Meaning of HYPERBOLE in English


hy ‧ per ‧ bo ‧ le /haɪˈpɜːbəli $ -ɜːr-/ BrE AmE noun [uncountable and countable]

[ Date: 1400-1500 ; Language: Latin ; Origin: Greek , 'too much of something, hyperbole' , from hyperballein 'to go beyond limits' ]

a way of describing something by saying it is much bigger, smaller, worse etc than it actually is SYN exaggeration :

It was not hyperbole to call it the worst storm in twenty years.

—hyperbolic /ˌhaɪpəˈbɒlɪk◂ $ -pərˈbɑː-/ adjective

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■ techniques used in language

▪ metaphor a way of describing something by referring to it as something different and suggesting that it has similar qualities to that thing:

The beehive is a metaphor for human society.

▪ simile an expression that describes something by comparing it with something else, using the words as or like , for example ‘as white as snow’:

The poet uses the simile ‘soft like clay’.

▪ irony the use of words that are the opposite of what you really mean, often in order to be amusing:

‘I’m so happy to hear that,’ he said, with more than a trace of irony in his voice.

▪ bathos a sudden change from a subject that is beautiful, moral, or serious to something that is ordinary, silly, or not important:

The play is too sentimental and full of bathos.

▪ hyperbole a way of describing something by saying that it is much bigger, smaller, worse etc than it actually is – used especially to excite people’s feelings:

In his speeches, he used a lot of hyperbole.


journalistic hyperbole

▪ alliteration the use of several words together that all begin with the same sound, in order to make a special effect, especially in poetry:

the alliteration of the ‘s’ sound in ‘sweet birds sang softly’

▪ imagery the use of words to describe ideas or actions in a way that makes the reader connect the ideas with pictures in their mind:

the use of water imagery in Fitzgerald’s novel ‘The Great Gatsby’


She uses the imagery of a bird’s song to represent eternal hope.

▪ rhetorical question a question that you ask as a way of making a statement, without expecting an answer:

When he said ‘how can these attitudes still exist in a civilized society?’, he was asking a rhetorical question.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.