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Hyperbole is the use of exaggeration as a rhetorical device or figure of speech. In rhetoric, it is also sometimes known as auxesis (lit. "growth"). In poetry and oratory, it emphasizes, evokes strong feelings, and creates strong impressions. As a figure of speech, it is usually not meant to be taken literally.[1][2]


Hyperbole may also be used for instances of such exaggerations for emphasis or effect. Hyperboles are often used in casual speech as intensifiers,[3][4] such as saying "the bag weighed a ton".[5] Hyperbole makes the point that the speaker found the bag to be extremely heavy, although it was nothing like a literal ton.[6] Understanding hyperboles and their use in context can further one's ability to understand the messages being sent from the speaker. It has been established that use of hyperboles relays emotions. They can be used in a form of humour, excitement, distress, and many other emotions, all depending on the context in which the speaker uses it.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Hyperbole". Dictionary.com. Retrieved February 15, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Hyperbole". Utk.edu. Retrieved 10 January 2014. 
  3. ^ "Definition of Hyperbole". Retrieved 10 January 2014. 
  4. ^ "Hyperbole - Definition of hyperbole by Merriam-Webster". merriam-webster.com. 
  5. ^ Mahony, David (2003). Literacy Tests Year 7. Pascal Press. p. 82. ISBN 978-1-877-08536-9. 
  6. ^ "Hyperbole". Byu.edu. Retrieved 10 January 2014. 
  7. ^ Johnson, Christopher. "The Rhetoric of Excess in Baroque Literature and Thought" (PDF). Scholar.havard.edu. Harvard. 

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