hyperbole was our Word of the Day on 04/09/2017. Hear the podcast!
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
Examples of hyperbole in a Sentence
- Four decades later we're all blabbermouths, adrift on a sea of hyperbole, shouting to be heard. —Steve Rushin, Sports Illustrated, 1 Apr. 2002
- … balanced on the razor edge of anachronism, creating a rich stew of accepted and invented history, anecdote, myth and hyperbole. —T. Coraghessan Boyle, New York Times Book Review, 18 May 1997
- Even if we discount the hyperbole evident in such accounts, they were far from inventions. —Lawrence W. Levine, The Unpredictable Past, 1993
“enough food to feed a whole army” is a common example of hyperbole
Recent Examples of hyperbole from the Web
That’s not hyperbole, but a routine warning climate scientists have been publishing in scientific journals for years.
American historians, particularly specialists in the Civil War and Reconstruction period, should endeavor to remind Americans of their good fortune, and not fan the fires of overwrought hyperbole.
To call Ilet a Brouee endangered is neither abstract nor hyperbole.
Thomas is the worst defender in the league (not hyperbole), and Teague should see plenty of looks.
When Myles Pierce says that, there's not an iota of hyperbole involved.
There is a calm about him that is a refreshing counter to the polemic and hyperbole that characterizes discussion of culture-war issues in this age of social media.
A first year that began with ludicrous claims about crowd size wound down with presidential hyperbole on Trump's tax cut plan.
But Navarro detailed several instances where prosecutors denied evidence existed and used hyperbole to mock defense requests for information.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hyperbole.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
How is hyperbole pronounced—and why?
This word doesn't behave the way we expect a word that's spelled this way to behave. It begins with the prefix hyper-, which we know in words like hyperlink (and in the adjective hyper itself), but instead of having the accent, or emphasis, on the first syllable—HYE-per-link—it has the accent on the second syllable: hye-PER-buh-lee. And then there's that bole. It should sound just like the word bowl, right? Nope. Instead it's two syllables: \buh-lee\ .
The word comes to English directly from Latin, but the Latin word is from a Greek word that has one crucial visual difference. It has a line, called a macron, over the final e: hyperbolē. The macron tells us that the vowel is pronounced like \ee\ .
The fact that hyperbole is pronounced in a way counter to the usual workings of English pronunciation gives a hint as to the word's history in the language. Although these days you might encounter hyperbole in a magazine at the doctor's office, the word's first was use was technical. It's from the field of rhetoric, which makes it at home with terms like metaphor, trope, and litotes. And speaking of litotes (pronounced \LYE-tuh-teez\ ), that term is an approximate antonym of hyperbole. It refers to understatement in which an affirmative is expressed by the negation of the contrary, as in "not a bad idea" or "not unpleasant."
Did You Know?
In the 5th century B.C. there was a rabble-rousing Athenian, a politician named Hyperbolus, who often made exaggerated promises and claims that whipped people into a frenzy. But even though it sounds appropriate, Hyperbolus' name did not play a role in the development of the modern English word hyperbole. That noun does come to us from Greek (by way of Latin), but from the Greek verb hyperballein, meaning "to exceed," not from the name of the Athenian demagogue.
HYPERBOLE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of hyperbole for English Language Learners
: language that describes something as better or worse than it really is
Learn More about hyperbole
See words that rhyme with hyperbole Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hyperbole Spanish Central: Translation of hyperbole Nglish: Translation of hyperbole for Spanish speakers Britannica English: Translation of hyperbole for Arabic speakers Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hyperbole
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up hyperbole? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).