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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for hyperbole
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • We have here an example of this adventurer's style of exaggeration and hyperbole.

    Aztec Land Maturin M. Ballou
  • hyperbole means by definition that which is untrue and incredible.

    Epic and Romance

    W. P. Ker
  • I understand now the Western hyperbole of “hitting the high places.”

  • The figure of a quiet slumber is no hyperbole, but a sober verity.

    Memories of Bethany John Ross Macduff
  • The hyperbole is their principal forte, but what is lying but imagination?

    Diary in America, Series Two Frederick Marryat (AKA Captain Marryat)
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 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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