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

Synonyms for hyperbole

Antonyms for hyperbole

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hyperbole

Contemporary Examples of hyperbole

Historical Examples of hyperbole

  • 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.

  • 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 effecthe embraced her a thousand times
Derived Formshyperbolism, 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

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

hyperbole in Culture



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.