Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A figure of speech in which exaggeration is used for emphasis or effect, as in I could sleep for a year or This book weighs a ton.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In rhetoric, an obvious exaggeration; an extravagant statement or assertion not intended to be understood literally.
  • noun Synonyms See exaggeration.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Rhet.) A figure of speech in which the expression is an evident exaggeration of the meaning intended to be conveyed, or by which things are represented as much greater or less, better or worse, than they really are; a statement exaggerated fancifully, through excitement, or for effect.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun uncountable Extreme exaggeration or overstatement; especially as a literary or rhetorical device.
  • noun uncountable Deliberate exaggeration.
  • noun countable An instance or example of this technique.
  • noun countable, obsolete A hyperbola.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun extravagant exaggeration

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Latin hyperbolē, from Greek huperbolē, excess, from huperballein, to exceed : huper, beyond; see hyper– + ballein, to throw; see gwelə- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin hyperbole, from Ancient Greek ὑπερβολή (huperbolē, "excess, exaggeration"), from ὑπέρ (huper, "above") + βάλλω (ballō, "I throw").

Examples

  • But if his hyperbole is a little unfair, it's not foolish; it would be far more foolish to underestimate the import of the sublime, the degree to which the fame of those rhapsodes rests on how responsive people are to that aesthetic.

    Archive 2010-03-01

  • But if his hyperbole is a little unfair, it's not foolish; it would be far more foolish to underestimate the import of the sublime, the degree to which the fame of those rhapsodes rests on how responsive people are to that aesthetic.

    On the Sublime

  • It appears that you are looking past what you call hyperbole only to replace it with your own hyperbole by reading too much into this situation.

    The Guardian World News

  • It appears that you are looking past what you call hyperbole only to replace it with your own hyperbole by reading too much into this situation.

    The Guardian World News

  • Aside from the fact that your hyperbole is laughable, I believe it is you and Dawkins who have missed the mark on this.

    A California Ruling

  • Your hyperbole is off the wall. 33% of Americans oppose the death penalty for murder, as do 40% of Democrats, but only 20% GOP per Galliup Poll in 2007.

    Senators to introduce Iran legislation

  • Responding in kind to exaggeration or hyperbole is neither “appropriate” nor effective.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Never a Good Way to Start Your Argument

  • I guess hyperbole is only acceptable from the Left.

    Begala calls Palin 'about half a whack job'

  • His hyperbole is intended to prevent informed debate in the fear that people will stop their partisan bickering long enough to actually see that his bill is lousy.

    GOP head demands apology for slavery remark

  • Because you chose to engage in hyperbole, and use the word “dwarfed”, you are now in an indefensible position, and you know it.

    Matthew Yglesias » Mass Transit is As American as Apple Pie

Comments

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  • I like to "spew vitriolic hyperbole" while intoxicated. Usually of a misantropic inclination...

    December 26, 2006

  • I overthrow hyperbole - what is hypobole - undershoot??????

    January 27, 2007

  • This is, hands down, the absolute greatest word in the entire history of language, an unparalleled masterpiece of phonemic perfection, harbinger of the futility of all other words. Would I lie? If English were a nation-state, hyperbole would be king, nay, emperor, nay, supreme benevolent dictator of the universe.

    And overthrowing it, friend, is nowhere near even the slightest glimpse of possibility.

    January 27, 2007

  • Now he tasted the rare and godlike joys of the man who sees his flights of hyperbole come true. -- ''Yashima, or, The Gorgeous West'' by R T Sherwood, 1931.

    December 24, 2008

  • Best word ever.

    April 24, 2009

  • I prefer using this word in its adverb form. It sounds so fancy.

    Hyperbolically, I told him I would rather die then go out with him.

    May 16, 2009

  • ADHD superbowl..?

    August 10, 2009

  • hy (su) perbole

    June 22, 2010

  • Australia's Prime Minister has come under attack for mispronouncing hyperbole.

    April 7, 2011

  • I'm sure she'll negosiate a way out.

    April 8, 2011