Stone and rock metaphors, similes and idioms employ the characteristics of rocks, particularly:
- That they’re hard to break.
- That they’re hard to move!
So you can come up with creative analogies using stones and rocks, like:
- You’re my rock
- I’m between a rock and a hard place
Below are 11 of my favorite metaphors, similes and idioms about stones and rocks.
List of Similes, Idioms and Metaphors for Stones and Rocks
1. You’re my Rock
To call someone your rock is to say that they are someone you can rely on no matter what. A rock is (supposedly!) unbreakable – you can throw it, hit it with a hammer, pour water over it, scratch is, and it’ll maintain its integrity.
So when you say someone is your rock, you’re saying that they are unbreakable. They will always be there for you and will not ‘break down’ or abandon you when times get tough.
This might be a metaphor you use in a Valentine’s day card, for example, to express how grateful you are to your partner for being by your side through thick and thin.
2. Between a Rock and a Hard Place
This is a saying that essentially means you’re stuck between two things that are very hard or immovable. You can say this figuratively when referring to a situation you’re in where you feel stuck.
You might be in a situation where any decision you make is a bad decision. Decision A will upset one person and Decision B will upset another person.
No matter what you do, you’ve got no good choice.
3. He’s a Rolling Stone
The term ‘rolling stone’ came well before the band or the music magazine. It’s a term that is shortened from the metaphor: “a rolling stone gathers no moss”.
A person who is a rolling stone is someone who’s always on the move. They’re never stationary long enough to get bored or complacent. But they’re also never stationary long enough to build deep relationships.
Travelling rock musicians could be considered rolling stones. They don’t settle down and party all night long.
This phrase is often used to talk about people who live a “cool” or “glamorous” lifestyle. They’re the sorts of people who are detached and aloof, always looking to the next destination.
4. Pushing a Boulder up a Hill
Imagine pushing a boulder up a hill. It sounds hard. It’s a big, big rock – perhaps bigger than you are. The idea of pushing it anywhere sounds tough. But pushing it up a hill sounds almost impossible.
So this rock idiom means that you’re doing a task that’s almost impossible.
The fact that boulders want to roll down hill adds another dimension to this. The idiom is an analogy that says you’re trying to force something to happen that doesn’t really want to happen. It will require a lot of effort to get done and you won’t be able to build up any momentum. You’ll feel the pain of every single effort and every single gain.
An example of when you might use this idiom is when you’re trying to talk to your insurance company on the phone. You might say “Every time I call them for help they transfer me from one deparment to another. Getting them to resolve my problem is like pushin a boulder up a hill!”
5. Love is Like a Rock (Song)
“Love is like a Rock” is a song by Donnie Iris. The lyrics include:
Love is Like a Rock
You can’t depend on your teacher
You can’t depend on your preacher
You can’t depend on politicians
You can’t depend on superstitions
In my opinion, this simile harks back to the metaphor “you’re my rock”. In other words – it says that the person you love is always dependable. The follow-up lines, which talk about things that you can’t depend on, reinforces this point. Love, unlike all these other things, is dependable.
6. You’ve got Rocks in your Head
When you tell someone they’ve got rocks in their head, it’s an insult. It means that there are solid rocks where the person’s brain should be! So, they’re unintelligent.
This idea stems from the concept that someone who is unintelligent is ‘dense’ – a bit like a rock!
Another way of saying the same thing is to say someone has “nothing between their ears”.
7. This Bread is a Rock!
You might call bread a ‘rock’ if it has gone a little stale. After a few days, bread will go hard and crispy. When it gets like that, you might want to call it a rock to indicate how stiff it has become.
Of course, this is some serious exaggeration. But the exaggeration (or ‘hyperbole’) can create an image in the listener’s (or reader’s) mind, allowing you to get your message across with strength and punch!
Just don’t say it to someone who’s serving you bread – or you might insult them!
8. Drawing Blood from a Stone
The proverb ‘you can’t get blood from a stone’ is a way of saying that you’re trying to do something that’s impossible. Over time, we have merged it into its idiomatic form: “this is like drawing blood from a stone”.
You might use this idiom when you’re interrogating someone who just won’t give you an answer to your question – no matter what! For example, a journalist who is trying to get information from a politician who doesn’t want to share it, could say: “getting the truth from politicians is like drawing blood form a stone!” (Here, I’ve phrased it as a simile).
9. You’ve got a Heart of a Stone
Stones are cold and tough. They’re the opposite of something that’s soft, warm and cuddly. So when we tell someone they’ve got a heart of stone, we’re telling them that they are cruel, rude or unkind.
For example, you might say the Witch in Narnia or Mrs Trunchbull from Matilda are people with hearts of stone.
This idiom is from a series of heart idioms and metaphors, including “heart of gold” for someone who is kind-hearted.
10. It’s the Cornerstone
A cornerstone in a stone building is the most important stone. It takes a lot of the structural weight of the building. It’s therefore got to be the strongest and most dependable of all stones in the building.
Now, we tend to call lots of other things that are at the core of something (and keep it structurally sound) “cornerstones”. We use it interchangeably for the phrase “fundamental principle”.
For example, the “cornerstone” belief of yours is the central personal belief that underpins all others (honest, for example). Similarly, the “cornerstone” of a conservative government’s policies might be “low taxation and minimal government intervention”.
11. It’s set in Stone
To say something is set in stone is to say that it’s unchangeable. Imagine if something like a fossil is stuck in a stone. Chances are you’re not going to be able to move it! It’s a bit like the “sword in the stone” storyline, where no one can pull the sword out of a stone.
Alternatively, you could imagine someone inscribing something in stone tablets (like Moses and his tablets in the Bible). Once it’s written in the stone, you’re not going to be able to take out an eraser and rub it out to start all over again. It’s there for good.
So metaphorically we use this term whenever we refer to something that’s done and complete – you can’t re-do it or change it now.
For example, if someone is convicted of a prison sentence and they have used up all their avenues of appeal, their lawyer might tell them: “your prison sentence is set in stone”.
12. Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson
This last one’s a bit of fun! Dwayne Johnson is an American actor who has the nickname “the rock”. His nickname comes from the fact he’s a huge, muscular man. You couldn’t knock him over if you tried. In this sense, he’s “like” a rock – tough and immovable.
Similarly, you might call someone who’s big and strong who you know “a rock” when referring to their size and strength.
13. Stone Cold
Saying something is stone-cold means one of three things.
First it could mean that something is completely absent of heat. You often use this for tea and coffee: “I got distracted and now my tea is stone cold. I had better put the kettle back on.”
Second it could mean that something is completely (anything). For example, a person who is stone-cold sober is absolutely sober. They have no inhibiting substances in their system whatsoever.
Third it could simply mean someone doing something efficiently and emotionlessly. For example, a stone-cold killer is someone who emotionlessly kills people. Another great example is stone-cold Steve Austin, a wrestling persona who efficiently and emotionlessly destroys his opponents.
The above stone and rock metaphors, similes and idioms are by no means the only ones you could come up with. I’m sure there are plenty more around, plus there’s no one stopping you coming up with your own! Metaphors are supposed to be unique to you and the situation they’re used in, so if you’re writing your own book or talking about your own situation … why not come up with a brand new one for yourself!
I’m a Scorpio, I love the outdoors, and I’ve written articles in some major online publications like Medium and The Weekly. My favorite metaphor? Anything that’s got to do with baseball. I’m fascinated by the fact our language has baseball weaved all through it. Read more about me here.