpless.

15. Like a Rudderless Ship Adrift at Sea

Meaning: Failing without proper guidance or control, much like a ship adrift without a rudder.

In a Sentence: The project felt like a rudderless ship adrift at sea, lacking direction.

16. Like a Failed Rocket Unable to Reach Orbit

Meaning: Experiencing a failure to launch or reach intended goals, similar to a rocket unable to reach orbit.

In a Sentence: The ambitious plan was like a failed rocket unable to reach orbit, falling short.

17. Like a Fading Echo in an Empty Canyon

Meaning: Failing and fading away, leaving only a faint memory, like an echo in an empty canyon.

In a Sentence: His popularity was like a fading echo in an empty canyon, diminishing over time.

18. Like a Burnt-Out Candle in a Strong Breeze

Meaning: Experiencing failure abruptly, like a candle extinguished by a strong breeze.

In a Sentence: The enthusiasm for the project was like a burnt-out candle in a strong breeze, gone.

19. Like a Faded Photograph Forgotten in a Drawer

Meaning: Failing and becoming a distant memory, much like a faded photograph forgotten in a drawer.

In a Sentence: The past achievements felt like a faded photograph forgotten in a drawer, overshadowed.

20. Like a Leaky Boat Taking on Water

Meaning: Experiencing continuous failure and deterioration, like a boat with a leak taking on water.

In a Sentence: Trying to salvage the situation was like a leaky boat taking on water, sinking slowly.

21. Like a Broken Umbrella in a Downpour

Meaning: Failing when needed the most, like a broken umbrella in a heavy downpour.

In a Sentence: His support was like a broken umbrella in a downpour, offering no protection.

22. Like a Puppet with Cut Strings

Meaning: Experiencing failure with a loss of control, like a puppet with its strings cut.

In a Sentence: The failed project left him feeling like a puppet with cut strings, powerless.

23. Like a Melted Snowman in the Sun

Meaning: Failing and losing form or structure, like a snowman melting in the sun.

In a Sentence: The plan fell apart like a melted snowman in the sun, unable to hold its shape.

24. Like a Broken Promise Lying in Pieces

Meaning: Failing to keep a commitment and shattering trust, similar to a broken promise lying in pieces.

In a Sentence: The unfulfilled commitment was like a broken promise lying in pieces, irreparable.

25. Like a Runner Stumbling Before the Finish Line

Meaning: Failing at the final hurdle, like a runner stumbling just before the finish line.

In a Sentence: The missed opportunity felt like a runner stumbling before the finish line, heartbreaking.

26. Like a Fallen Star Losing Its Glow

Meaning: Experiencing a decline in success, similar to a fallen star losing its brightness.

In a Sentence: Her popularity was like a fallen star losing its glow, fading away.

27. Like a Fireworks Display Fizzling Out

Meaning: Failing to sustain excitement or attention, like a fireworks display fizzling out.

In a Sentence: The event ended like a fireworks display fizzling out, disappointing everyone.

28. Like a Balloon Popping Before Takeoff

Meaning: Experiencing failure abruptly, like a balloon popping before it can take off.

In a Sentence: The excitement for the new venture was like a balloon popping before takeoff, deflated.

29. Like a Chess Player Checkmated in a Few Moves

Meaning: Failing with a quick and decisive outcome, similar to a chess player being checkmated swiftly.

In a Sentence: The negotiation ended like a chess player checkmated in a few moves, without a chance.

10 Quizzes About The Similes in The Article

Quiz 1: Matching Similes

Instructions: Match the simile with its corresponding meaning.

  1. Simile: Like a ship sinking in a storm.
    • A. Experiencing failure without proper guidance.
  2. Simile: Like a bird with clipped wings.
    • B. Failing and becoming a distant memory.
  3. Simile: Like a deflated balloon.
    • C. Failing as disastrously as a ship in a storm.
  4. Simile: Like a puzzle missing crucial pieces.
    • D. Failing when needed the most.
  5. Simile: Like a car running on an empty tank.
    • E. Failing to reach a destination despite following a path.

Answers:

  1. C
  2. A
  3. B
  4. E
  5. D

Quiz 2: Fill in the Blank

Instructions: Complete the sentences with the appropriate simile.

  1. After the unexpected defeat, the team’s morale was like a ________________.
  2. Trying to find a solution without proper information was like a broken ________________ in a dense fog.
  3. The missed opportunity was like a sunken treasure lost in the ________________.
  4. The project felt like a ________________ ship adrift at sea, lacking direction.
  5. The enthusiasm for the project was like a burnt-out ________________ in a strong breeze.

Answers:

  1. deflated balloon
  2. compass
  3. depths
  4. rudderless
  5. candle

Quiz 3: True or False

Instructions: Determine if the following statements about the similes are true or false.

  1. The simile “Like a puzzle missing crucial pieces” means failing without proper guidance.
    • True / False
  2. The simile “Like a kite with a broken string” represents experiencing failure when needed the most.
    • True / False
  3. “Like a faded photograph forgotten in a drawer” illustrates failing as disastrously as a ship in a storm.
    • True / False
  4. The simile “Like a chess player checkmated in a few moves” implies failing with a quick and decisive outcome.
    • True / False
  5. “Like a melted snowman in the sun” expresses feeling isolated and without help.
    • True / False

Answers:

  1. False
  2. False
  3. False
  4. True
  5. False

Quiz 4: Sentence Matching

Instructions: Match the given sentences to the correct simile.

  1. The relationship felt like a kite with a broken string, drifting away aimlessly.
  2. The unfulfilled commitment was like a broken promise lying in pieces, irreparable.
  3. The ambitious plan was like a failed rocket unable to reach orbit, falling short.

Similes:

  • Like a kite with a broken string.
  • Like a broken promise lying in pieces.
  • Like a failed rocket unable to reach orbit.

Answers:

  1. Like a kite with a broken string.
  2. Like a broken promise lying in pieces.
  3. Like a failed rocket unable to reach orbit.

Quiz 5: Complete the Meaning

Instructions: Fill in the blanks with the appropriate meaning of the given simile.

  1. Like a plant withering without ________________, experiencing failure due to neglect.
  2. The missed opportunity was like a sunken treasure lost in the ________________, unreachable.
  3. The team’s morale was like a deflated ________________, feeling defeated and unsuccessful.

Answers:

  1. water
  2. depths
  3. balloon

Quiz 6: Identifying Failure

Instructions: Identify the common theme in the following similes – what aspect of failure do they all express?

  1. Like a ship sinking in a storm.
  2. Like a puzzle missing crucial pieces.
  3. Like a fallen star losing its glow.

Answer:

  • The common theme is experiencing failure.

Quiz 7: Completing Sentences

Instructions: Complete the sentences with the appropriate simile.

  1. The plan fell apart like a ________________, unable to hold its shape.
  2. His support was like a broken ________________, offering no protection.
  3. The event ended like a fireworks display ________________, disappointing everyone.

Answers:

  1. melted snowman
  2. umbrella
  3. fizzling out

Quiz 8: Sequence the Failure

Instructions: Arrange the following similes in the order they appear in the article.

  1. Like a kite with a broken string.
  2. Like a chess player checkmated in a few moves.
  3. Like a sunken treasure lost in the depths.

Answer:

  1. Like a kite with a broken string.
  2. Like a chess player checkmated in a few moves.
  3. Like a sunken treasure lost in the depths.

Quiz 9: Connecting Meanings

Instructions: Match the similes with their corresponding meanings.

  1. Like a plant withering without water.
    • A. Failing without proper guidance.
  2. Like a chess player checkmated in a few moves.
    • B. Failing as disastrously as a ship in a storm.
  3. Like a faded photograph forgotten in a drawer.
    • C. Failing with a quick and decisive outcome.

Answers:

  1. A
  2. C
  3. B

Quiz 10: Finding Similarities

Instructions: Identify the common element in the following similes.

  1. Like a burnt-out candle in a strong breeze.
  2. Like a runner stumbling before the finish line.
  3. Like a fireworks display fizzling out.

Answer:

  • The common element is abrupt or sudden failure.

Conclusion

Failure is a part of life, and expressing it through similes helps us understand its nuances. From sinking ships to broken promises, each comparison vividly captures the essence of falling short.

Remember, just like a puzzle missing crucial pieces, overcoming failure often involves finding and fitting those missing parts to achieve success.

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