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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.
Origin of hyperbole
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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