i. q. صِفَةٌ [as meaning A description, condition, state, case, &c.]; (Ṣ, Ḳ, &c.;) or وَصْفٌ [meaning the same]: (Mṣb:) or this is a mistake: (Mbr, AAF, TA:) or it may be a tropical signification: (MF, TA:) for in the language of the Arabs it means a description by way of comparison: (AAF, TA:) you say مثل زيد مثل فلان [The description of Zeyd, by way of comparison, or the condition, &c., is that of such a one]: it is from المِثاَلُ and الحَذْوُ: (Mbr, TA:) it is metaphorically applied to a condition, state, or case, that is important, strange, or wonderful. (Ksh, Bḍ in ii. 16.) The phrase here given is more literally, and better, rendered, The similitude of Zeyd is the similitude, or is that, of such a one; for a similitude is a description by way of comparison.
You say also, جَعَلَهُ مَثَلًا لِكَذَا [He made it (an expression or the like) to be descriptive, by way of comparison, of such a thing]. (TA passim.) [And مَثَلٌ لِكَذَا means An expression denoting, by way of similitude, such a thing.]
عَلَى المَثَلِ As indicative of resemblance to something.