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[hahy-pur-buh-lee] /haɪˈpɜr bə li/
noun, Rhetoric
obvious and intentional exaggeration.
an extravagant statement or figure of speech not intended to be taken literally, as “to wait an eternity.”.
Compare litotes.
1520-30; < Greek hyperbolḗ excess, exaggeration, throwing beyond, equivalent to hyper- hyper- + bolḗ throw
2. overstatement.
2. understatement. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for hyperbole
  • By illuminating the terrible shadows of time, Fisher shows that hyperbole may be fleeting, but champions are not.
  • The emotional hyperbole was understandable.
  • That's not your typical blogger hyperbole, it's the truth.
  • Others rolled their eyes at what seemed vintage Negroponte hyperbole.
  • Unfortunately you spew only hyperbole.
  • Excessive use of hyperbole tends to evoke doubt, not agreement.
  • There's nothing like using overblown hyperbole to make your point.
  • Of course it was a bit of an exaggeration, or colloquial hyperbole.
  • Exercises in hyperbole, amusing as they are, fail to persuade me.
  • Hype and hyperbole are an accepted part of marketing and public relations.
British Dictionary definitions for hyperbole


a deliberate exaggeration used for effect: he embraced her a thousand times
Derived Forms
hyperbolism, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Greek: from hyper- + bolē a throw, from ballein to throw
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for hyperbole

early 15c., from Latin hyperbole, from Greek hyperbole "exaggeration, extravagance," related to hyperballein "to throw over or beyond," from hyper- "beyond" + bole "a throwing, a casting, the stroke of a missile, bolt, beam," from bol-, nominative stem of ballein "to throw" (see ballistics). Rhetorical sense is found in Aristotle and Isocrates.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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hyperbole in Culture
hyperbole [(heye-pur-buh-lee)]

An exaggerated, extravagant expression. It is hyperbole to say, “I'd give my whole fortune for a bowl of bean soup.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for hyperbole

a figure of speech that is an intentional exaggeration for emphasis or comic effect. Hyperbole is common in love poetry, in which it is used to convey the lover's intense admiration for his beloved. An example is the following passage describing Portia:Why, if two gods should play some heavenlymatchAnd on the wager lay two earthly women,And Portia one, there must be something elsePawned with the other, for the poor rudeworldHath not her fellow.(Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice)

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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