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Hyperbole: Definition, How It Works and Examples In Writing

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Hyperbole is one of the most commonly used literary devices.

Writers use it in many situations to better create content.

Notably, it can be used in tandem with other literary devices such as metaphors and similes.

However, when used incorrectly, hyperbole can make it challenging to take the writer seriously.

Here we will look at hyperbole, what it is, its uses, and how you can use it to learn how to write a blog post.

What Is Hyperbole?

Hyperbole is an exaggerated statement used to emphasize a point.

Typically, you can use hyperbole to prove a point, but it is not meant to be taken literally.

Also Known As:

  • Exaggeration
  • Auxesis

Simple Definition: How to Explain Hyperbole to a Child

Hyperbole is a literary tool used to emphasize a story element through exaggeration.

You can use it in many content types.

For example, you can say you are bored to tears even if you were never close to crying.

Why Is Hyperbole Used?

Hyperbole is used by writers to give readers to emphasize a point or to give readers a better idea of how characters view a situation.

For example, a writer could say something is 1000 feet tall when it is not that tall.

The height does not matter; what matters is that the reader knows the thing is gigantic.

Furthermore, many people use hyperbole in everyday conversation to emphasize situations and to get their point across to friends and coworkers.

Types of Hyperbole

While hyperbole is a straightforward literary device, there are several subtypes.

Here we will look at a few of the most common types of hyperbole.

  • Hyperbole in Everyday Life: The first type of hyperbole is the kind you use in everyday life. For example, if you slept in much later than normal, you might say you slept all day. You do this to emphasize your point even though you might have only slept for 11 hours.
  • Hyperbole in Writing: We discussed this briefly above, but hyperbole is very common in writing. It is a very effective tool in helping the reader see things through the eyes of the character. By exaggerating the situation, the reader can better understand how a character views the situation when they do not have the reader’s outside knowledge.
  • Hyperbole in Songs: Hyperbole is often used in songs to make it easier to rhyme lyrics. Additionally, songs are dramatic by nature, and as a result, using hyperbole adds to the dramatic nature of songwriting.
  • Hyperbole in Speeches: Depending on who is giving a speech, hyperbole is important. For example, politicians will often use hyperbole to make themselves look better or their opponents worse. While the morality of this is questionable, it is common around the world.

How Do You Identify Hyperbole?

To identify hyperbole, you must take into account the context of the situation.

You must use prior knowledge to determine if something is likely to be hyperbole or reality.

Fortunately, by the time we become adults, most people can do this naturally in most situations.

How Do You Use Hyperbole in a Sentence?

There is no rule you always need to follow when using hyperbole.

As long as it is clear you are exaggerating something, hyperbole can work.

There should not be doubt about whether you are using hyperbole when you apply it to a sentence.

What Is the Most Popular Example of Hyperbole?

There are many famous examples of hyperbole throughout history.

Today there are several common sayings that people use everyday that use hyperbole.

The most common one is probably, “I’m dying of laughter.”

Other Famous Examples of Hyperbole

As we said, there are dozens of famous examples of hyperbole.

Here we will run through a few common examples so you have a better idea of what hyperbole is.


Another famous example is one commonly used by people who have not seen each other in a long time.

An example is, “I haven’t seen you in a million years.”


People often turn to hyperbole when they are hungry.

For example, it is common for people to say, “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse.”

They would not eat a horse, but they are emphasizing how hungry they are.


Embarrassment is challenging to avoid, especially when you are younger.

As a result, here is an example of hyperbole that has developed from embarrassment: “I died of embarrassment.”

Other Modern Examples of Hyperbole

Although those examples are common in everyday life, they are not the only hyperbole examples.

Here we want to look at a few other modern examples of hyperbole.

Hyperbole for Kids

To start, we would like to look at some hyperbole examples for children.

These are common sayings used by kids as they grow, or about kids and the funny things they do.


This first example is one used by parents to describe how much their kids eat: “His stomach is a bottomless pit.”

This example is usually used by parents when their kids eat an endless amount of food.

Teenagers are common victims of this hyperbole example.


Desperation is common in kids, especially when they do something wrong.

Kids are at the mercy of their parents when they break the rules or do something stupid.

However, while kids can be dumb, they are smarter than they look.

Kids can usually recognize when they are in trouble, so it is common for them to say, “My mom is going to kill me.”


Kids, especially those under the age of 10 do not understand how the world works in meaningful ways.

As a result, when they talk to their friends about their experiences, they use hyperbole without even knowing it.

For example, after their parents buy a new house kids might say, “Our new house cost a gazillion dollars.”

Hyperbole in Everyday Speech

Here we want to get back to common examples of hyperbole.

These are examples of hyperbole people use every day when they talk to family, friends, and coworkers.


As adults, our lives get busy quickly.

As a result, there is no time to tally up everything you need to do.

So, when you are describing your situation to friends, it is understandable to say something like, “I have a million things to do this week.”


The weather and temperature are common conversation points among acquaintances, especially in colder areas.

Many people will say things across the lines of, “It’s so cold, you’ll get hypothermia the second you step outside.”


Additionally, it is common for people to exaggerate when they like doing something a lot.

They will use addiction to emphasize something in their lives.

For example, “I’m addicted to buying books.”

Most people who say they are addicted to something are not addicted in a medical sense.

Instead, they are emphasizing that they probably do something a little more than they should.

Hyperbole in Poetry and Literature

Almost every author you come across uses hyperbole.

Here we want to look at some famous examples of hyperbole in poetry and literature.


Mark Twain is one of the most famous authors ever and used hyperbole often.

In Old Times on the Mississippi, he wrote, “I was quaking from head to foot, and could have hung my hat on my eyes, they stuck out so far.”

There is an obvious exaggeration here, but Twain wanted to emphasize shock and fear.


Joseph Conrad is another famous author, and in his novella Heart of Darkness, he used hyperbole several times.

For example, Conrad wrote, “I had to wait in the station for ten days – an eternity.”

This example is similar to one we used earlier, where someone says they have not seen someone in a million years.


William Shakespeare is possibly the most famous writer of all time and used hyperbole often in Macbeth.

For example, he wrote, “Neptune’s ocean wash this blood clean from my hand?


This hand will rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine making the green one red.”

Although it is less obvious because it is in old English, hyperbole emphasizes how shameful Macbeth feels after killing the kind.

Notable Writers Who Used Hyperbole

Several writers have used hyperbole throughout history.

Here we want to look at different types of writers and how they used hyperbole to improve their stories.

William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth was an English poet from the 1700s and 1800s.

Some of his famous poems include The Prelude, The Solitary Reaper, and I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.

You can see the use of hyperbole in the last example.

A cloud cannot be lonely, but it emphasizes the point.

Harper Lee

Harper Lee is an author from the 1900s who passed away in 2016.

She is famous for writing To Kill a Mockingbird.

The aforementioned work is famous for showing racial injustice in the early 1900s.

She used hyperbole frequently to emphasize the horror black people experienced at this time.

Joseph Conrad

We mentioned Conrad once, but he was a famous writer from the late 1800s and early 1900s.

He wrote several amazing novels, including Heart of Darkness.

Using hyperbole, he could grip the reader like few others were able to during this time.

What Is the Opposite of Hyperbole?

Hyperbole is an exaggeration, so the opposite would be an understatement.

Litotes is the term used to describe an understatement.

Hyperbole vs. Litotes

When you use hyperbole, you exaggerate a situation to prove a point.

If you use a litotes, you understate the situation to prove a point.

Many people will use litotes when they do not want their friends or family to worry about something.

Other Related Literary Devices to Know

While hyperbole is crucial to understand as a writer, there are several other literary devices you need to understand.

Here we will look at a few essential examples.

  • Metaphor: A metaphor is a figure of speech to describe an object or action in a way that is not true.
  • Alliteration: Alliteration is when the same letter or sound is used consecutively by several words.
  • Paradox: A paradox is a self-contradictory statement that, when investigated, can be true.
  • Analogy: An analogy is a comparison between two things for clarification.
  • Allusion: An allusion is an expression used to bring something to mind without explicitly mentioning it.

Writing Tools to Help You Out

It can be challenging to use hyperbole and other literary devices when writing.

Here we will look at some writing tools that give you tips for writing.

  • Writing Helpers: A writer helper is a fantastic tool for someone starting as a writer. They can help you figure out what you are doing wrong and how to apply various literary devices.
  • AI Writing Software: AI writing software is also useful. These tools will check your content to see your writing level.
  • Grammar Checkers: You should use one of the best grammar checkers if you want to be a writer. With so many checkers available, there is no reason not to have perfect grammar in 2022.
  • Content Creators: The best content creators can help you get started by giving you things to write about.

Frequently Asked Questions

Writing is not easy, and as a result, you might not know everything you want to about hyperbole yet.

Do not worry, we are answering some of the most frequently asked questions about hyperbole below.

What Part of Speech Is Hyperbole?

Hyperbole is a figure of speech.

It uses exaggeration to emphasize the point someone is trying to prove.

Can Hyperbole be a Simile?

A simile is similar to a metaphor but uses the word “like” to make the comparison.

Hyperbole can be a simile, and often is a simile.

Wrapping Up

Hyperbole is one of the best tools available to writers.

You can use it to emphasize a point, or you can use it to show how a character views a situation.

As a result, it is essential to understand hyperbole and how to use it.

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