View synonyms for hyperbole


[ hahy-pur-buh-lee ]


, Rhetoric.
  1. obvious and intentional exaggeration.
  2. an extravagant statement or figure of speech not intended to be taken literally, as “to wait an eternity.”

    Synonyms: overstatement

    Antonyms: understatement


/ haɪˈpɜːbəlɪ /


  1. a deliberate exaggeration used for effect

    he embraced her a thousand times


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

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Derived Forms

  • hyˈperbolism, noun
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Word History and Origins

Origin of hyperbole1

First recorded in 1520–30; from Greek hyperbolḗ “excess, exaggeration, a throwing beyond,” equivalent to hyper- hyper- + bolḗ “a throw”
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Word History and Origins

Origin of hyperbole1

C16: from Greek: from hyper- + bolē a throw, from ballein to throw
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Example Sentences

When I say it knows nothing about these countries, I’m really not using hyperbole.

From Time

They were one hyperbole away from rewriting history to say that the first brick thrown at Stonewall was actually Tom Daley hurling his gold medal.

"Everything" is clear hyperbole—the overwhelming majority of things on Earth are not crabs and seemingly have no plans to become them.

Microsoft squeezed a lot into a 45-minute online launch presentation filled with hyperbole about making Windows feel like “home” and partly derailed by streaming challenges.

In an age exhausted from internet hyperbole, that may actually be a reasonable leap.

Exaggeration and hyperbole are constant campaign companions, as useful and expected as hammers and saws on a construction site.

Pardon the hyperbole, but there has never been a more aptly titled Good Wife episode than “Hitting the Fan.”

Unfortunately, Buchanan is not engaging in idle hyperbole or in simple wishful thinking.

Film festival reviews are, as is their wont, often prone to hyperbole.

But in a media age of hypercharged hyperbole, there is little room for gray.

The hyperbole of bores it is, to bore Congress for a hundred thousand dollars to go to the Pole!

Though my long exile had well-nigh cost me the trick of it, I made shift to drop into the stately Indian hyperbole.

There is one on the dowager countess of Pembroke (d. 1621), remarkable for its successful use of a somewhat daring hyperbole.

Hyperbole is an exaggerated form of statement, and is used to magnify or diminish an object.

It was so ever-present with him that there was neither paradox nor hyperbole in his words: I am never alone when I am alone.


Related Words

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More About Hyperbole

What is hyperbole?

Hyperbole is an intentional, obvious exaggeration, such as I hit that dang piñata a million times before it broke.

Hyperbole is not supposed to be taken literally. The reader or listener is supposed to know that the user of hyperbole is joking or not being serious, as in It took them forever to finally finish raking the leaves.

The adjective form of hyperbole is hyperbolic, as in My grandfather often told me hyperbolic stories of walking 30 miles to go to school. 

The opposite of hyperbole is litotes, an intentional understatement, as in Leonardo da Vinci was not bad at painting.

Why is hyperbole important?

The first records of the term hyperbole come from around 1520. It comes from the Greek hyperbolḗ, meaning “excess” or “exaggeration.” Hyperbole has been used for centuries in English, and even William Shakespeare used it in his works.

Hyperbole is a particularly common figure of speech, which even children often engage in. A very happy teenager may describe a birthday as the greatest day of all time or a painfully bored child might complain that the family has been driving for weeks.

A figure of speech is a nonliteral use of language intended to be expressive and create a special effect with our words. We use hyperbole to exaggerate, litotes to understate, and  similes and metaphors to compare seemingly unlike things to show a way they are alike. Other figures of speech include personification, alliteration, and oxymorons. Hyperbole and other figures of speech can make our writing and speeches more interesting and engaging.

Did you know … ?

Hyperboles are also common in advertising. Because they can’t actually lie about what their product does, many ads will instead humorously exaggerate how good or effective the product is. For example, in an ad a sports drink might give a person superhuman speed or an electric razor might transform an average man into an attractive male celebrity.

What are real-life examples of hyperbole?

Here are some examples of hyperbole used in children’s movies:

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People use hyperboles every day.



What other words are related to hyperbole?

Quiz yourself!

Is the following sentence an example of a hyperbole?

I am so good at football that they should name the entire sport after me.