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Hyperbole

 

Techniques > Use of language > Figures of speech > Hyperbole

Method | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Extreme exaggeration, often with the intent of making a point or stimulating emotions.

Example

This box weighs a ton!

My love is as great as the greatest mountain. It is as deep as the deepest ocean. It reaches around the world and brings you to me.

That was so hilarious I laughed my head off. Oh, goodness it was incredibly, unbelievably funny. I still think my head is somewhere else. Maybe that is why I won't be going back there again.

Discussion

The obvious exaggeration of hyperbole clearly tells the listener that something is going on, and that the exaggeration is not to be taken literally.

A common meaning is that the speaker has been surprised and that the hyperbole is being used to convey something of the emotion experienced.

The exaggeration of hyperbole often is intended to prove more extreme emotions in its targets. Hyperbole may thus be used as a prod to try to get people to feel something where a more accurate description would be less likely to evoke the desired response. This form is often found in gossip and by amazed children.

The exaggeration of hyperbole may have positive intent. It may also be used in irony, painting something large when you really mean it is small.

Hyperbole may also be used to push things to the limit, and is often used in conflict, such as when a person accuses another of 'never' doing what is wanted and 'always' doing what is wrong.

Classification: Distortion

See also

Amplification principle, Contrast principle

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