[ hahy-pur-buh-lee ]
/ haɪˈpɜr bə li /
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noun Rhetoric.
obvious and intentional exaggeration.
an extravagant statement or figure of speech not intended to be taken literally, as “to wait an eternity.”


What Are Examples Of Hyperbole?

Hyperbole is a super-exaggerated way of describing something for the sake of emphasis that often borders on the fantastical or ridiculous. But what are some examples of hyperbole?

There are grammar debates that never die; and the ones highlighted in the questions in this quiz are sure to rile everyone up once again. Do you know how to answer the questions that cause some of the greatest grammar debates?
Question 1 of 7
Which sentence is correct?
Compare litotes.

Origin of hyperbole

1520–30; <Greek hyperbolḗ excess, exaggeration, throwing beyond, equivalent to hyper-hyper- + bolḗ throw
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


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:

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.

How to use hyperbole in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for hyperbole

/ (haɪˈpɜːbəlɪ) /

a deliberate exaggeration used for effecthe embraced her a thousand times

Derived forms of hyperbole

hyperbolism, noun

Word Origin for hyperbole

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

Cultural definitions for 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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.