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From Latin hyperbol?, from Ancient Greek (huperbol?, "excess, exaggeration"), from ? (hupér, "above") + (báll?, "I throw"). Doublet of hyperbola.


  • IPA(key): /ha?'p?:b?li/
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  • Homophones: hyperbolae


hyperbole (countable and uncountable, plural hyperboles)

  1. (uncountable, rhetoric, literature) Deliberate or unintentional overstatement, particularly extreme overstatement.
    • 1837, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Legends of the Province House
      The great staircase, however, may be termed, without much hyperbole, a feature of grandeur and magnificence.
    • 1841, James Fenimore Cooper, The Deerslayer, ch. 28
      "Nay - nay - good Sumach," interrupted Deerslayer, whose love of truth was too indomitable to listen to such hyperbole with patience.
    • c. 1910, Theodore Roosevelt, Productive Scholarship
      Of course the hymn has come to us from somewhere else, but I do not know from where; and the average native of our village firmly believes that it is indigenous to our own soil--which it can not be, unless it deals in hyperbole, for the nearest approach to a river in our neighborhood is the village pond.
    • 1987, Donald Trump, Tony Schwartz, The Art of the Deal, p. 58.
      The final key to the way I promote is bravado. I play to people's fantasies. ..People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. I call it truthful hyperbole. It's an innocent form of exaggeration--and a very effective form of promotion.
    • 1995, Richard Klein, "Introduction", in Cigarettes are sublime, Paperback edition, Durham: Duke University Press, published 1993, ->ISBN, OCLC 613939086, page 17:
      In these circumstances, hyperbole is called for, the rhetorical figure that raises its objects up, excessively, way above their actual merit : it is not to deceive by exaggeration that one overshoots the mark, but to allow the true value, the truth of what is insufficiently valued, to appear.
    • 2001, Tom Bentley, Daniel Stedman Jones, The Moral Universe
      The perennial problem, especially for the BBC, has been to reconcile the hyperbole-driven agenda of newspapers with the requirement of balance, which is crucial to the public service remit.
  2. (countable) An instance or example of such overstatement.
    • 1602, William Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida i 3
      ...and when he speaks
      'Tis like a chime a-mending; with terms unsquar'd,
      Which, from the tongue of roaring Typhon dropp'd,
      Would seem hyperboles.
    • 1843, Thomas Babington Macaulay, The Gates of Somnauth
      The honourable gentleman forces us to hear a good deal of this detestable rhetoric; and then he asks why, if the secretaries of the Nizam and the King of Oude use all these tropes and hyperboles, Lord Ellenborough should not indulge in the same sort of eloquence?
  3. (countable, obsolete) A hyperbola.



Derived terms

Related terms


See also



From Latin hyperbole, from Ancient Greek (huperbol?, "excess, exaggeration"), from (hupé, "above") + (báll?, "I throw").



hyperbole f (plural hyperboles)

  1. (rhetoric) hyperbole
  2. (geometry) hyperbola

Further reading



From Ancient Greek (huperbol?, "excess, exaggeration"), from (hupé, "above") + (báll?, "I throw").



hyperbol? f (genitive hyperbol?s); first declension

  1. exaggeration; hyperbole
  2. ablative singular of hyperbol?
  3. vocative singular of hyperbol?


First-declension noun (Greek-type).


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