Hyperbole: Definition and Examples of Hyperbole in Speech & Literature

When speaking or writing in English, you are sure to come across the use of hyperbole, but what exactly is this? In this article, we are going to look at what hyperbole is and how it is used in both speech and in writing. We will take a look at some examples in order to further see how it can be applied to the language.

Hyperbole

Hyperbole Definition

In short, hyperbole is a statement that has been exaggerated. It is used to overstate a situation and is not intended to be taken literally. Hyperbole may be used in a figurative language to overexpress what someone is saying, in such an example as ‘I almost died from laughter.’ The speaker did not literally almost die but using this hyperbole they are expressing that they laughed a great deal.

Hyperbole can also be used as a rhetoric device, in this type of use you might see a phrase such as ‘we have nothing to fear but fear itself.’ In this example, the speaker is exaggerating how fearful people should be or are.

Hyperbole is used to overemphasize a statement or situation in order to give a more dramatic effect on the listener or reader.

Hyperbole Examples

Examples of Hyperbole in Speech

There are many instances in which hyperbole is used in day to day conversation, it is one of the most common forms of figures of speech and you are likely to hear it used regularly. Let’s now take a look at some examples of hyperbole in sentences.

  • I have a hundred and one things to do today.
  • This job is going to take me forever.
  • I am never going to finish this meal.
  • She has been at the shop for an eternity.
  • I am stuck on a level which is impossible.
  • I am never going to get this job done.
  • That man is as old as time.
  • This bag weighs ten tonnes.
  • He has been talking for a week.
  • When I was pregnant, I was as big as a house.
  • He never diets and now he is as heavy as an elephant.
  • I almost died of embarrassment.
  • I laughed so much, I nearly died.
  • I’ve seen this movie a million times.
  • I’m so hungry that I could eat a horse.
  • When I went jogging this morning, I worked so hard, I ran a thousand miles.
  • I have a million problems that I need to solve.
  • The man was as tall as a skyscraper.
  • I haven’t seen my mother in and age and a day.
  • I was dying to see the concert.
  • Last summer was so hot that I was on fire.
  • My husband is a bad driver, he drives everywhere are five hundred miles an hour.
  • My sister has a brain the size of a pea.
  • His heart is as cold as ice.
  • His stare was as hard as a rock.
  • The big cat runs faster than the wind.
  • Today has been the worst day in history.
  • My girlfriend has skin as soft as silk.
  • I should not have done that, my mom is going to kill me.
  • She is thin as a runner bean.
  • I cooked enough food to feed an army.
  • That dress cost me a billion dollars.
  • He had a mile-wide smile.
  • I’m so sad that I am drowning in my sorrows.
  • My aunt is my guardian angel.
  • I have told you no a thousand times before.
  • His new sports car goes faster than the speed of light.
  • He is as old as a dinosaur.
  • I was so shocked that you could have knocked me over with a feather.
  • He has an endless supply of money.

Examples of Hyperbole in Literature

Many times writers will use hyperbole within their work to exaggerate or overstate a situation in order to make it more interesting and gripping to the reader. Let’s take a look at some examples of when hyperbole has been used in written works.

  • We’re so hot, we will melt your popsicle.” This is a line from the song California Girls by Katy Perry.
  • I will fly to the moon and back.” This is an example of hyperbole taken from a song by the band Savage Garden.
  • One winter, since it was so cold, the geese all went backwards and I saw fish flying south.” This example of hyperbole is taken from Babe in the blue ox by Paul Bunyan.
  • My love, I will adore you until Africa and China meet.” This is an example of hyperbole being used in the text As I walked once evening by W H Auden.
  • I was to wait at the train station for ten days-it was an eternity.” In this case, hyperbole can be seen written by Joseph Conrad in The heart of darkness.
  • In the poem Red, red rose written by Robert Burns, the author implies that he will love his partner until the seas dry up with the line “I will love you until the seas are dry.”
  • Please take a seat, because this man has produced nine million awards ceremonies.” This is an example of hyperbole being used in a speech delivered by Dick Clark as he accepted an award.
  • The captain was taking on anyone who could walk.” In this case, we see an example of hyperbole which was taken from a speech written by Larry Rayfield Wright.
  • Her facial skin was a drawn and tight as that of an onion.” We find this example of hyperbole in the book, Parker’s back written by Flannery O’Connor.
  • It was not simply a man which he was holding but rather giant, a huge block of stone.” This is an example of hyperbole taken from a text written by James Ramsey Ulman called Banner in the sky.

Conclusion

Hyperbole is a type of figure of speech that is used to overstate or exaggerate a sentence or situation in order to make it more dramatic. It is regularly used in day to day conversation especially in informal speech. It can also be found many times in written text such as songs, poetry and stories to add an emphasis on something.

Hyperbole Infographic

Hyperbole

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