Hyperbole: A Figure of Speech

What is exaggeration and why it is used in spoken and written language? Some time, exaggeration is used to describe the overflow of our feelings or describe a scene in a dramatic way, this type of speech or writing is called hyperbole.  So, it is a literary device that is used to exaggerate some idea, concept, situation and feeling.

Basically, it is the best figurative device that is widely used in comedy and dramatic situation in order to captivatee the audience. At its core, it is used for creating dramatic scene, evoke strong emotions and present some vivid imagery. It exaggerates or emphasis something in writing, conversation and speeches.

Hyperbole definition, meaning and history

It is a rhetoric device that is used by the writers for getting iconic and cosmic effects in writing. In 5th century there was an Athenian politician named Hyperbolus. Hyperbolus is also known as demagogue; a leader who makes a false use of promises, claims and popular prejudices for gaining power. Sometime it was also known as auxesis means growth.


A figure speech that is grandmaster of exaggeration and have the ability to turn everyday speech into attention grabbing expressions. It injects spice, drama, humour and emphasis by taking the truth to its limits.

It can transform the ordinary statement into extraordinary statement by leaving unforgettable impressions. So, it is used intentionally in everyday talk and writings to get a lasting imprint of everyday utterance by exaggeration. In linguistics it is a firework of sensational spectacle.

Hyperballien is a Greek verb having the meanings of exceed. Actually, this word came directly from Latin to English that has its Greek origin. Its synonym is exaggeration and its antonym is litotes.

Examples of Hyperbole

when you say, “I have told you hundreds of times”

here hundreds of times is hyperbole.

See another example,

“I am very hungry so I can eat a horse”

Surely it is impossible to eat a horse, but here the example is given for emphasizing our thoughts and feelings.

Why is it used in literature?

It is used by writers for creating intention on specific point or scene. There is some element or quality that the writer wants to explore or compare it with some other element. The meanings of hyperbole are beyond from its literal meaning. For example, “He is the sweetest person in the world”

In literature it is used frequently to create emphasis. Emerson’s Concord Hymns and American Tale about Paul Bunyan are it’s the best examples.

When is it used?

It has its vast use. Important use of it is as under


Writers used it in drama and comedy in order to create an exaggerated scene in it. Characters used different phrases or even make expressions in comedy for creating humorous effect in it. For example, “I have been sleeping under this tree for centuries “


In conversation and speeches, it is used for emphasizing some idea. Politicians make different slangs during their campagain. For example, you know that if my opponent who is a corrupt if elected the entire country will collapse.

For the better economy of the country, I can create millions of jobs today because I have the smartest team and vast vision.


It is also used in poetry for creating clear picture of ideas. In poetry the use of it evokes passion, feelings and adds depth. Writers engage readers by presenting different traits, expression and thought in an exaggerated way. It is skillfully and widely used in literature.


In this age of media and technology, people learn many things from this platform, especially language. With the advancement of media, this literary device has contributed and enhanced language. Now we have different phrases and exaggerated words that we use for different purpose.

It reflects different cultural nuance and has modified language. Every culture has its own phrase and language code that shows its tradition and emotion. In this digital word this literary technique grabs attention millions of people.

Why it is used in every day talk

It is used in every day talk for following purposes.

  • For advertisement.
  • For entertainment.
  • For boosting sale.
  • For propaganda.
  • For popularity.

Ten (10) easy examples of hyperbole

  1. I have told you a million time.
  2. I am drowning in paper work.
  3. She shed ocean of tears.
  4. This suitcase weighs a ton.
  5. She is as old as hills.
  6. I am so tired. I could sleep for year.
  7. I waited in line for ever.
  8. I am freezing.
  9. It is killing me.
  10. She is as tall as giraffe.


In the end of discussion, it is clear that hyperbole is a technique that exaggerate certain point in writing and conversation for meaningful purpose. It is a colorful device that gives color depth and emotion to any writing.

It gives grandeur to literary work and enhance everyday conversation by captivating reader’s attention and giving depth and vivid picture to work and expression. Not only it is useful for literature but also to enrich language.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Hyperbole is a rhetorical device that is employed in literature and everyday conversation in order to exaggerate some point.

You are the world ‘s most beautiful girl, I have ever seen, looking like angel.

Writers use it in their writing for emphasizing on the quality of work or captivating reader’s attention to a certain point.

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