Hyperbole

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This article is part of the Figures of Speech course. You may choose to follow it in a structured way, or read each item separately.

Hyperbole is a formal word for what is more usually called exaggeration. "I've told you a thousand times", an exasperated parent may say. It is unlikely to be literally true. Therefore it is figurative language: it is a Figure of Speech. "I've told you tons of times" is doubly figurative: it is a hyperbole and a metaphor.

Hyperbole is a transliteration of the Greek word ὑπερβολή (huperbolē, 'throwing beyond others', 'overshooting', 'excess', and 'hyperbole'). It is pronounced with emphasis on the second syllable: hy-PER-bul-ee.

The adjective is hyperbolic; the adverb is hyperbolically. Both are pronounced with the stress on the third syllable.