Hyperbole - Explore What It Is, Its Meaning, Definition, Usage and Examples

You should have already come across the grammatical component called figures of speech and the different figures of speech in the English language. In this article, you will be introduced to what a hyperbole is, its definition and usage. You can also read through the examples given to develop a clear idea of the same.

Table of Contents

What is a Hyperbole? – Meaning and Definition

A hyperbole is a rhetorical device that is mainly used to make something look and sound a lot better than it actually is. In other words, it can be said to be a form of exaggeration.

The Oxford Learner’s Dictionary defines a hyperbole as “a way of speaking or writing that makes something sound better, more exciting, more dangerous, etc. than it really is”. According to the Collins Dictionary, a hyperbole is an expression that is used to “say or write things that make something sound much more impressive than it really is”.

How to Use a Hyperbole in a Sentence? – Points to Remember

Writing a sentence with a hyperbole can be easily done if you learn and understand how it is done. Go through the following points.

  • When you want to write a hyperbole, all you have to do is think of what you want to write about, the quality of that particular person, place, animal, object or idea that you want to exaggerate, probably because you are extremely impressed or disgusted by it.
  • The main purpose of a hyperbole is to emphasise something or to make a mindblowing effect on the reader or listener.
  • Degrees of comparison and other adjectives can be employed to construct a hyperbole.
  • A hyperbole should never be taken literally as they are exaggerated statements and are not exactly true.
  • A hyperbole can be just a word, a group of words, a phrase or a clause.

Examples of Hyperbole

It would be a lot simpler and easier to comprehend if you take a look at some example sentences. So, check out the following examples taken from literature and a few common everyday expressions and try to analyse them.

Examples of Hyperbole from Literature

William Shakespeare makes multiple use of hyperbole in his play ‘Macbeth’ to describe the extent to which the killing of King Duncan affects Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Let us take a look at some examples from the play to see how wonderfully the poetic device is put to use.

  • Macbeth: “Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood
  • Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather

    The multitudinous seas incarnadine,

    Making the green one red” (Act II, Scene 2)

  • Lady Macbeth: “Here’s the smell of the blood still.
  • All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.” (Act V,

    Scene 1)

  • Malcolm: “This tyrant, whose sole name blisters our tongues,
  • Was once thought honest: you have lov’d him well.” (Act IV, Scene 3)

    Robert Burns, in his poem, ‘A Red, Red Rose’ uses a hyperbole to express the love for his lass.

  • “Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
  • And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;

    I will love thee still, my dear,

    While the sands o’ life shall run.”

    William Wordsworth uses a hyperbole in his poem, ‘Daffodils’ to describe the long row of daffodils he witnessed on his way.

  • “Continuous as the stars that shine
  • And twinkle on the milky way,

    They stretched in never-ending line

    Along the margin of a bay:

    Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

    Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.”

Examples of Hyperbole from Movies

Let us take a look at some examples of the use of hyperbole in some of the most famous movies.

  • Agnes, the little girl in ‘Despicable Me’ said, “It’s so fluffy I’m gonna die!” the moment she got the fluffy unicorn.
  • “As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again” from ‘Gone with the Wind’.
  • “To infinity and beyond!” from the movie, ‘Toy Story’.
  • “You sit on a throne of lies” from the movie, ‘Elf’.
  • “We are going to pull off the true crime of the century. We are going to steal the moon!” from the movie, ‘Despicable Me’.

Some Common Day-to-Day Examples of Hyperbole

Here are some very common day-to-day examples that are used by people in daily conversations.

  • When she did the flips at the dance, she landed as light as a feather.
  • I am so hungry I could eat all the food here.
  • My brother said that he had a million things to do when he was actually sitting idly.
  • Amrita carried home a ton of papers that she had to grade before Friday.
  • Rory went on forever about the city she lived in.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Use of Hyperbole

What is a hyperbole?

A hyperbole is a rhetorical device that is mainly used to make something look and sound a lot better than it actually is. In other words, it can be said to be a form of exaggeration.

What is the definition of a hyperbole?

The Oxford Learner’s Dictionary defines a hyperbole as “a way of speaking or writing that makes something sound better, more exciting, more dangerous, etc. than it really is”. According to the Collins Dictionary, a hyperbole is an expression that is used to “say or write things that make something sound much more impressive than it really is”.

Give some examples of hyperboles.

Here are a few examples of hyperboles used in sentences.

  • Lady Macbeth: “Here’s the smell of the blood still.

All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.” (Act V,
Scene 1)

  • Agnes, the little girl in ‘Despicable Me’ said, “It’s so fluffy I’m gonna die!” the moment she got the fluffy unicorn.
  • “To infinity and beyond!” from the movie, ‘Toy Story’.
  • I am so hungry I could eat all the food here.
  • My brother said that he had a million things to do when he was actually sitting idly.

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